For most beer aficionados on the West Coast, hearing the name J Wakefield doesn’t set off any alarms. You generally have to be a serious beer nerd to be excited to hear that name on this side of the country. It is probably akin to someone on the East Coast hearing Alvarado Street Brewing and asking “Who are they?”
But when I saw that Humble Sea Brewing was doing a tap takeover with J Wakefield Brewing my ears perked up. At first I thought, “I know that name,” and somewhere in the back of my mind the word Florida popped up. Miami, to be exact. And to be clear, they are seriously respected in their neck of the woods.
Originally planned as a double tap takeover for SF Beer Week featuring both Other Half, from Brooklyn, and J Wakefield, it became clear that having them both on tap at the same time would be a bit of a madhouse. It was decided to split the tap takeover into two events, with Other Half taking place the last Friday of Beer Week and J Wakefield a week later on February 21st.
I arrived promptly at noon when Humble Sea opened and saw there was already a line out the door. Whether that was J Wakefield fans or the regular Friday noon crowd is debatable, but there were certainly a number of people there who were focused on the J Wakefield tap takeover.
Jonathan Wakefield has made a name for himself by creating beers that are outside the box. The brewery focuses on flavorful stouts and heavily fruited sours. On tap at Humble Sea was a handful of both and one Hazy IPA to satisfy the Hazy crowd. I saw patrons with trays of taster glasses either completely filled with dark stouts or with brightly colored sours.
Not being a huge stout fan myself, I quite enjoyed the fruited sours and Berliner Weisse. The stouts were great as well, but possibly a bit too sweet for my palate.
The relationship between Humble Sea and J Wakefield came about through mutual friends in the brewing industry, and while the guys from Humble Sea were in Florida for a beer event they did a collaboration with J Wakefield and brewed a fruited Berliner Weisse. Head brewer and co-owner Nick Pavlina thought the tap takeover would be a great idea for an event during SF Beer Week and could create a lot of excitement around East Coast breweries. Taylor West, Humble Sea co-owner and taproom manager, being true to their name of being humble, spoke of their high regard for these two breweries, Other Half and J Wakefield, and how thrilled they were to be able to offer these beers that are extremely rare to find on the West Coast.
These kinds of events can help expand the appreciation of beer across the wide expanse of our country. Although we are extremely lucky with the bountiful quality beer selection available to us here in the Bay Area, we shouldn’t ignore the amazing beer being produced far and wide across the United States. Events like this allow us to appreciate the remarkable offerings of quality beer available throughout the states.
Want to stay up to date on the latest videos released by Bay Area Beers?
Join our mail list.