In the mid-19th Century, Oakland sported 40+ breweries to cater to the gold-rush era crowds in the area who were looking for a beer to drown their sorrows in. A century later, the last of the big Oakland breweries closed in the late 1950s… not until 1988 did brewing return to “Oaktown” in the form of quaint brewpub Pacific Coast Brewing Company on the edge of historic Jack London Square in downtown Oakland.
Located in a building constructed in 1876, the pub vibes history with its collection of elements from Oakland’s past, including the elaborate stained glass window that adorns the store front (acquired from the Oakland Museum according to their website) and the antique mahogany bar—they even have an impressive collection of framed Sports Illustrateds featuring what appears to be every moment a Bay Area team was featured on the cover.
The interiors are low lit, or as Good Beer Guide West Coast calls it “the dark side prevails here”, and the dark wood absorbs what meager light the windows provide. With an inviting bar and large dining area, PCBC also features a decent sized outdoor dining area that was perfect for the visit my family and made on a Saturday afternoon.
I’d first heard of the brewpub in the aforementioned Good Beer way back in 2009 when it was the only brewpub in the historic city and I’d been planning a visit since moving to the Bay Area a year ago. Located on a quiet street next to the Oakland Convention Center, we found street parking right in front of the historic building. We opted to sit outside, as it was a gorgeous day, and our attentive server quickly served us up a selection of the house beers—my wife opted for the Blue Whale Ale and I went for their sampler.
They had an impressive guest tap selection to accompany their house beers and reading on their website, they pride themselves on offering the best guest local beer selection which I always think is a bold move. Their menu had a fairly broad selection of tasty looking, if maybe slightly pricey, offerings and I decided to live dangerously and have their house burger and my wife/daughter shared a cheese plate and an open-faced tuna sandwich. Food was decent and filling, nothing spectacular, but perfectly suiting the atmosphere.
The beer was good across the board (although as a confessed ‘hop head’ the lack of a house IPA was a bit of a bummer, haha).
The beers I enjoyed were:
- Gray Whale Ale
- Blue Whale Ale
- Leslie’s XPA
- Killer Whale Stout
- Leviathan Imperial Stout
The stouts were the definite stand outs, especially the Leviathan, and would be my recommendation if you ever happen through Oakland.