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Santino LaGamba in front of the soon to be Torpedo Room

Santino LaGamba in front of the soon to be Torpedo Room

What holds 45 craft beer drinkers, serves only 4 oz flights and growlers to go, and is the only off brewery outpost for craft beer champion Sierra Nevada? Well, the answer is under construction right now in Berkeley California – the “Topedo Room” scheduled for a grand opening on November 15th – simultaneously with the opening of Sierra’s new Ashville NC east cost brewing facility.

I got a sneak peak the other day with a brief tour of the place under construction with “Torpedo Room Supervisor” Santino LaGamba (an Upper Darby Pa. native as it turned out!). Santino is justly excited at the prospect of piloting “The Torpedo” – Sierra’s first attempt to branch out the franchise directly to the craft beer public. (In case you didn’t know “Torpedo” refers to Sierra’s innovative dry hopping tanks developed by them – which are shaped kinda like the ordinance.)

Santino pointed to the short concrete wall-like shape that dominates the evolving site – “This will be the 37 foot bar – there is one 27 foot slab of specially cut walnut coming in soon to fit it…the look will be clean and honest, a little industrial.”

“Here we are going to really focus on education and the science of beer – with educators and various luminaries coming to share their beer knowledge…Charlie Bamforth of UC Davis and others will be here, along with special beer tasting events”.

“We did a lot of research – checking out taprooms and brewery sites, yeah it was tough work” – Santino smiled. “Our tap room isn’t inspired by any particular other place, but we tried to blend a lot of other’s ideas”.

What is different is that they will not sell pints of their beer here, only 4 oz flights, growler fills to go, and some packaged releases. Perhaps light snack fare but no serious food.

Why Berkeley for the first? “Well” Santino explained “Berkeley is a craft mecca – beer, food, and the area was very supportive of Ken when he started out in the ’80’s… Besides, there are going to be three other breweries in this area – along with the existing Pyramid Brewpub and Trummer Brewery, a new brewery “Rare Barrel” (already brewing) should be opening soon. So, this will be a real craft beer destination”.

Coming to 4th St. Berkeley, Sierra Nevada beer and science

Coming to 4th St. Berkeley, Sierra Nevada beer and science

The tap room “soft opening” is scheduled for November 1, with the grand opening on November 15 – the day of the christening of the NC brewery. “It’s also the day the Sierra Pale was first brewed” Santino remarked. Who knewn (outside of Chico) 11/15 was such a remarkable craft beer date?

I look forward to imbibing in some special Sierra releases and sharing beer knowledge with like minded BeerAppreciators soon, at the Torpedo, I am sure it will blow you away.


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