Review and images by Flora Moreno de Thompson
This year, the organizers of Kraftbrew Beer Fest took the festivities outdoors and held their much-anticipated event on Post St. and Lightston Alley in downtown San Jose. Kraftbrew, presented by Giant Creative, drew a crowd of more than 4,000 beer lovers ranging from total newbies to beer connoisseurs. Kraftbrew featured over 60 different types of beers from breweries all over the US and Europe.
Chris Esparza, the man behind the beer festival, wanted Kraftbrew to be anything but just another beer-drinking free-for-all. Along with entertaining the crowd with live music from local bands like Ben Henderson and Good Hustle or Will Sprott & Friends, guest speakers from the beer industry also took the mic to educate those in attendance.
Most of the beers poured were American craft brews, but some German and Belgian beers were to be found at Kraftbrew, too. I tried several, but here are the brews that were my favorites of the day.
Uinta Brewing Company’s Baba Black Lager: Hailing from Salt Lake City, Utah, Uinta Brewing Company’s Baba Black Lager is smooth and very drinkable, with hints of chocolate and coffee. Guinness lovers should enjoy this one.
Drake’s Brewing 1500 Pale Ale: This beer is dry-hopped, meaning hops are added after fermentation to give the beer even more of a hoppy flavor and smell, rather than bitterness. Take a whiff and you might smell orange and pine. Tastes like an IPA.
Abita Purple Haze: Refreshing and light, Purple Haze has a fruity nose with hints of honey. This was my favorite craft brew of the day and is something I’d have for dessert.
Leifman’s Goudenband: This Belgian beer is on the sour side, with a taste of tart cherry. Very crisp and almost palate-cleansing. Like a fine wine, this brown beer gets better with age.