The dictionary defines a pattern as a model or mold designed for making and replicating things. When it comes to beer, the folks at Oakland’s new Original Pattern Brewing Company honor traditional beer recipes, but they also want to break the mold. To that end, they’ve built a brewhouse and taproom in Jack London Square where they’ve created new patterns for classic beer styles. Original Pattern soft opened in March, but they’re throwing a Pattern Festival to celebrate its official grand opening on Saturday, April 21.
Melding the old with the new is the mission for its founders, married couples Ryan Frank and Caitlin O’Connor and Max Silverstein and Margie Silverstein. Ryan and Max are buddies from Siebel Institute, a brewing school in Chicago. After graduating Siebel, the two couples reconnected in the Bay Area.
Frank was 21st Amendment’s director of brewery operations and was a big part of its San Leandro brewery buildout. Once that project was complete in 2015, he asked himself what’s next? The answer, create his own brewery.
The four partners found the perfect warehouse space in Jack London Square in February 2017, falling in love with the exposed brick walls and exposed timber roof. Thus, Original Pattern was born.
Their neighbors include a print shop, as well as local breweries Independent Brewing Company and Federation Brewing. Oakland United Beerworks is doing a taproom buildout about two blocks away.
“We’re excited to launch a Jack London brewing district,” head brewer Frank said.
“My brewing philosophy is if I put a beer on tap that references a classic style I want it to transport you there,” said Frank. “If you have a Czech pilsner I want you to close your eyes, take a sip and think you are in Prague and smell goulash in the air. But at the same time, beer is a great place for creativity and exploration.”
Take Call of the Void, a Belgian dubbel, one of the beers that will be flowing from taps at the Pattern Festival.
“Belgian dubbles can be big, sweet and boozy,” Frank said. “We want to break that mold. Ours is on the lighter end of the color and body spectrum. It’s easy to drink while retaining the traditional malt flavors and yeast spiciness.”
Another beer that will be on tap at Saturday’s fest is Inaugural Pattern, an American pale ale that was the first beer Original Pattern made in its new brewhouse.
“It’s got a pinch of rye, it’s hazy but I wouldn’t call it a hazy pale ale,” Frank said. “It’s hopped a little more traditionally like a West Coast-style pale ale and incorporates some interesting hops.”
Also on offer, First Likeness, a Belgian-style grisette (sister style to saison beer); Brightside, a traditional German kolsch; Edo, a dry Irish stout; Amoris, a Belgian saison; and Are You Not Entertained?, a double IPA. More beers are on the way to fill up 12 taps after the grand opening, including an apricot peach Berliner weisse sour. One tap will be dedicated for plain or flavored housemade seltzer.
Exploring different fermentations excites Frank. He’s started a sour program and plans to make beers with brett and saccharomyces yeasts, full long-format sours and fast, or kettle, sours. He’s got 30 barrels and two 20-liter oak foudres, or casks, for aging the sours.
Educating beer newbies or craft beer aficionados about fermentations and beer styles is part of the Original Pattern experience.
“The beer industry is focused on hoppy beer right now,” Frank said, “but there are hundreds of other beer styles out there. We want to be a beacon, a voice of that message. IPAs rock, but do you know about Belgian grisette, saison, Trappist beers or traditional German hefeweizen?”
Look for brewery tours to be offered soon, and while you might not think about the glass you quaff beer from, the Original Pattern folks do.
“Glassware can intensify aroma and therefore influence taste, accentuate color, have an effect on the beer head retention and be a factor in temperature control,” O’Connor said.
Glasses are matched to beer styles. The brewery’s Belgian dubbel and saison are served in stemmed tulip glasses because the stem keeps the beer from warming up while the tapered bowl shape intensifies the aroma. The Irish stout is served in a traditional pub glass without a stem because this style is usually drunk warmer, and it’s ok if your hand warms the beer in the glass.
Then there are the stange-style glasses for the kolsch beers. In Cologne, Germany, tall cylindrical glasses full of kolsch are served in a traditional caddy called a kranz, or wreath. When Ryan and Max were in Cologne, they shared a kranz, and wanted to introduce that concept to Original Pattern’s customers.
Those glasses all sport the Original Pattern logo, itself a text pattern forming circles. It’s intended to evoke movement in space, making an original pattern.
As for the tie-in to the grand opening Pattern Festival, guests are encouraged to don a patterned outfit.
“It’s a fun way to brighten things up, by showing up in a getup that has a little bit of personality or pattern,” Frank said. “This is a simple way for people to be involved, have a laugh, start a conversation; that is what our space is about.”
Frank guarantees his pattern will be loud. He hopes folks will post their best pattern outfits on Instagram, hang out and make new friends through beer.
The Pattern Festival, with live music and food trucks, takes place 1-10 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at Original Pattern Brewing, 292 Fourth St; (at Harrison), Oakland. Tickets include a logo tulip glass and one beer.