This post is sponsored by Whole Foods. They were kind enough to let me attend and survey their early store opening for the Santa Clara location. Any opinions on this article are completely mine though. And it's totally awesome!
This spanking new Whole Foods store is 50,000 square feet of stuff made of dreams for beer geeks seeking a remote haven in the middle of bustling San Jose. As I frequently travel up the down the 101 and 280, you can bet I'll make a pit stop here for my future beer fix.
But this is a huge thumbs up for the local residents of Santa Clara - you're in for a treat! Not just a great place to grocery shop, Whole Foods has elevated into a known powerhouse for local goods and freshly-made foods. Furnished with an in-house bakery, meat smoker, self-serve stations for pizzas, sandwhiches, burritos, etc, and taproom (19 taps, 2 wines, and 1 nitro coffee!) , this store has much to offer to one's delight. They are often my go-to places for finding new healthy snacks (try the Almond Bluberry Lemon crunchy granola bites from Frontier Bites) and beers that are in market & in-season. Additionally, Whole Foods is known to partner, curate, and support local businesses, often securing them with guaranteed batch sales or organizing events. This outweighs the risks embedded with small businesses not sustaining enough profit to stay afloat.
This is how the partnership with the folks at Camino Brewing, a new local brewery out of Santa Clara, first started. And now they're bottling their first beer ever exclusive for Whole Foods, Cafe con Leche. An easy-to-drink coffee stout variant sourced from local and exotic coffees from roasters at Chromatic Coffee both on tap and in bottles.
In addition to Camino Brewing, many other local brewers will be showcased from Hermitage to Santa Clara to Discretion and events are scheduled to take place during Silicon Valley Beer Week to feature a wide selection of appetizing events.
The space is designed to be communal and collaborative. A balanced selection will appeal to both the basic community of drinkers but also those seeking "interesting one-offs and fun collaborations". Distribution will also be unique to this location here. Beers from Modern Times (Red IPA Blazing world, Fruitlands gose, etc) and seasonal Almanac (lavender honey saison) offerings will be plentiful and available on tap. A solid foundation has been thought through and it'll be up to the personalities behind the bar to carry this further. And this brings me to...
Our top talents behind the bar - Art and Jamie. Both beer cicerones and connoseiurs in their own right. This is a superstar team representing both coasts.
Art brings his supervisor experience of successfully opening previous taprooms, like the one in Fremont back in 2013, and focus on local Northern CA up-and-coming craft beer. He's handling the logistics of food pairings as well, working with Mellisa King from Top Chef s.12, and the I must say that the simple Japanese "izakaya" gastropub menu is superb!
Jamie is an energetic and passionate pundit of beer. Having worked in various East Coast breweries, like Maine Beer Company and Rising Tide, she's now ready to tackle the California vibes once again. She has much to learn from the new local breweries in California since her absence but we're also excited to have her East Coast experience to balance the playing field.
I highly encourage you all to stop by on opening day (July 26) for a drink and say hi to our amazing cicerones!