In 1989, Northern California was leading the charge in the original era of the American micro-brewing movement. Early that year Drake’s founder Roger Lind, a former brewer at one of the nation’s first brewpubs Triple Rock Brewing in Berkeley, made the trip down to industrial San Leandro with the Triple Rock owner John Martin to check out a warehouse space for a new brewery.
They agreed, this former powerhouse of a Caterpillar manufacturing plant seemed like the perfect spot to scrape together Lind’s pioneering new draft-only production brewery. Lind put together a humble assortment of equipment including two stainless steel dairy tanks, a 15 bbl boil kettle, one fermenter, and a handful of British pub cellar tanks or “Grundy tanks” and starting making English-style ales. A bit of a privateer himself in this new and seemingly crazy idea to open a small production brewery, Lind decided to name his “Lind Brewing Company” beers after the English privateer Sir Francis Drake.
And so the journey began. Lind would brew the beer, keg it, do the books, deliver the kegs, schmooze with beer folks, and get ready to do it again the next day. Then, every Friday, he’d invite his friends over for some beers and a BBQ in the parking lot by the brewery office. These Friday BBQ’s eventually became the heart and soul of the operation, as friends and the local community stopped by to hang out, drink some fresh local beers, and often give their opinions freely about all things beer related. Eventually this tradition inspired Drake’s First Friday fundraisers every month as a way to give back to the community that has been stopping by and supporting since the beginning.
Over the years, the beers naturally moved from their roots in the English-style to being true West Coast style ales with an abundance of fresh Pacific Northwest hops, top quality malt, and a neutral California Ale yeast strain that allows the flavors and aromas of the top quality malts and hops to shine through and gives the beer a clean, dry finish. The people loved it all, and their increasing thirsts helped Drake’s to grow tank by tank.
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