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Discussing Berkeley's New Brews With The Great Minds At Fieldwork
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Discussing Berkeley's New Brews With The Great Minds At Fieldwork

Picture of Matthew Strebe
Updated: 30 November 2016
Don’t make the mistake of calling Alex Tweet the ‘brewmaster’ of Fieldwork Brewing Co in Berkeley. “I’m not a brewmaster,” the co-founder and co-owner intones. “There’s a lot of history in the title of Braumeister that I’m not a part of. I haven’t taken the classes, and I don’t have the certifications you need for that title in Germany. Just call me the ‘head brewer.’” Discover the dedication to quality brewing that lies behind this modest man at Berkeley’s up-and-coming craft brewery.
Alex Tweet at Fieldwork Brewing Co.| © Matthew Strebe
Alex Tweet at Fieldwork Brewing Co. | © Matthew Strebe

Tweet’s humility is as refreshing as a smooth summer lager, but it seems unwarranted given his stellar trajectory. A study in the sprezzatura of a true hipster artist, the tatted-up and ginger-bearded head brewer got his start by winning Ballast Point’s home brewing contest – with his sixth batch of beer. His luck continued when one of their brewers resigned the same day, and the brewery hired him a week later. He wasn’t born a maestro, however. “Alex spends a lot of time perfecting his craft,” says co-founder and co-owner Barry Bredan, whether through perfecting recipes over weeks or collaborating with other brewers as well as distillers.

That commitment to perfection certainly shows in the quality of his product. ‘Hugo,’ a French table beer named after one of the brewery’s dogs, is a light, crisp, and easy drinker, with plenty of good flavor that never grates on the palate. “A good beer is like Led Zeppelin’s ‘House of Holies’” Alex says. “You can listen to Zeppelin all day and never get sick of it.” Hannah, the other dog-in-residence at the brewery, gifted her name to a Belgian-style ‘Biere de Garde.’ With a dark hue and a crisp taste of subtle citrus and understated torched dates, this beer makes for a great pair to heavier foods.

Barry says of Alex that he is a truly “aroma-driven brewer,” and his obsession with the quality of a beer’s bouquet crystallizes in his collection of India Pale Ales (IPAs). The ‘Watershed’ has a bouquet of fruit with predominantly citrus notes, as well as a consistent undercurrent of potent hops and a heavy tropical nose. When drunk, it exudes a light hoppy taste that transitions into a crisp, slightly bitter hop finish. ‘Burning Daylight,’ his other IPA in the lineup, has a very thick aroma of mango followed by citrusy hops, making it one of Fieldwork’s most pleasant-smelling beers. Strong citrus in the nose develops into an equally strong grapefruit taste, maintained from beginning to end before ending with a dry finish.

Fieldwork Brewing Co.| © Matthew Strebe
Fieldwork Brewing Co. | © Matthew Strebe

Barry is proud of what his business partner has done, saying, “arguably, based on what Alex has been brewing, we’re one of the best new breweries in the world.” Yet while already operating at a very high level of quality, Alex and Barry are still not content with the business they’ve built. “We’re only as strong as our weakest beer,” Alex notes over a snifter of German beer. “[We have] a good opportunity to build something we’re proud of, and there’s a lot more room for growth,” Barry concurs.

The community response to Fieldwork has been fantastic according to Barry, and after four months in business they’re already making room for new brewing tanks. Though their current selection of food is limited to three choices of British-style pasties, there is room for growth here, too: Urban Adamah, an educational farm headquartered in Berkeley, recently bought a large plot of land right across the street from the brewery, and Barry noted the “definite opportunity for collaboration” between the two.

With delicious beer that will tantalize even the most discerning of palates, and a fantastic crew that keeps on churning out fantastic craft brews, Fieldwork is a true rising star in the Bay Area’s burgeoning craft brew scene. Visit them now before the lines stretch out the door.

Fieldwork Brewing Co., 1160 6th St Berkeley, CA, USA