Field­work Brew­ing Co.

From its home base in Berke­ley, Cal­i­for­nia, Field­work Brew­ing Com­pany is churn­ing out an ev­er­ro­tat­ing list of in­ven­tive beers for its grow­ing col­lec­tion of tap­rooms.

Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine - - Contents - By Jon Page

SHOULD HE EVER OPEN his own brew­ery, Alex Tweet had his core beer lineup nailed down.

Af­ter years of ex­pe­ri­ence at Bal­last Point Brew­ing & Spir­its and Mod­ern Times Beer, the brewer even had a vi­sion for his flag­ship beer. But on Tweet’s first day of brew­ing at Field­work Brew­ing Com­pany, which he co­founded with Barry Braden, Tweet scrapped his plan.

“I just want to make some­thing dif­fer­ent all the time,” Tweet re­mem­bers think­ing on that day in early 2015. “I just walked up to [Braden] and was like, ‘Hey man, what do you think about just mak­ing dif­fer­ent beer all the time?’ I thought it was go­ing to turn into a big ar­gu­ment. He kind of just smirked and he went, ‘Yeah, go for it.’ ”

The pivot is pay­ing off for Field­work. The Cal­i­for­nia brew­ery picked up a sil­ver medal at the 2016 Great Amer­i­can Beer Fes­ti­val, and its ever-ro­tat­ing beers are among the most highly sought af­ter in the San Fran­cisco Bay Area. A steady stream of cus­tomers fre­quents the Berke­ley brew­ery, and this sum­mer Field­work opened its fourth satel­lite tap­room in Mon­terey. It also has lo­ca­tions in Sacramento, Napa, and San Ma­teo, but all of Field­work’s beers are brewed in Berke­ley.

When vis­it­ing the tap­rooms, ex­pect to find a few standby styles: a lager, a pale ale, sev­eral IPAS and dou­ble IPAS, a stout or porter, and maybe even a gose. But don’t ex­pect to re­turn the fol­low­ing week and find the ex­act same draft list. It’s a mat­ter of en­gage­ment and cre­ativ­ity for Tweet, who doesn’t want Field­work’s brew­ers and em­ploy­ees to feel like they’re work­ing in a fac­tory. Since its found­ing in 2015, Field­work has brewed more than 200 dif­fer­ent

beers, in­clud­ing a dou­ble IPA brewed with toasted co­conut and milk sugar and a cream ale in­spired by a churro.

“It keeps our bar staff more en­gaged, more ex­cited to see what’s on, what’s com­ing out,” Tweet says. “Our sales team is more en­gaged be­cause they’re not just try­ing to keep pump­ing out the same stag­nant prod­uct. But then the ul­ti­mate thing is that our cus­tomers are en­gaged. When they come in here, there should al­ways be at the bare min­i­mum one beer that they’ve had be­fore that they’re ex­cited to see back and then one new beer that they’ve never had be­fore that they’re ex­cited to try.”

On a re­cent visit to the Berke­ley tap­room, many cus­tomers grav­i­tated to hazy, hops-heavy op­tions (Field­work does not fil­ter any of its beers). A woman at the bar pro­claimed that Hazy Train—a juicy, 6.9% IPA brim­ming with grape­fruit that would per­fectly com­ple­ment brunch—was “the great­est beer that ever lived” be­fore be­moan­ing that it wasn’t avail­able for growler fills. “Sorry,” said Braden from behind the bar. “It’s the last keg.” Braden im­me­di­ately poured sam­ples of Atomic Gar­den, a dou­ble IPA, and In­vis­i­ble Touch, a pale ale. Af­ter a few ap­prov­ing sips, the woman or­dered three growlers to go.

De­spite the at­ten­tion to high-grav­ity dou­ble IPAS, Field­work’s co­founders pre­fer lower ABV of­fer­ings. Tweet is a per­fec­tion­ist who strug­gles to en­joy his own beer. He is con­stantly an­a­lyz­ing his beers, think­ing of im­prove­ments. “Even if it’s some­thing mun­dane and no­body will no­tice it, I no­tice it and it’s go­ing to drive me insane,” Tweet says.

Tweet be­lieves that Finer Things, a 4.2% lager dry hopped with Mo­saic, is one of the most per­fect beers Field­work makes. “It’s this per­fect bal­ance [that] gives me all that hops sen­sa­tion I want from craft beer,” Tweet said, “but I can drink twelve of them on a boat while I’m fish­ing.”

Field­work brewed 2,700 bar­rels in 2015, 9,500 bar­rels in 2016, and Braden ex­pects to close 2017 at 15,000 bar­rels. He said 6,000 of those bar­rels will be sold di­rectly through Field­work’s grow­ing sta­ble of tap­rooms, which also sell beer to-go in growlers, crowlers, and oc­ca­sional small re­leases of cans.

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