Showing posts with label san jose beer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label san jose beer. Show all posts

Monday, June 10, 2024

41st San Jose Fountain Blues & Brews Festival

The San Jose Fountain Blues & Brew Festival returns this weekend at Plaza de Cesar Chavez on Saturday, June 15th from 11am to 8pm. The roster features nine hours of national and regional talent across two stages featuring every genre of blues you can imagine. It's the longest running blues festival in Northern California and is expected to have over 2,500 attendees.

In addition to the great music, there will be over 40 breweries including local favorites like Gordon Biersch, Fox Tale, and Bare Bottle. Artist vendor booths and family-friendly lawn games round out the event.

For more info and tickets, head over here.


Saturday, May 18, 2024

Culture night market tonight at Discovery Meadow

Head over to Discovery Meadow today anytime from 4pm-10pm for live music, activities for the kids (bouncy houses, connect four, jenga), and all sorts of local vendors. There are two stages, food trucks, a beer garden, Coterie Den vintage thrift market and more.

The event is free and open to all ages and pets. For more info click here.


Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The silver lining behind Camino Brewing's closure

No one wants to see a popular business shut down in San Jose. Sadly Camino Brewing Co. announced that they were closing their operations last week. Fortunately, there is a silver lining... the space will not be vacant for long.

Word on the street is that the entire space will be reinvented and the building owner--Jim Salata--wants to have a new concept open THIS summer. It sounds like it will be much more than a taproom and may or may not include a brewery on site. They have a great outdoor area, so I can't wait to see what the new space will look like.

Jim Salata also has another project in the Downtown San Jose area. He's restoring the former Faber's Cyclery into a new bar called Benjamin's Saloon. However the Camino replacement will take top priority, especially since Faber's Cyclery is in a 140 year old building that has to be painstakingly restored.

Source: The Mercury News


 

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Ultimate guide to tours of San Jose

SJtoday has a great guide to every possible San Jose tour you can imagine. There are free walking tours, Segway tours down Guadalupe River, the San Jose Brew Bike, Ghost Tours (something I didn't even know about), Mt. Hamilton tours, and even boat tours--yes, San Jose has boats and access to the Bay in Alviso.

Next time you hear a friend say there is nothing to do in San Jose, find out what they like and take them on a tour. We have something for just about everyone.

See the full list here.



Sunday, July 9, 2023

Hobee's beer garden coming to Downtown San Jose

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."

I was really bummed when Ludwig's German Table closed their doors after just a few years in business. They were one of my favorite restaurants Downtown and were beautifully integrated with a historic German hall. They also had hands-down one of the best outdoor dining spaces in San Jose. 

Fortunately, a new restaurant is already planning to move into Ludwig's old space and it's a Silicon Valley favorite--Hobee's. However, it will have a special twist. Unlike any other Hobee's location they are going to have a full-fledged beer garden with craft and local beers. This will likely bring a whole new crowd and expand the brand outside the breakfast and lunch options that made them a local favorite.

As for the German hall in the background, some fun facts are that the building was originally a symphony hall in the 1890s and then became Germania Hall in 1923. It is owned by Germania Verein and events are still hosted there to this day. 

Source: The Merc



Thursday, May 25, 2023

40th San Jose Fountain Blues & Brews Festival

Get ready for the 40th San Jose Fountain Blues & Brews Festival, the ultimate celebration of music, beer, and community on June 17th at Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park! This year's festival is set to feature an amazing lineup of world-class blues musicians, including The Devon Allman Project featuring Larry McCray & Jimmy Hall (Wet Willie) “In the Spirit of the Allman Brothers”, Chris Cain Band, Diunna Greenleaf Band, and Andre Thierry & His Accordion Soul Music.

But that's not all - in addition to the incredible music, you can enjoy a wide selection of beers from over 40 craft breweries and delicious food options.

There’s $25 GA tickets and $85 VIP tickets that provide a seat in a shaded section located near the stage, along with exclusive access to a private bar and flushable toilets. Additionally, the package comes with two drink vouchers and a commemorative 40th San Jose Fountain Blues & Brews Festival t-shirt.

Get your tickets now and visit fountainblues.com/festival for more information. Don't miss out on the 40th San Jose Fountain Blues & Brews Festival!



Sunday, May 21, 2023

Midtown Immersive Night Parties

Midtown San Jose is not typically an area where you see community events. The Abierto initiative is looking to change that with Midtown Immersive Night Parties. For the next four Fridays on a small tract of land in an industrial area you'll find Moveable Feast food trucks, a beer garden, a maker market, and live music.

This is a great way to discover a part of San Jose off the beaten path that is just minutes from Downtown San Jose and Santana Row. Again, it happens every Friday until June 16th from 5-9pm at 245 McEvoy Street. You don't need to RSVP, but you can to show your support over here.



Thursday, September 15, 2022

Oktoberfest 2022 at Ludwig's - Sep, 26, 17, 23, 24

Ludwig's--one of my favorite Downtown restaurants--is hosting multiple Oktoberfest celebrations this year. The first couple events are this weekend on September 16th and 17th with an encore next weekend on September 23rd and 24th.

There is food, beer (hopefully in a boot), music, dancing, a best-dressed contest, and a Stein-Holding competition. To get in, you have to purchase a table which allows entry for 6-8 adults. You can buy tickets over here.







Friday, September 13, 2019

Brews+Bites this Saturday!


New Brews + Bites event celebrates growing local beer and food cultures - event Sept. 14 in Circle of Palms, downtown San Jose

SAN JOSE – Brews + Bites allows participants to eat and drink their way around Circle of Palms, testing and tasting craft beers and gourmet foods produced by local businesses, on Sept. 14.
“We’re highlighting our emergence of locally crafted beers and downtown’s longstanding diversity of food options,” said Caitlin Hartley, SJDA events and promotions manager.

Brews:  Altamont Beer Works, Camino Brewing, Good Karma, Gordon Biersch Brewing Co., Hermitage Brewin Co., Off the Rails Brewing, Sonoma Springs Brewing Co., Strike Brewing Co., Wildcide Cider, Umunhum Brewing, Uproar Brewing,
Bites by:  Farmers’ Union, Fast Foodie, Habana Cuba, Hawaiian Poke Bowl, Jackie’s Place, Konjoe, Lee’s, Olla Cocina, Umi Hand Roll, Sushi Confidential.

Bites 

The Farmers Union - San Pedro Square
Pork and ricotta meatball in marinara sauce with garlic bread

Fast Foodie Truck 
Currywurst spiced sausage, purple kraut and sweet mustard on a soft bun

Habana Cuba - SoFA District
Beef empanadas

Hapa Musubi - Paseo de San Antonio
Spam musubi spam soaked in hapa sauce with sushi rice wrapped in seaweed 

Hawaiian Poke Bowl - SoFA District
Shrimp ceviche

Jackie’s Place - Japantown
Chicken and waffle slider

Konjoe Burger Bar - San Pedro Square
To be determined

Lee’s Sandwiches - San Jose
Famous Vietnamese iced coffee

Olla Cocina - San Pedro Square
Taco

Sushi Confidential - San Pedro Square
Cabo conspiracy roll with spicy crab, avocado, habanero tobiko, jalapeno, and tempura crunch

Umi Hand Roll Bar - SoFA District
Mini salmon skin handroll and garlic truffle edamame 

Two rounds of admissions should help keep taste buds and suds flowing:
·       The VIP session for $50 allows patrons access at 1 p.m., an hour earlier than everyone else.
·       General admission begins at 2 p.m.

Each combination ticket entitles its holder to a commemorative 5-ounce mug, five beer tastings and five food tastings.

Beer-only tickets for five tastings are $25 and a package of food-only tastings are $20.  Additional tickets are available for brews at 1 for $5 or 5 for $20 and bites at $3 for $10.

The event ends at 6 p.m.


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Content 10.5: Dine

Content Magazine is launching their latest issues on Wednesday, October 24th at 7-9:30pm. The venue is Camino Brewing Company near Downtown (718 S. 1st Street). Subscribers get free admission and a free drink. For more info, read the event description below or head over here to RSVP.



Join us at Camino Brewing in downtown San Jose as we celebrate the release of Issue 10.5 “Dine.” 

Prost to our 40th issue in print with some of the best people in the South Bay. Hear original music by 10.5 featured musician David Brookings and Marissa Muraoka. Listen to Needle to the Groove San Jose spin vinyl, and see art by Claudia Blanco, Nicolas EcheverriYourhomeboy Harv and Shannon Knepper. There will also be interactive installations, as well as food and beverages for sale.

$10 cover at the door for all non-subscribers (includes a copy of issue 10.5 Dine). 

Content subscribers, 10.5 features, and 10.5 contributors will receive free entry for them and a guest, plus one complimentary drink ticket to kick off the night ($27 value). If you are not a subscriber but would like to receive subscriber benefits at this Pick-Up Party and 5 more throughout the year, subscribe at - bit.ly/6issues

We hope you are able to join us!

Thank you event partners: Camino Brewing CompanyGarden City Construction, Silicon Valley Asian Art Center, Mach 7 SoundMassive Act Inc, and Needle to the Groove San Jose.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Camino Brewery and Tap Room Now Open

Yet another craft brewery is calling the greater Downtown Area home. Located in a brick building that used to be a mechanic's warehouse just south of 280, the Camino Brewery and Tap room is officially open for business at 718 South First Street. They are now the 12th brewing company in San Jose.

In addition to traditional beers, Camino has also partnered with other local businesses like Chromatic Coffee to make some of their more unique brews (ex: Cafe Con Leche Sweet Milk Stout with single origin coffee). Camino has been getting a lot of traction on their craft beers and you can now find them at 43 Whole Foods, Costco, and high-end Bay Area bars.

San Jose Beer enthusiasts have a lot to celebrate. In addition to Camino, we now have Clandestine Brewing, Hermitage, Strike, Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Hapa, and Uproar all within a few miles. It looks like the trend won't stop anytime soon--San Jose's becoming a craft beer destination.

Source: SJ Economy Blog



Monday, March 26, 2018

Retro arcade and upscale bar on tap for Downtown this summer

"miniBoss" is the most anticipated new Downtown bar in years. The owners of Original Gravity (San Jose's first bar exclusively dedicated to craft beer) and Paper Plane (one of San Jose's first craft cocktail bars) are now opening a third venue at the corner of Santa Clara Street and 2nd Street. This is a very high-profile and easily accessible space that was last occupied by Toons years ago.

Clocking in at 5,528 SQFT, miniBoss will host dozens of old-school arcades and pinball machines. Given its pedigree, craft beers and cocktails are guaranteed. The venue will also have a full kitchen which will likely serve up surprisingly good pub fare if Paper Plane and Original Gravity are any indication. It will provide a unique entertainment option that simply does not exist in Silicon Valley right now and be yet another "cool" thing to do in San Jose.

Downtown San Jose is finally getting the traction and attention it deserves and miniBoss will undoubtedly be an anchor tenant for the growing numbers that live, work, and play Downtown. I'm greatly looking forward to its grand opening this summer.

Source: The MercSVBJ


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Clandestine Brewing now open on South First

A new artisinal brewery and taproom just opened on 908 South First Street. To be clear this is South, South First--as in beyond 280 just outside of the Downtown Core. I recently drove around this area and honestly had no idea how many businesses were just blocks away from SoFA. The freeway is an unfortunate psychological barrier, there is a ton to discover in this neighborhood including quality restaurants.

Anyway, back to Clandestine Brewing. They feature a number of interesting beers with even more interesting names such as Pils Off, Wicked Brick, Tipsy Hipster, and Milky Way Stout (my favorite one of their beers). They feature about a dozen brews at any given time, most of which you can even take home in a growler. The taproom has plenty of space, including outdoor seating. It's a huge upgrade from their original 1,200 SQFT hidden in an industrial complex.

With Clandestine, Strike, Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Hermitage, and Uproar within all within a 3 mile drive, we now have a respectable craft brewery district in San Jose.

Source: SJEconomy Blog




Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Stroll The Alameda on September 17th

The Shasta / Hanchett Park Neighborhood Association along with the Alameda Business Association host a great wine and beer walk each year. It is a great way to explore the neighborhood while sampling local wines and craft beers, listening/dancing to music, and shopping (Alameda stores typically provide special offers during the event).

The 7th Annual "Stroll The Alameda" event takes place Sunday, September 17th from 2-5pm. Tickets are only $25 per person and include 12 tastings, a souvenir glass, and event map (this goes up to $35 on the day of the event). The stroll will start at the Park Ave. Preschool at 1080 The Alameda.

For more information and tickets, head over here!


Friday, July 21, 2017

Best of Summer Beer Dinner

Silicon Valley Beer Week kicks off today, and something special has been cooked up by Scott's Seafood and Santa Clara Valley Brewing. On Monday, July 24th, a special "Best of Summer" Beer Dinner is being hosted on the Scott's Seafood patio overlooking Downtown San Jose.

The food and beer pairing consists of five courses featuring Santa Clara Valley Brewing Company's award winning beers. Here is the full menu:

Best Of Summer Beer Dinner Pairing Menu

Opening Reception: Charcuterie and cheese platter
Beer Pairing: Dry Creek Blonde

2nd Course: Scallop Crudo: Thinly sliced raw sea scallop served with citrus wasabi soy sauce
Beer Pairing: Alviso Hefeweizen

3rd Course: Steak Tartare served with arugula and crispy shallots in a citrus dressing
Beer Pairing: Electric Tower IPA

4th Course: Halibut served with a saffron risotto and a mushroom ragout topped with basil pesto
Beer Pairing: New Almaden Red

5th Course: Chef's sweet surprise
Beer Pairing: Loma Prieta Rye Stout

Tickets cost $60 and the event runs from 6pm to 9pm this Monday. To learn more and purchase tickets, head over here.


Friday, July 7, 2017

San Jose Beer & Wine Tours

It is amazing how many great wineries and breweries we have within a 30 mile radius of San Jose. One of the best ways to experience these places right in our backyard is with a tour led by a knowledgeable designated driver. I just came across Tommy John's which specializes in both wine and beer tours.

The beer tours caught my eye since most of them are located in San Jose proper. Potential tour stops include Hermitage Brewing Company, Gordon Biersch Brewery, Strike Brewing Co. and Warehouse Tap Room, Santa Clara Valley Brewing, Rabbits Foot Meadery, Golden State Brewery, Taplands, and JP Das Brew Tasting Room. Each tour features four different stops with multiple tastings at each one, behind-the-scenes tours, a picnic boxed lunch, snacks, refreshments on the bus, and discounts for "souvenirs" to take home and drink later. The epic 5.5 hour tour runs Wednesday through Sunday and costs $139 per person. It isn't cheap, but sounds like a worthy excursion for beer lovers.

Their wine tours are similar four-stop excursions that last 5 to 6.5 hours and feature as many as 23 (!) varietals to try. The wineries are mostly centered around Los Gatos and Santa Cruz, providing scenic drives to compliment the tastings. The wine tours range from $149-189 per person and include the tastings, lunch, and snacks.

For more information and to see all of their tours, head over to the Tommy John's website.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Elvin Bishop headlines 36th Annual Fountain Blues Festival presented by Metro

If you are a fan of Blues music, mark your calendar for June 24th. Silicon Valley's longest running music festival is coming to Downtown San Jose and features an amazing lineup of musicians including Elvin Bishop and Bettye LaVette. All sorts of supporting events will also be hosted throughout Downtown (list below).

To feed your appetite, the festival has Southern food from Poor House Bistro, Smoking Pig BBQ, and Seymert's along with a full assortment of craft beers. 

Tickets range from $20 to $75. For more info, check out the press release below or head over here.




San Jose, CA – Silicon Valley’s longest running music festival returns to downtown San Jose’s Plaza de Cesar Chavez, June 24. Back for a 36th year, Fountain Blues Festival Presented by Metro, supported in part by a Cultural Affairs grant from the City of San Jose, will feature performances by well-known blues musicians and craft beer tasting from over 20 fan favorite craft beers. Fountain Blues Festival provides a one-of-a-kind, laidback atmosphere that is perfect for blues fans and musicians alike.

  • Legendary blues guitarist, songwriter and singer Elvin Bishop
  • Three time Grammy nominee R&B singer Bettye LaVette
  • "The West Coast Godfather of the Game" blues vocalistFillmore Slim
  • Dynamic front man & traditional blues harp player Aki Kumar
  • Soulful vocalist, guitarist and prolific songwriter Maxx Cabello, Jr.
 
In addition to an impressive lineup of local blues artists playing the SJZ Mobile Boom Box Stage before and between main stage acts – courtesy of Silicon Valley Blues Society, festival promoters are bringing the Brews to the Blues – festival goes can sample over 20 craft beer selections Abita, Allagash, Ballast Point, Drakes, Elysian, Faultline, Firehouse, Firestone, Golden Road, Lagunitas, Lost Coast, North Coast, Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, Stone, Tilt, Wildcide Hard Cider and more.

“We support blues musicians by facilitating live performances of blues music for seasoned and emerging artists while providing programs to expose and promote blues music to a broader music community; says Fountain Blues Foundation President Bob Gonzalez. “It’s gratifying to be a part of something so positive in a cool downtown San Jose location.”

Southern inspired food will be featured: Poor House Bistro (New Orleans staples); Smoking Pig BBQ; Seymert's (catfish); Nita B's Tasty treats (cobblers and funnel cakes); Crab Fiesta; and Carmen's Taqueria (South of the Border favorites). Picnic-style games and cool fountain for families to enjoy - kids 12 and under are free with paid adult.

General admission tickets are $20, VIP tickets $75 and can be purchased at www.fountainblues.com. There’s VTA light rail stations nearby and free bike valet 10 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. near main entrance, courtesy of Silicon Valley Bike Coalition.
 
BLUES WEEK ACTIVITIES SUPPORTING BLUES FEST:

  • SundayJune 182 – 5 p.m.: Tebo’s Howlin’ Wolf Revue, San Pedro Square Market, 87 N. San Pedro Street, San Jose. FREE.
  • MondayJune 197 – 10 p.m.: John Nemeth CD Release Party, The Studio at Poor House Bistro, 91 S. Autumn St., San Jose. Donations welcomed.
  • TuesdayJune 207 – 10 p.m. Aki’s Downtown Jam, Poor House Bistro. FREE.
  • WednesdayJune 215 - 6 PM: Make Music Day: Fountain Blues Foundation board member Ned Kraft will lead free harmonica lessons. The first 75 lucky participants will receive a free harmonica, Discovery Meadow (West San Carlos Street at Woz Way, San Jose) FREE.                         
  • WednesdayJune 21, 8 p.m.: Matt Schofield with A.C. Myles and Terri Odabi, Club Fox, 2209 Broadway, Redwood City. Tickets:  $20 general admission / $35 VIP  http://www.clubfoxrwc.com/
  • Thursday, June, 22, 6 – 9 p.m.: Big Blues Week Jam with special guests and hosted by Chef Ramon, Poor House Bistro, donations welcome
  • Friday, June 236 – 10 p.m.: Jerry Miller Band (founding member of Moby Grape) at Poor House Bistro, FREE.
  • Saturday, June 24, 9p.m. – midnight: Post Fountain Blues Fest special event with Daniel Castro Band, The Studio at Poor House Bistro. FREE to Blues Festival attendees who show their Fest wristband, or $20 donation to Fountain Blues Foundation at the door.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Elvin Bishop: A lot has happened since guitar legend Elvin Bishop released his last album, 2014’s Grammy-nominated Can’t Even Do Wrong Right. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and soon after into the Blues Hall of Fame. He won the Living Blues Award for Best Blues Album Of 2014 and three 2014 Blues Music Awards: Album of The Year, Song Of The Year (for the title track) and The Elvin Bishop Band took the award for Band Of The Year. 

Now, Elvin–along with his friends, guitarist/pianist Bob Welsh and percussionist/vocalist Willy Jordan–launches The Big Fun Trio. Preparing for one of the first live gigs with his new trio, Bishop told The San Jose Mercury News, “Every time I pick up the guitar, something new comes out of it. I guess you’d call me a late bloomer. When you get to be my age, you’re not expecting to be progressing or coming up with any new ideas, but for some reason, I’m lucky enough that that’s what’s happening to me.” His new album – Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio – is among his very best musical ideas ever. The music is rootsy, spirited and soulful, performed by serious musicians hell-bent on having a good time.

Bettye LaVette: Three time Grammy nominee Bettye LaVette is no mere blues singer. She is an interpreter of the highest order. Whether the song originated as country, rock, pop, or blues, when she gets through with it, it is pure R&B. She gets inside a song and shapes and twists it to convey all of the emotion that can be wrought from the lyric. Her career began in 1962 at the age of 16. Now 71 years old, she is still performing with the ferocity of a woman half her age. Her voice has only gotten better with age. She is one of very few of her contemporaries who were recording during the birth of soul music in the 60s and is still creating vital recordings today.

Fillmore Slim: He grew up on a farm picking cotton and plowing the fields utilizing a mule. As a youngster, he discovered music from his grandmother. He moved to the Los Angeles area in 1955, performing with his band Eddie and the Blues Slayers; he relocated to San Francisco opening shows for the likes of BB King and Dinah Washington; his first single released in the late 50ʼs, was a song entitled ‘You Got the Nerve of a Brass Monkey’ on the Los Angeles based Dooto record label.

This VIP of the music and underworld would go on to be revered by the members of the hip hop world including Snoop Dog, 50 Cent, Big Daddy Kane and MC Lyte. Among other celebrated musicians, he has toured with Joe Tex, Harmonica Slim and Little Willie John, performed with Sly Stone and T-Bone Walker, and recorded with Joe Louis Walker, Bobbie Webb and Rick Estrin. “Fillmore Slim” continues to master his gift of storytelling as singer/guitarist/songwriter. He is currently working on his 7th blues c.d. titled “Playa’s Ball” on the Mountain Top Label.

Aki Kumar: Dynamic frontman and harp player Aki Kumar is a rising star among the next generation of SF Bay Area blues artists. A master of the amplified Chicago blues sound, Kumar inherits his style from the harp legends of the 1950s and 60s. Aki has a unique voice in the blues, blending elements of blues harmonica pioneers of yesteryear with a signature sound of his own.

Born and raised in Bombay – India, Kumar established his mark on the West Coast blues scene starting in 2009 as frontman of the SF Bay Area’s highly acclaimed blues outfit Tip of the Top. His latest venture, The Aki Kumar Blues Band, involves several Bay Area blues luminaries and has been the culmination of his journey through American roots music. The band performs vintage blues with tremendous skill and energy and is guaranteed to entertain audiences across all venues, from intimate listening rooms to large festivals.

Maxx Cabello, Jr.: The American music flame will never go out as long as young artists such as Maxx Cabello Jr. take the torch and keep it burning. This young amazing guitarist, soulful vocalist, and prolific songwriter, hails from the streets of the San Francisco Bay area where he is turning heads and bending the ears of the most jaded veteran musicians and music aficionados. Straight out of the South Bay, this quiet-spoken young man turns into a powerful and captivating artist when he begins to play the guitar. We expect his star to be on the rise in the musical sky before long.

About Fountain Blues Foundation

It all started in the spring of 1981 with a sold-out concert at the San Jose Civic Auditorium by the rock group, Ambrosia. San Jose State University Associated Students wanted to do a Free-of-Charge show to repay their fans for their support during the year. The board of directors decided on a blues festival format for the following year. In 1982, John Lee Hooker and the Coast to Coast Blues Band was hired to headline, over 2,500 people came and the rest is history.

Fountain Blues Festival is organized to preserve and promote blues music. Preservation activities take a variety of forms, including live performances, broadcasts, lectures and community education about the history of the blues, culminating in the annual Fountain Blues Festival.

The Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supports blues musicians by facilitating live performances of blues music by seasoned and emerging artists; providing programs to expose and promote blues music to the broader music community; providing education for musicians, including mentorships and music industry experiences that promote professional artistic exchange; partnering with local venues and merchants to promote a community that supports the blues art form. www.fountainblues.com

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Great America Red, White, and Brews

As one who hasn’t frequented Great America since I last owned a season pass (back when houses were affordable), it was with a keen sense of nostalgia that I devoted this past Saturday to checking out their Red, White & Brews event. Would the place be as vast as I remember? Could I handle the permanently-looped opening strains of the Top Gun soundtrack while in line for 45 minutes at the eponymous ride?

Spoiler alert: it’s even more fun as an adult. Because, you know, alcohol; and you’re grown-up enough to remember to wear sunscreen.  Also Top Gun was re-named years ago when Paramount sold the park to Cedar Fair, so at least there was no threat of death-by-soundtrack. As an added bonus, Great America has these lovely things called Fast Passes, which (for a fee) let you skip most of the lines anyways. Who says the world isn’t becoming a better place?

Back to the original reason for this posting. The Great America staff kindly invited members of the San Jose Blog team to cover their Red, White & Brews event. They provided us with the press release (previously covered), which showed an impressive number of brewery/winery choices, and well as some special food offerings.

It was a rollicking good time. The SJ Blog team divvied up the beer tastings so we got to at least try the majority of the beers served in tidy little kiosks around the event area. The San Jose Beer Bike was also present, so we hopped on that and pedaled around the park doing our best Avril Lavigne karaoke, much to the amusement of the other park goers... at least judging by how many decided to participate as we cycled by.

The food was quite tasty, and, being the adventurous souls that we are, we all started off with the chicken heart skewers (see photo). The skewers are proof that one can grill nearly anything, slather it in BBQ sauce, wrap bacon around it, and feed it to the pickiest eater with no shame. The grilled corn was excellent. We split up the desserts so we could try each – but the clear winner was the apple bacon cheddar parfait, followed up by an off-menu selection that tasted vaguely like peaches soaked in a cinnamon-bourbon syrup. You had us at bourbon.

We then decided to make use of our Fast Passes and hopped on several roller coasters, which were just as amusing as any of us remembered (particularly the front row to Top Gun… er, Flight Deck). For those readers over the age of 30, if you haven’t been to the park since your teens, just remember that your spines aren’t the robust things they once were, and plan your riding schedule accordingly, perhaps interspersing them with regular stops at the food and beer kiosks.

The event was immensely enjoyable. Count us in next year; we look forward to continued events that highlight local brewing and winemaking talent.