Temescal Brewing has doubled down on beer in Oakland, opening a second production facility in Jack London Square. Or, more accurately, the brewery is tripling down: Temescal’s new space, now operating at 621 Fourth Street, increases its beer output from 2,000 to 6,000 barrels per year.
“It’s a big step for us as a brewery,” says Temescal Brewing founder Sam Gilbert. Eventually, the Jack London space will operate as a taproom like the Telegraph Avenue original. But for now, it’s only open for events, like a kickoff party next Saturday, December 8, which also celebrates the brewery’s release of a new flagship beer: A Pilsner style lager called Temescal Pils.
Temescal’s new brewery also represents a somewhat different direction for the brewery: Moving toward more lagers like that one. In contrast to ales, lagers are fermented for longer at cooler temperatures, and Gilbert calls them underrated in the craft beer world.
“IPA,” which is an ale, “is king these days,” he admits. Lagers, meanwhile, are hard, time-consuming work that don’t hide their flaws well — which is why many brewers don’t make them, he speculates.
“Bars and restaurants that happily carry local IPAs often only sell lagers from big corporate brands,” Gilbert points out. “People often think of lager as just ‘fizzy yellow beer,’ but it can come in all colors and flavors,” he adds, pointing to Moonlight’s Death & Taxes, a dark lager, and classic, malt-focused Oktoberfest beers.
“We believe [lagers] deserve to be approached with the spirit of dedication and experimentation that craft brewers are giving to other styles. We want a great lager to be taken as seriously as the most boutique double IPA.”
Temescal has bucked trends before. At its 2016-opened brewery and sunny beer garden, a light, colorful aesthetic offers a welcome antidote to many hyper-masculine breweries and aggressive beer bars. Their motto, emblazoned on a light green neon sign, is “fresh beer, no jerks.”
Temescal’s new Jack London space, which occupies 4,800 square feet that previously housed Urban Legend Winery, is just the latest arrival in a booming beer production scene in the industrial Oakland area. Existing brewers Original Pattern Brewing Co, Oakland United Beerworks, Independent Brewing Co., and Federation Brewing have even formed their own “brewing district.”
Temescal’s Jack London kickoff party will be held on Saturday, December 8, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. In addition to Temescal Pils, they’ll pour three more lagers: Fluffy, “an extra pillowy pilsner with spelt,” Yonder, “a crisp, chocolatey black lager,” and another “heavily dry-hopped hazy lager.” Tickets are online here .