From the open air bar at Laughing Monk, you can sip a glass of Golden Ale in the sun as you look out over a sea of murals that stretch down nearly the entire block. The murals are just one of many good deeds the crew of Laughing Monk has made possible in their first year of existence.
The staff call each other "brother" and "sister" following the tradition of the monastic brewers who inspired their Belgian-style beer and community service, while the street art, Giants hats and IPAs on tap show their California pride. Laughing Monk Brewing continues to bring creative beer, public art and local festivals to the Bayview.
Founder, Andrew Casteel and head brewer Jeff Moakler combined their shared passion for home-brewing and love of Belgian beers to create a tap list that blends Belgian and Californian brewing traditions with local, seasonal ingredients. The Bayview Gold, for example, is a Belgian Golden Ale brewed with chamomile grown in Bayview Community Gardens.
While you will always find Belgian standards such as the Evening Vespers Dubbel and Third Circle Tripel on tap, the rest of Laughing Monk's 16 taps change constantly. There's a new IPA monthly, ranging from classic West Coast to new hazy Vermont styles. With home-brewers at the helm, there's also a healthy dose of fun as well as innovative beers, including the popular Coffee and Cream Ale, (it tastes like it sounds) and Wafel Frolic (a Tripel brewed with maple syrup).
But Laughing Monk is about more than just beer. Andrew cofounded Imprint City with local community organizer Tyra Fennell to support Bayview artists. Last October, they held the first annual Bayview Live on Egbert Street, where all the murals you can see from the brewery were painted at a day-long concert headlined by Jidenna. The next event, on October 21st, will bring even more art and music to the block.
Bayview First Friday (BFF) parties are the best times to visit the brewery as locals pack the place for karaoke and live music on the first Friday of every month. Or, every third Thursday of every month, check out the Raise a Glass fundraisers, with food trucks and live entertainment; $2 per beer will be donated to local nonprofits. There are also food trucks every Friday and Saturday, as well as yoga and beer on Sunday mornings.
The brewery recently completed an expansion to the brewery that includes a bottling line. Look for their Devil's Hoard Imperial Belgian Stout to be released this winter. // 1439A Egbert Ave. (Bayview), laughingmonkbrewing.com