Comstock’s Magazine : Brewed to the Core

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Kenny Hotchkiss co-owns the newly opened Capital Hop Shop on I Street. Photos: Ryan Angel Meza
Kenny Hotchkiss co-owns the newly opened Capital Hop Shop on I Street. photos: Ryan Angel Meza Photos: Ryan Angel Meza

By Daniel Barnes

Breweries and beer bars are migrating to the grid after years on the outskirts

When Glynn Phillips purchased Rubicon Brewing Company in 2005, it was one of only five breweries operating in the Sacramento area. Fast forward 12 tumultuous years and the total number of area breweries is approaching 60, with over a dozen new ones set to open later this year and in early 2018.

Still, even as Sacramento craft beer exploded, the scene on the central city’s grid was slower to evolve. New breweries began embracing the tasting room model over the Rubicon-style brewpub model, eschewing foot traffic concerns by opening in low-overhead industrial areas and nondescript business parks. Food trucks replaced kitchens, and doors that swing open were replaced by doors that roll up.

As for beer bars, a few key players raised the craft beer game on the grid — Midtown Biergarten, for example, which opened on K Street in 2014 — but most top performers chose to operate outside of downtown and Midtown. A long-running law against selling single bottles on the grid, originally intended to discourage drinking in public, ultimately discouraged businesses from duplicating the beer bar/bottle shop hybrid popularized by Pangaea, Final Gravity, and others.

But that tide is starting to turn, as local beer all-stars and upstarts alike are migrating back to the grid, while even out-of-town breweries such as Fieldwork and Anheuser InBev-owned Golden Road search for a slice of Sacramento’s muscular market share. The recent “cash flow”-related closure of Rubicon inspired apocalyptic talk about brewery oversaturation and a bursting “craft beer bubble,” so why are breweries and beer bars embracing the grid again? And how will they carve out a niche in an increasingly crowded marketplace?

Take Two

“This is the big show,” says Kenny Hotchkiss, co-owner of the newly opened Capital Hop Shop on the corner of 15th and me streets, a grid-based extension of the highly-respected Capitol Beer and Taproom. “There’s a high energy here.”

Hotchkiss and his life and business partner, Patti Aguirre, opened Capitol Beer and Taproom on Fair Oaks Boulevard in 2011, but they originally planned to set up shop on the grid. “We just couldn’t find a space, and nobody understood what we were trying to do back then,” he says.  Eventually, they found their current space in University Village and grew into one of Sacramento’s premier beer destinations. “I don’t know if we would have done as well here the first time,” Hotchkiss says. “It gave us the experience to come downtown with better quality.”

Capitol Beer and Taproom is known more for the uncompromisingly-curated tap lists than for the décor, but Capital Hop Shop raises the game in every way. Renovated from an old auto shop, the new location has twice as many taps, a more spacious outlay, and a full food menu. Even the hand-drawn chalkboard tap lists are gone, replaced by sleek and modern digital displays.

 

Read the rest of the article here: comstocksmag.com

Eater SF : The 13 Hottest New Restaurants in Sacramento Right Now, Fall 2017

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Where to eat right now

Last quarter was slow for new restaurant openings in the Sacramento core, with only four joining the scene. The most excitement was generated from the recent opening Canon as a favorite chef, who earned recognition while away, has returned to a neighborhood long ignored. Meanwhile, a rising powerhouse team is getting a lot of praise for their third venue, Ten Ten Room, and a pop of pink brings life to K Street.

Here are the 13 buzziest restaurants in town, from casual bakeries and pizza spots to tiki-themed downtown bars.

Read the rest of the article here: sf.eater.com

Sac Bee : This popular Sacramento tap room is about to open a downtown outpost

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Ken
Ken Hotchkiss, owner of Capital Beer and Tap Room, said his new Capital Hop Shop at 15th and I streets should open in “the next couple of weeks.”

By Carla Meyer

Capital Hop Shop – a new downtown Sacramento beer bar from the owners of Capitol Beer and Tap Room on Fair Oaks Boulevard – is close to opening.

“We are shooting for the next couple of weeks,” said Capitol Beer and Tap Room co-owner Ken Hotchkiss. Outside signage already has been painted on the building at 15th and I streets that previously was home to an auto shop. Unlike Capitol Beer and Tap Room – often shortened to “Cap Tap” by its many devotees – Hop Shop will serve food.

Hotchkiss said the new place will serve “gastropub food” such as chicken wings and meat-and-cheese plates. “Stuff that pairs well with beer.”

This location will not have a bottle shop like the original but will have twice as many taps – or 40 total. Like Capitol Beer and Tap Room, the new spot will feature “an ever-rotating list” of beers, Hotchkiss said.

Capitol Beer and Tap Room is known for its interesting, constantly changing selection of beers from the Sacramento region and beyond. Tuesday’s tap list included offerings from Track 7, New Glory, Sudwerk and Mraz, along with the homage-paying “Kenny M’Fn Hotchkiss” tropical IPA from Rancho Cordova’s Claimstake Brewing.

Read the rest of the article here: sacbee.com

Sac Bee: From tile contractor to tastemaker, Capitol Beer owner living the dream

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By Blair Anthony Robertson

Let’s say you’ve got beer-connoisseur friends visiting from San Francisco or London or Berlin or Brussels, and they ask if there’s a good place in Sacramento to go for a pint.

If you send them to Capitol Beer and Tap Room, you won’t have to worry that Sacramento is going to come up short when it comes to great beer bars. Hidden in the back of a busy strip mall at Fair Oaks Boulevard and Howe Avenue, CapTap, as it is known to regulars, promises a world-class tasting experience seven days a week.

More than likely, your pals will encounter multiple beers they never have tasted or even heard of, and they will engage with like-minded beer lovers working their way through an ever-changing tap list that is closely followed and much-discussed.

A sample platter of pilsner, pale ale, ipa, and stout are ready to be picked up at the Capitol Beer & Taproom , on February 16, 2016, known as one of the best places to find exciting and ever-changing beer lists in Sacramento. Jose Luis Villegas jvillegas@sacbee.com
A sample platter of pilsner, pale ale, ipa, and stout are ready to be picked up at the Capitol Beer & Taproom , on February 16, 2016, known as one of the best places to find exciting and ever-changing beer lists in Sacramento. Photo credit: Jose Luis Villegas jvillegas@sacbee.com

“Capitol Beer has pretty much become the beer geek spot in Sacramento.”

Owned by Ken Hotchkiss and his life partner, Patti Aguirre, Capitol Beer has become a major force in the local craft beer industry, attracting serious connoisseurs and newcomers alike. The bar is so influential these days that it can help launch a new brewery’s reputation; if you can’t find a fledgling beer there during multiple visits, it probably means it’s not ready for prime time.

“It’s safe to say (Hotchkiss) is really one of the guys who sets the bar, and he set it very high,” said Ken Anthony, owner/brewmaster at Device Brewing, who has made Capitol Beer’s anniversary beer the past two years.

“Capitol Beer has pretty much become the beer geek spot in Sacramento,” said Dave Prillwitz, who has tasted and reviewed 8,300-plus beers on RateBeer, the popular website and phone app for beer fans.

Hotchkiss and Aguirre opened the business in the summer of 2012 with big ideas but a shoestring budget. All of the equipment and furnishings were bought second-hand, and the setting in those early days was admittedly sterile. But word spread that this place was serious about its beer.

Read the full article here: sacbee.com