Clandestine Brewing Company


San José’s Clandestine Brewing is a group effort. The area’s first nano-brewery and taproom took a year off to relocate, opening last February to a sigh of relief from local craft beer lovers. With five brewer-owners, the company has the ability to experiment with various styles and methodologies, giving visitors and long-time friends an ever-revolving opportunity to try something new alongside a stalwart pour. With some mild prodding, they gave us the backstory on the names behind some of their brews.

Brackalicious (Blackberry Gose): Brackalicious is a collaboration between Clandestine Brewing and Shanty Shack (out of Santa Cruz). A Gose is brewed with salt — the name of this beer alludes to this by playing on “brackish” water. And, if we don’t say so ourselves, it is quite delicious!

Passion Crime (IPA): The start to this was having a delicious POG-based (Passion fruit, Orange and Guava) IPA in Chicago (the specific brewery having been forgotten) over Christmas. It was added to the “beer ideas” notebook and put on the shelf. Months later inspiration struck after seeing a news story of a “passion crime,” and Passion Crime IPA was born. The name fit our theme given the use of passion fruit and the idea that, in some circles, it could be considered a crime to add fruit to a beer. We decided to add blood orange to complement the hops we were going to use. We have definitely decided that it isn’t a crime to put fruit in an IPA!

Hopothetical (Single Malt, Single Hop): Our “hopothetical” series of beers are all SMaSH (single malt, single hop) beers. These beers have the same malt base and highlight a single hop. Often this is a yet-to-be-named hop or a hop that hasn’t been used by Clandestine and so represents an experiment. Along those lines, the name “hopothetical” is a pun on the word “hypothetical.”

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Squatch Hunter (Black IPA): The name was inspired one night while flipping through television channels and briefly landing on Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot. The cryptozoological angle of Squatch, short for sasquatch, seemed appropriate for one of our beer names. Like its namesake, Squatch is dark and elusive. The use of debittered malts and copious amounts of hops gives it a rich, complex, yet balanced profile. Whether you call it a Black IPA, Cascadian Dark Ale, or India Black Ale, you certainly won’t mistake it for a stout as you order your second.

Too Many Secrets (Oat Pale Ale): Many of our beers have names that relate to government security or covert operations. We are Clandestine Brewing, after all. This Oat Pale Ale references the 1992 classic movie Sneakers. The plot revolves around a device that is the ultimate code breaker. The company behind it, Setec Astronomy, is an anagram of Too Many Secrets.
“So, it’s a code breaker.”
“No. It’s the code breaker. No more secrets …”

V (Vienna Lager): V is a Vienna Lager — a simple name for a beer with an interesting history. Vienna lagers all but disappeared from their European places of origin, being replaced by more popular lighter colored lagers (pilsners) or richer lagers (Märzen, Dunkel). However, the Vienna lager tradition lives on in Mexico to this day.

Wicked Brick (American Red Ale): Some names have origins going back to our days of being homebrewers; this beer is one of them. The impetus for the naming of this beer was AleSmith’s Evil Dead Red Ale that they make once a year around Halloween. We loved the beer and wanted to make one along the same lines without it being an exact copy.  The home brewed version was originally named Wicked Wasted Brick, but we shortened the name later to fit on our tap list board. It remains a tasty American Red Ale that has developed over the years as we’ve added more hops flavor and aroma. Through it all, we’ve managed to keeps its evil ABV at 6.66 percent!

Clandestine Brewing Company