Question: How could the NorCal craft-beer craze get any better? Answer: By bringing it outside.
Two new beer gardens to the east and south of the city (read: sunnier zip codes) are pouring unique brews in delightful alfresco settings:
Steins Beer Garden You can’t walk through the massive 4,000-square-foot patio without tripping over your fair share of Google, Apple or Yahoo employees. Located in downtown Mountain View, Steins is teeming with techies, but it’s family-friendly too--they just added a kiddie menu. Adults can indulge in modern gourmet American meals, such as the breaded pork chop with mac and cheese ($18). Sip on obscure beers like the High Water Campfire Stout, which tastes like s’mores, and Kiuchi Brewery’s Hitachino White Ale. 895 Villa St., Mountain View; 650-963-9568 or steinsbeergarden.com
Moxy Beer Garden A much smaller--but no less glorious--space in Berkeley, Moxy was recently opened by the couple behind HobNob. Amy and Mike Voisenat keep almost exclusively Cali beers on tap. Brew highlights include the Heretic Brewing Company’s rich, dark Shallow Grave Porter and Calicraft’s Buzzerkeley, a zesty sparkling ale. Settle in at one of the picnic tables on the patio (the Voisenats built them) and order a grass-fed burger ($9) or the vegan buffalo wings ($8), made with beer-battered cauliflower. 3136 Sacramento St., Berkeley; 510-547-6699 or moxybeergarden.com