There’s not a lot happening in downtown San Jose. Unfortunately it seems like more venues are closing up shop than opening. Even with the “uprising” of the “art district” SoFa — there’s nary a decent place to hang out for any significant amount of time. But bumming around the desolate downtown, I came across a glimmer of hope on First Street when I saw that construction is nearly completed on a new pub, Uproar Brewing.

The project is the brainchild of husband and wife brewers Mike and Michele Willaford who hail from far off Minnesota. Don’t ask me how they ended up here, I really don’t know their personal story. When I walked by, I couldn’t help but peak in the window to see what was going on. It was Steve Vandewater who poked his head out the door and asked, “You got a second to look around?”

Steve Vandewater hanging out with his wine-turned-beer barrels

The theme is beer through and through — combination copper and wood (two elements used in beer making) tables take up the front portion of the venue, a long bar sits across from the commercial kitchen in the center, and in the back are the tanks and barrels where the beer magic takes place.

The goal, Steve says, is to focus on house made and local beers. “We won’t sell anything made more than 50 miles from here,” he told me. The kitchen, currently in taste-test mode, will have a full menu dedicated to beer-pairing.

Not much of a beer drinker myself, Steve was able to explain the process of both making and drinking beer to me in a way I actually understood — comparing it to wine. The guy is passionate about his project for sure — but more importantly he’s personable, willing and able to teach people about his product and what makes it so special. If his attitude is representative of the rest of the Uproar team, then San Jose, we’re in for a treat.

I find the best establishments are the ones where you can belly up to the bar and chat it up with the owner, winemaker, mixologist, or whatever. But if you’re not into that, there’s plenty of space to call your own. Uproar is slated to hold at least 175 guests. Be fore-warned, those of you who are completely anti-social, the seating is arranged to invite a communal environment. Read: tables are long and may include more than just your party.

Steve did let me taste through some of his beers, and I have to say that the intricacy of flavor balance is comparable to some of the most enjoyable I’ve experienced. I’m looking forward to when Uproar officially opens and hanging out with Steve again. I have so much to learn…

More Info: Like their venue, the Uproar website is still under construction, but you can follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Steve’s looking forward to an official opening sometime this April 2017.


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5 comments on “Sneak Peek: Uproar Brewing Company, Downtown San Jose”

    • Hey Reggie! Even Steve didn’t have a hard date set. In his words “he’s hoping in 3-4 weeks.” My best guess is end of April or early May. Will keep you posted!

    • Last time I was downtown, it was still T/K. I heard through the grapevine they’re having trouble finalizing their permits. Will update the post when it’s open. Cheers!

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