Berkeley’s Craft-Beer Renaissance

Berkeley’s Craft-Beer Renaissance


Melissa Christy and Baulio Bethancourt sample drinks at Pacific Standard Taproom & Growler Station.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company opens the Pacific Standard Taproom & Growler Station.

For most of its history, downtown Berkeley had barely any beery hotspots. Then the artisanal-beer boom found IPAs bubbling away on virtually every block.

This fall, the launch of Pacific Standard Taproom & Growler Station carried this district across a new threshold: Now it’s a craft-beer capital.

Lodged in the woodsy, welcoming space formerly occupied by La Botella Republic, it’s a project of the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company and features that local rarity, outdoor seating. Half Moon Bay has been crafting innovative brews coastside since 20o3 under the direction of East Bayite brewmaster James Costa and often scores medals at beer championships and the state fair.

At Pacific Standard, Half Moon Bay’s own brews are poured alongside ceviche, charcuterie, panini—made with Berkeley-based Fra’ Mani meats, as part of a menu devised by executive chef Federico Godinez—and up to 24 other local and regional beers on tap.


Terry Donward.

“Most breweries pour only their own beers and won’t serve anyone else’s,” said Pacific Standard’s general manager Nate Rey. “But only a handful of our taps are specifically our product, because we’re trying to tell the Pacific Coast story by making this a joint effort, bringing all the local producers together, giving them a collective identity. The beer, the cider, the wines: Our brewing industry is a celebration of what we do on the West Coast and how we do it.”

“Pacific Standard is a place where people can enjoy good craft beers, high-end reputable beers, family-owned beers, sour beers,” said Rey, a former Oakland resident. “We’re always on the lookout for rare things.”

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company also creates rarities such as Calf-Eine—a vibrant coffee milk stout—and the daring Tunnel Vision IPA, made in small batches with recycled wastewater.

One handy Pacific Standard option is “growlers-to-go”: pop-topped 64-ounce vessels filled to order with draft beer.

“You don’t put it into a paper bag and start swigging it on the street,” Rey advised. “You bring it home and share it with your friends.”

Pacific Standard Taproom & Growler Station, 2055 Center St., Berkeley,


Published online on Jan. 6, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.