Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Fairfax Brewfest Kicks Off Bay Area Beer Festival Season

By asoglin
Monday, March 16th, 2009 at 2:19 pm in what's on tap.

Beer blogger Jay Brooks attended the Fairfax Brewfest over the weekend, where Rodger Davis, the brewer at Triple Rock Brewery in Berkeley, announced a new beer called “Bill Brand Brown.” Look for a series of guest posts this week, as we continue to explore possibilities for the future of “What’s On Tap.”

On Saturday, the 14th annual Fairfax Brewfest took place in the beautifully rustic Fairfax Pavilion, an old wooden building painted red with white trim. Inside the cavernous community center, thirteen local breweries were serving their beer, along with several food vendors. Music by the Gas Men, a traditional Irish band, filled the hall, fitting since St. Patrick’s Day was the theme. A large crowd of festival goers enjoyed the crisp, sunny day and many used the opportunity to dress up in their greenery to celebrate the holiday, especially the many young adults on hand to enjoy some craft beer.


One of the more special beers at the festival was Bill Brand Brown,
from Triple Rock Brewery in Berkeley. Brewmaster Rodger Davis had just finished mashing-in his Dragon’s Milk the morning of February 20, when he learned that Bottoms Up columnist Bill Brand had passed away the previous night.

Dragon’s Milk is Triple Rock’s year-round brown ale, one of their
most popular beers, and immediately upon hearing the news, Davis decided to rename the beer in Brand’s honor. It’s on draft now at the brewpub, with a tap handle featuring Bill Brand’s now iconic photo raising a toast. Davis believes the current batch of Bill Brand Brown will be on tap another 7-10 days before running out. Stop by and pay your respects by hoisting a pint. But you better hurry, as Davis warns, “it won’t last much longer. It’s selling pretty fast.”


Iron Springs Pub & Brewery, as the hometown festival brewery, played host to the event. Being traditionally the first beer festival of spring, or nearly spring, the Fairfax Brewfest essentially kicks off beer festival season in the Bay Area. Kazakoff, who’s been working the festival for several years, believes it’s a great way to start the year. “Everybody goes home happy, everybody runs out of beer, and everybody gets to see the other side of Marin County.” And best of all, the crowd seemed particularly sophisticated and embraced craft beer. “No one asked for a green beer.” Kazakoff offered as evidence, with a smile.


Triple Rock’s Rodger Davis with Christian Kazakoff, brewmaster at Iron Springs Pub & Brewery, at the Fairfax Brewfest Saturday.

— Jay Brooks

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  • Richard

    Glad you enjoyed yourself. In addition to the Bill Brand brew I especially enjoyed the offerings from the new Napa Smith Brewery. I think it was a red ale that especially impressed me with nuanced layers of rich flavors. Also as the producer of the event I am always in tune to the crowd and even though the Brewfest is “rite of spring” bash for many young people this year we had a few more real beer aficionados, especially early in the day.
    Richard Pedemonte
    Brewfesr Producer

  • Alan Moen

    I’m sorry I won’t be able to taste the Bill Brand Brown, but I think it would be a good idea to brew a beer in his honor every year at this festival. Maybe it could be a collaborative beer, with many brewers participating, like Bert’s Legendary Ale, made each year for the annual Washington Cask Festival to honor the late Bert Grant.

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