Beer, Here

Linden Street Brewery celebrates Oakland's long history of beer consumption.

It’s not often that you find a business as tightly moored in local
tradition as Linden Street Brewery (95 Linden St., Oakland),
where all the beers have a Gold Rush-era flavor. The idea, said owner
Adam Lamoreaux — who opened the brewery just four months ago
— was to make a beer that congealed with its surroundings. Linden
Street resides in an old brick warehouse just a few blocks from the
West Oakland shipyards. Built in 1890, the building originally housed
the Standard Underground Cable factory, which operated back when
Americans were switching from gas to electricity. Lamoreaux said he
wanted to capture that time period in his brewing processes, which use
a lager yeast “similar to what they had back in the day.” His two
original beers — the Urban People’s Common Lager and Burning Oak
Black Lager — are unfiltered and naturally carbonated, meant to
recall the type of beer that Jack London probably drank at Heinold’s.
But like everything else at Linden Street, they also have a modern
edge.

Call Lamoreaux an unsung beero. He got into beer around age
nineteen, shortly after enlisting in the Navy. He tried his first
quality brew in Australia, and spent the better part of the 1990s
traveling the world and sudsing it up in every country he visited.
Between tours Lamoreaux stayed at the Naval Air Station in Alameda,
which put him just a stone’s throw away from Jupiter, Pyramid, Triple
Rock, and several other local breweries. Not to mention he was right
next to Oakland, a city that looms large in US brewing history
(According to Lamoreaux, Oakland once had forty breweries averaging two
kegs a day.) By time he got out in 1998, Lamoreaux was a veritable beer
savant.

He worked in pubs and breweries throughout the next decade, and
eventually rose up the ranks. Eleven years was ample time for Lamoreaux
to learn how new technologies had affected the taste of beer —
for the worse, he thought. “After Prohibition it all became Pilsner,”
he explained.) Yet, Lamoreaux also kept abreast of current trends in
the beer-drinking world. He learned that modern West Coast beeroes
gravitate toward “hoppier” beer (meaning a bitter flavor, for those who
don’t imbibe), and that a lot of local breweries focus on that sharp,
earthy taste. Thus, Lamoreaux made his Linden Street brews hoppy enough
to suit a modern palate, but rustic enough to lend a sense of
historical grounding. That’s a neat bit of marketing ingenuity that
works well in practice.

On Saturday, Oct. 17, Lamoreaux will roll out his two lagers at a
Beer & Brats celebration, which includes barbecued bratwurst
sausages (courtesy of local butchery Star Meats), live blues by Rick
Baskin, and a locally sourced vegetarian option. Event proceeds will
benefit the Oakland Rotary Community Endowment and Bay Area Community
Services, a food distribution program that brings farm-fresh edibles to
the inner-city. Lamoreaux says it’s the perfect opportunity for people
to visit his production brewery and celebrate Oakland’s long history of
beer consumption. To help facilitate that, he’ll have a double-decker
shuttle bus to pick people up from the West Oakland BART station and
drop them off at the brewery. Leave the driving to him — but
drink responsibly. Noon-5 p.m., free. LindenBeer.com or Oakland-Rotary.org/events

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