The latest chapter in our Brewery Profile series spotlights one of the West Coast’s most exciting and unique breweries over the past five years, Fieldwork Brewing, based in Berkeley, California. Known for their highly aromatic and well-balanced beers, they’ve created a model all their own, driven by the desire to bring fresh, unique beers to those who crave it, all set in a family and pet-friendly environment.
The brewery, established in 2014, was co-founded and is co-owned by Barry Braden, a former tech-industry executive, and Head Brewer Alex Tweet. The latter started his professional brewing career at Ballast Point Brewing after winning a home brew competition for his Indra Kunindra Spiced Export Stout. Then, as one of the original brewers at Modern Times Beer, Alex honed the concept of more tropical fruit forward IPAs, as opposed to the piney & bitter aspects traditionally associated with San Diego’s West Coast IPAs. This ethos came to define Fieldwork’s preference for a well-crafted, flavor-focused spectrum of brews, that continuously rotate, as well as defy convention and niche definitions.
During an interview with Forbes (Sep 2019), Braden describes how the name Fieldwork came about. “Originally, Fieldwork was about the process of being great, of doing the research, of getting out there and experiencing food, wine, and other people’s beers. That’s Fieldwork — going after the flavors and goals that you’re looking for.” And have they ever gone after it… opening 7 locations and brewing over 500 different beers in only 5 years.
Opening their West Berkeley brewery taproom in February of 2015, success and high demand for their offerings came quickly. Before long, Fieldwork opened their Sacramento location in August of 2016, chosen because of the town’s appetite for local beer and food. Next came the Napa location, in the OxBow Public Market, opening just two months latter. Then two more beer garden taprooms opened back-to-back with San Mateo in June and Monterey in July of 2017. Their sixth location opened at San Ramon’s City Center Bishop Ranch in November of 2018 and their most recent location, Corte Madera, at the Corte Madera Town Center, in early 2020.
The impetus for moving into these specific locations was to find communities where fresh, quality beer is harder to come by, yet in high demand. At the same time, all 7 locations are within 200 miles of Berkeley, enabling a steady, fresh supply from their sole brew house.
Avoiding the traditional distribution model, Fieldwork has created gathering spaces that allow for a steady eye on quality control, but also an immediate dialogue between employee and customer. Each week, they’re likely to release 1-4 new beers, all of which have a thorough description that can be found in 3-ring binders. Each details the ingredients, flavor profiles and any other specs deemed pertinent to inform and educate both the staff and the customer on what each creation is all about.
Over the past year and a half, Day One Distribution has found itself lucky enough to bring a steady stream of fresh Fieldwork kegs into Oregon. Having built a trusted relationship with them, we’re excited to announce the arrival of four Fieldwork Brewing cans, distributed for the first time outside of California!
In addition to three different draft offerings (Boss of the Plains – West Coast IPA, Dusselheim – German Pilsner, and Logic Gate – IPA), Fieldwork has shipped to Oregon Dreaming in Neon – IPA, Finer Things – Mosaic Dry-Hopped Light Lager, Tahitian Blue – DIPA, and Owl Theory – Czech Dark Lager (Counterclock-wise above), all in 16 oz cans. These four canned offerings are extremely limited, so be on the lookout for them at only the finest bottle shops!