Chris Dunstan, Head Brewer — Drake's Brewing Company
“I started home brewing [in college] — it was a time when I was learning to cook a lot and I took it as an extension of cooking...”

In Episode 36, we meet Drake's Brewing Company Head Brewer Chris Dunstan, who shares the story behind the first commercial craft brewery that’s ever appeared on Menu Stories. The history of craft beer is a relatively new one — as early as the 70s, no one really thought of American beer as anything other than lager. With the legalization of home brewing, new doors were opened in the beverage industry and spurned new ownership of Anchor Steam Brewing Company, the launch of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, and, soon after, the East Bay’s Drake’s Brewing Company. Before long, the landscape of American beer changed forever.

Dunstan, like many of the brewers who opened some of these now-well-known commercial beer producers, started experimenting with home brewing and fell in love with the process of craft brewing. After learning the ropes at a number of California breweries, Dunstan took a job as Morning Brewer at Drake's Brewing Company in San Leandro and eventually became Head Brewer. Listen to the episode to hear his story, learn about the history of Northern California's beer world, and get the inside scoop on how the cult favorite double IPA, Drake's Denogginizer, got its name.

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The assortment of beer at Drake's spans from the now-traditional IPA to stouts and blondes. Drake's Brewing Company is based in San Leandro and offers an onsite taproom with Drake's Barrel House Chris Dunstan hangs out at Drake's Barrel House Chris Dunstan shows us the barley grain used in the Drake's Brewing process
A brewery pup says hello to the Menu Stories team  'Can someone feed me some beer please?'
Malted barley from Germany kicks off the brewing process Dunstan holds the hops that are integral to the beer making at Drake's The hops are soft enough to crush in your hands
Freshly poured beer straight from the bottling room The barrels that line Drake's Brewing Company manufacturing line - some of the beers are aged in wood barrels to add flavor
Brewery equipment is sterilized The Brew Log tracks the daily brewing operations Head Brewer Chris Dunstan enjoys a beer while reviewing the brew log The manufacturing process takes place in a large warehouse in San Leandro Drake's freshly bottled Denogginizer Double IPA awaits shipment out to retailers in Northern California and beyond The bottling process at Drake's Brewing Company is reminscent of Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory
Brewery workers check the bottling process  Empty bottles kick off the initial bottling line
The brown bottles glisten in the light  Freshly labeled, Drake's IPA bottles prepare to get cleaned and filled with freshly brewed beer  Head Brewer Christ Dunstan pulls a Drake's IPA bottle out of the line to inspect it  Plenty of beer on tap at Drake's Barrel House A flight of beers for tasting is served One of the Barrel House team members throws in some decorations to style our shoot   Though Chris Dunstan takes pride in Drake's and the East Bay Spirit being 'gritty not pretty', we appreciate the beauty of a clean IPA. Head Brewer Chris Dunstan at Drake's Barrel House Drake's Brewing Company's Barrel House has become an East Bay favorite gathering space to enjoy local craft beer

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