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Raise a Glass to the Top 7 Breweries in Oakland and Berkeley

The Rare Barrel, via BullsEyeBrewing 

Now that the weather has taken a turn for the worse, you’ll be in need of indoor adventures. So, pick one (or two, or three) of these East Bay staples and enjoy a brew and some bar bites inside with friends. This list only includes Berkeley and Oakland, but the East Bay has so many more breweries up and down the coast. Feel free to add your favorites in the comments. 

1. The Rare Barrel, Berkeley 

Rare Barrel had a cult following even before they opened their doors last December. This sour-only brewery is dishing up delicious brews and rotating their taps weekly. As of right now you can only find their beers inside the tasting room, and only in 10 oz. pours. Seven beers are available so far, and each one is complex and delicious. Go for the Wise Guise, a red sour beer aged in oak barrels with raspberries (it's so good) or try the single-barrel release Cosmic Dust, a golden sour beer aged in oak barrels with hibiscus (it tastes like boozy jamaica - the agua fresca, not the country), before it runs out. The tasting room is open Fridays and Saturdays, and can be a little hard to find –it’s pretty set back from the street at the end of a long parking lot. And don’t forget to bring a sweater; the whole place is kept at barrel aging temperature, aka cold. 

The Rare Barrel: Open Friday 4-10 p.m. and Saturday 2-10 p.m., 40 Parker St, Berkeley.

2. Linden Street Brewery, Oakland 

If you’re looking for some East Bay pride with your beer head to Linden Street Brewery and order the Town Lager. Served only on draft in Oakland (seriously, you can't drink this beer in the city), this brew is suitable for all occasions. Made in the same fashion as the Gold Rush pioneers, Linden Street uses lager yeast, but it’s fermented at ale temperatures so that it’s naturally carbonated and unfiltered. Bonus points: Linden Street transports all its products to local bars in a custom-made bicycle that can hold two kegs at a time. Open on Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 5:00 p.m., the tasting room is the perfect place to cheer on your favorite East Bay team. 

Linden Street Brewery: Open Saturday - Sunday, 12:00 - 5:00 p.m., 95 Linden Street, Suite 7, Oakland 

3. Jupiter, Berkeley 

In the heart of downtown Berkeley, Jupiter’s outdoor patio and solid selection of house craft beers (along with 20 other local brews) keeps the bar packed on any night of the week with locals and Cal students alike. Jupiter even has gluten-free beer on tap (it is Berkeley, after all), but its home-brewed Honey Wheat stands out for the sweet aftertaste of locally grown wild honey. Pair it with one of their wood-fired pizzas and you have tasty dinner plans for any night of the week. 

Jupiter: Open Monday – Thursday 11:30a.m. – 1 a.m., Friday, 11:30 a.m. -1:30 a.m., Saturday 12:00 p.m. – 1:30a.m., and Sunday 12:00 p.m. – Midnight., 2181 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley

4. Triple Rock, Berkeley 

Served only by the liter and just one day a week, the Monkey Head Arboreal Ale makes Triple Rock the place to be on a Thursday night. The warming, bottle-conditioned, malty amber ale with a slight hop bite and clean finish is perfect for sharing with friends, just make sure to get there early. Founded in 1985, Triple Rock is the nation's oldest original brewpub, and co-owners/ brothers John and Reid Martin, are considered the founding fathers of the industry. Unsurprisingly, their beers have the taste of something well aged to perfection.

Open Monday - Wednesday 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 a.m., Thursday - Saturday 11:30 a.m. - 2:00 a.m., Sunday 11:30 a.m. - Midnight., 1920 Shattuck Avenue

5. Pacific Coast Brewing Co., Oakland 

Perfect for the adventurous drinker, the Pacific Coast brewpub offers more than 24 beers on tap, only a third of which are their own. You can't go wrong with the Killer Whaler Stout or the Blue Whale Ale, but we're really looking forward to the Mermaid's Revenge, a Belgian triple-ale coming out this year. Pacific Coast is also furnished with old treasures acquired from the Oakland Museum, including an elaborate stained-glass window, an ornate bar, and a vintage bar cooler. Having a beer here is the closest you’ll ever come to Oakland in its glory days. Hit them up on the first Friday of the month when they hold a reception for a featured artist with live music from 7:30 - 11:00 p.m. or on Lazy Sunday with live music from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Pacific Coast Brewing: Open Monday-Thursday, 11:30-12:00 a.m., Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. -1:00 a.m., and Sundays 11:00am-11:00 p.m., 906 Washington St., Oakland 

6. Pyramid Alehouse, Berkeley

Pyramid was founded in the Pacific Northwest, but set up shop in a warehouse in Berkeley in 1997. You must try the Apricot Ale on tap – it is even more refreshing and delicious than it is in bottle form – but, for any other day go with the classic Single Hop IPA, it's unique to the Berkeley location and pairs perfectly with any of the hearty burgers on the menu. It's a pretty robust beer, though, so grab some appetizers and enjoy the ride. 

Pyramid: Open Monday - Thursday 11:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. - 11:00 p.m., Saturday 11:30 a.m. - 11:00 p.m., Sunday 11:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.., 901 Gilman St

7. Sierra Nevada, Berkeley

The newest addition to Berkeley's happening 4th Street, The Torpedo Room at Sierra Nevada features rare, small-batch Sierra Nevada beers you won't find anywhere else among its 16 different taps. Grab a flight and the bartenders will be happy to walk you through what brought each beer to life, down to the barley kernels. Every Thursday they offer a special taste of a unique cask with local brewmasters from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m., and keep an eye on the calendar for more special events.  

Torpedo Room: Open Tuesday - Thursday 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m., Friday - Saturday 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., 2031 4th Street, Berkeley