Monday 28th May 2012
This brew pub is part of a small chain of three. The original is in Eugene, OR and it opened on 22nd January 1991. However, the subject of my visit on this day is a lot further south in California and came in to being during March 1995. The third is in Irvine, CA. (Note: That pub closed in October 2013 on the expiration of the lease). The name of the company comes from a fish, the Steelhead Trout, native to the rivers and coast of Pacific America and Canada.
It is certainly a convenient pub, being just a stone's throw from Burlingame station. Please permit me a small digression whilst I mention this station. I tend to go off on tangent on the twin subjects of railways and architecture, so this station is covered by both. I had just arrived from Palo Alto station which was built in the "Streamline" style.
Well, Burlingame is a complete contrast, as is in the "Spanish Mission" style. There are several stations of this type in California and the other desert states. The Sante Fe Railroad had a lot, yet this example was built by the Southern Pacific Company as attested by the restored logos on the immaculate structure.
Diagonally opposite the station is the brew pub. I'm not sure what the purpose of this building was in its previous life, but it has been completely gutted internally to suit its present purpose. The bar is to be found on the right side of the two-storey main room. The brewery is glimpsed through windows. A most remarkable feature is the rear billiard room. There are six full-size tables in a most sumptuous setting surrounded by flowers in crystal glass vases.
When I visited there were the four regular beers on offer, along with four seasonal offerings. I tried all of them as they did an eight beer sampler set, fantastic!
I started with the four regular beers and these, along with comments, are detailed below:
Hairy Weasel Hefeweizen (5.4%): I thought this was a very light (in taste) version of this type of beer.
Broadway Blonde (5.6%). This was very good, a light golden ale.
Raging Rhino Red Ale (5.4%). It definitely had the red ale taste, but with a bit more bitterness than normal.
Bombay Bomber IPA (6.5%). Not as good as expected and it had a strange, slightly off, aftertaste.
Then there were the seasonal specials:
Half Moon Porter (5.6%). Very likable being nice and dry, more like a stout.
Sullivan Stout (5.7%). This was very similar to the Porter. After several sips of the two consecutively I thought that one was thinner in body but almost identical.
Crystal Springs Pilsner (5.0%). This was very nice with a good bitterness for a Pils.
Double Play IPA (9.1%). This didn't disappoint; it was extremely intense with a concentrated hop flavour to the fore.
There were two hand pumps and I asked if there was anything connected up to them and was told there was at the weekend but once it's gone, it's gone! What a pity, but what would I have done if it was the Double Play IPA? Lost the rest of the day I suppose!
So, this is an extremely good pub, and with only one reservation, a fine selection of beers.
Steelhead Brewing at Burlingame, 333 California Drive, Burlingame, California 94010
Tel: 01 650 344 6050
Open: Sunday-Monday 11.30 to 21.00; Tuesday-Thursday 11.30 to 22.00;
Caltrains runs a frequent service along the peninsular from San Francisco to San Jose and onto Gilmour. Connections can be made to the trains of Amtrak and ACE at San Jose. There are bus connections from most of the stations on this line to most other places in Silicon Valley. The station is 200 metres (yards) away.