Way back in November of 2015, we brought you news of a new brewery headed to West Berkeley. After many permitting delays, Gilman Brewing is now open.
The brewery, which was started by two home brewers, Sean Wells and Tim Sellmeyer, focuses on small batches of “funky, interesting” beers, including both Belgian and American styles, served in a low-key environment. As they write on Gilman Brewing’s website: “No pretentious descriptions. No snotty servers. Just a comfortable room, normal people, and some good beer.”
Gilman Brewing held a soft opening over the weekend with limited hours. It is currently open Thursday-Sunday from 2-10 p.m., but Wells hopes to be open seven days a week by March.
On tap are six beers in both American and Belgian farmhouse-styles. Lower-gravity beer lovers will be happy to see the “Gold” (a golden American lager) on tap; it’s Gilman’s answer to PBR. Two different farmhouse ales — a French saison and a dark Belgian farmhouse — are on tap, along with a smoked porter and American stout. Rounding out the list is “Secret Brunch,” a smoked maple bacon brown ale that’s fermented with maple bacon syrup (“yep … real bacon,” Wells said) and poured on a nitro tap.
In the “next week or so” Wells said he plans to add “Speak of the Devil” (a smoked chipotle porter) and a barrel-aged nectarine wheat farmhouse ale to the list, plus house ginger beer on tap. “It will be nice to have one non alcoholic beverage,” he said. All beers are available to drink on site and as growler fills to take home.
In addition, Wells said his barrel aging program is underway, and more sour beers on tap will not be too far off. “There’s tons of extra space here so it’ll be a pretty significant [aging] program,” he said.
Gilman Brewing beers are also on tap at a wide range of bars and restaurants across the East Bay.
If you’ve been following the Gilman Brewing story, you’ll know that Wells also has plans to open a beer-friendly fast casual restaurant attached to the taproom. This dining space is not yet open and is likely a while off, Wells said. However, when it does, it will serve a short, simple menu of pub-style food “intended to pair well with the beers. “I really like to have a slice of pizza with my beer,” Wells told Nosh in November 2015. He and Sellmeyer plan to fill the 1,200 square-foot restaurant space with family-style tables and a bar area. Service will be casual.