Oakland's Beer Revolution, located at 435 3rd Street @ Broadway down by Jack London Square, is all about beer, boasting a mind boggling choice of over 500 different brews, mostly bottled but also on tap.
But Beer Revolution, which is owned and operated by the lifelong punk rock husband & wife team of Fraggle (born Mark Martone) and Rebecca Boyles, is also all about celebrating music -- namely punk rock with an emphasis on 80's punk (especially West Coast punk), all of which acts as the perfect soundtrack to this one-of-a-kind beer tasting emporium.
"Music is very important to us and it's been a predominant part of both my husband's and my life forever, really," Rebecca told me. "I've been very much involved in the punk rock scene for pretty much my whole life and so has Fraggle. It's a part of our lives so we made it a part of our business too." Fraggle, whose passionate punk past includes putting in years as one of the crew of volunteers at 924 Gilman Street Project, confided to me, "It was at an MDC show that myself and Rebecca met."
Not surprisingly then, the legendary Austin, TX formed / SF based punk band MDC (Millions of Dead Cops) is a regular on the Beer Revolution's playlist. Other artists that you'll likely hear being blasted from the in-house sound system include Minor Threat, Fear, 7 Seconds, Operation Ivy (Fraggle was once roommates with the band's Tim Armstrong), GBH, Stiff Little Fingers, The Adolescents, D.I., Social Distortion, and La Plebe (one of the newer punk acts that Fraggle is into).
For July 4th Fraggle and Rebecca made a point of playing strictly British punk music that nicely matched the selection of British beers amongst the vast rotating selection available.
Last Sunday, in celebration of All Hallows Eve, regulars congregated in costume to sip from an all new tap list that included Saint Louis Gueze, Saint Feuillien Triple, Saint Bernarus Prior 8, A.V. Brother David's Dubbel,, Lost Abbey Angel's Share, Weissenohe Monks Fest, Achilles Serafin Angel Judgment Day, Shmatlz Origin, Shmaltz Messiah, and Saint Peter's English ale. It is Beer Revolution's ever-changing (and typically never repeated), always surprising array of beers that grabs peoples' attention and keeps them coming back for more.
Much of Beer Revolution's success can be credited to the positive word of mouth it receives, but some could be also be attributed to the glowing review it received in the New York Times back in late May, something that is considered both a blessing and a curse by both regulars and the owners (see Amoeblog video interview with Rebecca below).
For a business that only opened earlier this year, Beer Revolution has firmly cemented itself in the community. It regularly holds beer or music themed events and provides its swelling customer base with a home away from home. Stopping by on any afternoon or evening you feel like you are in a spot that has been there for years, not just a matter months.
With an unmatched sampling of Cali/West Coast microbreweries plus beers from countless other far flung locations -- and all priced at a modest markup -- Beer Revolution is foremost a beer store for take out sales. But it's also like a bar with limited hours (only open until 10pm on Sun, Tues, Weds, Thurs and 11pm on Saturday + Sunday), where it charges $1 corkage fee to drink a bottle on the premises, either inside or on the spacious outside patio with nice wide picnic tables (perfect on a warm summer evening). The knowledgeable and friendly Fraggle and Rebecca, both vegans, encourage customers who stay to sip a beer on the premises to order food from Souley Vegan right next door (who will even deliver) and the other take out eateries in the immediate downtown Oakland neighborhood including Everett & Jones Barbeque, Nations Giant Hamburgers, and O My Dawg.
One of BR's many regulars is self described "West Coast hop head" Timothy Devlin (seen in photo left drinking a double IPA), who told me, "First time I walked into Beer Revolution I felt at home right away. All the elements come together. It's not a bar at all, like some bars that have a beer and wine only liquor license. Beer Revolution is a beer store and tasting room. It has different license, smaller glasses and shorter hours. I affectionately refer to it as a punk rock beer bar. All the other places are about Belgian beers but I can get every beer I want here."
Like other regulars, Devlin is attracted to the relaxed vibe of the place and the fact that he can learn about beer. "The events they hold there are wonderful. They bring the community together and you don't get the typical beer snob pretentiousness there," he said. This afternoon (Sunday, November 7th) at 1pm they kick off the first installment of Sunday Beer Skool With Jen Muehlbauer of The Berkeley Craft Beer Examiner. Sunday's opening class will be on the subject of stouts & porters.
For info on other upcoming events plus their new beer listings check the Beer Revolution FaceBook page where Fraggle sometimes posts beer vlogs (see example below) and/or their website. Beer Revolution is located at 435 3rd Street, Oakland, CA 94607 (between Washington & Broadway in the Jack London Square district. Hours: Sun, Tues, Weds, Thurs noon to 10pm. Fri & Sat noon to 11pm. Phone 510) 452-2337. And click on this link to read about other Oakland spots in The Town Amoeblog series.
Beer Revolution's Rebecca's Amoeblog Interview (2010)
Fraggle's Beer Blog