Comstock's magazine 1117 - November 2017 - Page 38

n TASTE BREWED TO THE CORE Breweries and beer bars are migrating to the grid after years on the outskirts BY Daniel Barnes PHOTOS: Ryan Angel Meza W Midtown has upped its beer game with the re- cent opening of Capital Hop Shop. 38 | November 201 7 hen Glynn Phillips purchased Ru- bicon Brewing Company in 2005, it was one of only five breweries oper- ating in the Sacramento area. Fast forward 12 tumultuous years, and the total number of area breweries is approaching 60, with over a dozen new ones set to open later this year and in early 2018. Still, even as Sacramento craft beer exploded, the scene on the central city’s grid was slower to evolve. New breweries began embracing the tasting room model over the Rubicon-style brewpub model, eschewing foot traffic concerns by open- ing in low-overhead industrial areas and nondescript business parks. Food trucks replaced kitchens, and doors that swing open were replaced by doors that roll up. As for beer bars, a few key players raised the craft beer game on the grid — Midtown Biergarten, for example, which opened on K Street in 2014 — but most top perform- ers chose to operate outside of downtown and Midtown. A long-running law against selling single bottles on the grid, originally intended to discourage drinking in public, ultimately discouraged businesses from duplicating the beer bar/bottle shop hy- brid popularized by Pangaea, Final Gravity and others. But that tide is starting to turn, as lo- cal beer all-stars and upstarts alike are migrating back to the grid, while even out-of-town breweries such as Field- work and Anheuser InBev-owned Golden Road search for a slice of Sacramento’s muscular market share. The recent “cash flow”-related closure of Rubicon inspired apocalyptic talk about brewery oversat- uration and a bursting “craft beer bub-