At a recent Saturday East Brother Beer Co. tasting at Cordial Bottle Shop in San Leandro, one group of tasters held the Bo Pils as ‘worthy.’ Others touted the Red Lager and Red IPA. It is hard to distinguish yourself in the crowded craft beer market these days, but this new beer company keeps it simple and sticks to the classics. Partners and friends, Rob Lightner & Chris Coomber have been making beer their entire adult lives and a few years ago decided to pour their knowledge and enthusiasm into their own brewery and taproom in Richmond.
Why did Richmond call out to them? “We only looked in Richmond,” says Chris, “because both Rob and I have roots here. It is centrally located, near where we live and has the right vibe. People working here contribute to that vibe. Making beer is hard work. The labor in this town is an important part of the history in Richmond – from the shipyards to the port to the oil industry. My grandfather worked at Chevron for 40 years and he was proud of Chevron and of Richmond. We decided on Richmond even before we went out looking for the right space.”
What was it about Richmond? “We felt so welcomed here,” continues Chris. “Richmond is real and made us feel really welcome. It was easy.” Their beers are straight, easy beers in the classic style. And fitting into the Richmond ambience, the taproom is welcoming, simple and comfortable. “We are really happy,” comments Rob, “to be part of the slow but sure revitalization of Richmond – to be part of the energy here.” And Richmond is happy to have them.
“As a resident I am absolutely excited to have a taproom like this in Richmond that we can go to,” says Chad Smalley, Richmond resident. “I have been waiting for a place like this since I’ve been living here – for ten years.” Rob and Chris are pleased with the taproom visitors as they are people from all walks of life who come in to have a beer, listen to music, watch the game and have a bite to eat with their family and friends. The casual atmosphere inspires the vibe. They are family-friendly and dogs on leash are welcome! “We wanted to have a welcoming place for folks to come to and have welcoming and familiar beers to drink,” continues Rob.
The beer. Good Beer Hunting (their design company) said that when they sat down to talk about East Brother’s image they asked about the beers and breweries that inspired them “… there was a common element — timelessness, and a commitment to precision.” There is a lot of experimentation and innovation out there in the craft beer market. “We are not trying to do anything fancy,” says Rob. ” We are crafting well known traditional styles. We’re doing the same thing over and over again – striving for perfection. We want to have a diversity of lagers and ales.”
Chris thinks people are always looking for that clean aftertaste that makes you want to take another sip. EB is currently brewing five beers – Red Lager, Pale Wheat, Oatmeal Stout, Red IPA and Bo Pils. You can read more about the style of these beers here.
Today the Can Van, a woman-owned mobile canning service, arrived to set up operations to can EB’s Red IPA. They canned 2,640 beers or 110 cases, which was a lot for this new brewery. Breweries have returned to canning for several reasons according to Chris. Cans are better at protecting the beer from light and oxygen. The liners in cans have improved and there is no metallic taste. Though it currently is more expensive than bottling, you only have one item to recycle and you can just smash the can. Plus, you don’t need a bottle opener. Another plus is that aluminum keeps the beer cooler.
What’s there to eat?
Food trucks are at the taproom Wed. – Sun. On Thursdays Curbside Kitchen is there serving up Gourmet Filipino-American grub. Full menu here.
- Wed. & Thurs. 4-8pm
- Fri. 4-9pm
- Sat. noon – 9pm
- Sun. noon-8pm
Where you can find East Brother Beer Co. beer:
- Albany Taproom — 745 San Pablo Ave, Albany
- Boo Koo — 25 Miller Ave, Mill Valley
- Cordial Bottle Shop — 1111 MacArthur Blvd, San Leandro
- El Cerrito Natural Grocery — 10367 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito
- Estudillo Produce — 1305 MacArthur Blvd, San Leandro
- Last Spot Lounge — 1 Tewksbury Ave, Point Richmond
- Little Hill Lounge — 10753 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito
- Mill Valley Market — 12 Corte Madera Ave, Mill Valley
- Northbrae Bottle Shop — 1590 Hopkins St, Berkeley
- Pt Richmond Market — 160 Washington Ave, Richmond
- Salute E Vita Ristorante — 1900 Esplanade Dr, Richmond
- Smoke — 2434 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley
- The Good Hop — 2421 Telegraph Ave, Oakland
- Up & Under — 2 West Richmond Ave, Point Richmond
- Zee’s Deli Wine & Spirits — 913 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Kentfield
East Brother Beer Co. is located at 1001 Canal Blvd in Richmond. (510)-230-4081. Location tip: When you see the first 1001 sign – note the arrow sending you straight. Follow the signs past 1015 and turn right, following the 1001 signs with arrows into the parking lot and follow the lights to the front door. Enjoy!