Dinner and a Movie: Mare Island Brewing and Beer Culture
Mare Island Brewing Company
Ferry Taproom Coal Shed Brewery
289 Mare Island Way 850 Nimitz Avenue
Vallejo, CA 94590 Mare Island, CA 94592
(Downtown Benicia location opening soon)
Did you know that Commodore David Farragut, famed for uttering, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead,” served as Mare Island Naval Shipyard’s first commander in 1854? Mare Island was named for General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo’s prized white mare that survived a capsized ferry and swam ashore. So much history has transpired since then, including the closure of the shipyard in 1996. In 2013, the Mare Island Brewing Company set up shop, renovating one of the nine Coal Sheds that stored and loaded coal onto Navy steamships. The fully restored waterfront building became the Coal Shed Brewery in 2017, a state of the art, 15 barrel brew house. Tours, tastings and private events by appointment.
The Ferry Taproom on the Vallejo waterfront (at the Ferry Building) is open daily with food, craft beer and rooftop seating. Core beers include Coal Shed Stout, Hydraulic Sandwich Pale Ale, Saginaw Golden Ale and Survivor’s Tale Pale Ale.
Menu includes burgers, beer cheese, Cajun deviled eggs, shrimp & grits, Korean style fried chicken sandwich or the famous poutine! Originating in Quebec, poutine is a delicacy of steak fries, cheddar cheese curds and sausage gravy. Seriously fabulous. Be brave, it’s a new year!
Oh, did I mention they have beer? Yes, beer. It will change your life. So, drive or sail or ferry on over to the dock and take in the views….and the beer!
Just so you know, beer is not beer.
That tantalizing statement will be made clear to you in this month’s lively and informative documentary, Beer Culture.
In just under one hour, the filmmaker takes us into the hearts and minds of the pioneers, the entrepreneurs, the artists and creators who bring microbreweries and brewpubs to life into our communities.
The film is set in Colorado, arguably the micro brewing capital of the country. It gives us a thumbnail history of independent brewing, from immigrant brewers yearning for beer from the old country, all the way up to the renaissance of beer in our current culture ~ more flavorful, less fizzy.
We learn a lot in a short period of time and come away with respect for the small business men and women who struck out into the world with only water, barley, hops, and yeast. Their willingness to take risks, their creativity, sense of community, and passion for their unique products are infectious. We come out of the film ready to break out of our ordinary beer ruts and venture into the taste sensations of Left Hand, Oskar Blues, Equinox, and New Belgium, to mention only a handful of the local beermakers making small batches of locally-sourced beers. Nothing run-of-the-mill. Not the people or their products.
And happily, we will soon have Mare Island Brewing Company right here in Benicia! This viewer is ready, mug in hand, to develop the taste and appreciation for fine, young beers.
Beer Culture, directed by Thomas Kolicko, 55min. YouTube.