Camino Brewing Co: A Worthy Brewery on the Road to Greatness

January 19, 2020 in Beer Reviews, California, Travel - 9 Comments
Camino Brewing Co Imperial Stout beer

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A good beer is a pleasure to drink. But a great beer takes you places. That’s why you should visit Camino Brewing Co when you’re in San Jose, California.

I stopped by Camino Brewing on a recent trip to San Jose and was so glad I did.

My only regret, not staying longer.

When traveling, I try to find time to visit the local breweries as I’ve done in ViennaDenver, PleasantonBellingham, Tualatin Valley, and Costa Mesa. And these are just the ones I’ve written about.

Yes, I’m from San Diego and we have a gazillion breweries.

Okay. Okay. Maybe a gazillion is an exaggeration. We have 155 breweries in San Diego county.

So why would I want to visit other breweries while traveling?

One word: beer.

As a wine lover (oenophile) seeks out wine destinations, I (and other cerevisaphiles) seek out beer destinations.

Beer plays a role in where I’m going to travel as does food, wine, spirits, and activities.

One of the best things about beer. It’s a unifier.

As Camino Brewing Co puts it, “beer brings strangers together.”

How to Get to Camino Brewing Co

Camino Brewing Co front of brewery facing the street
Big windows allow for lots of natural light into the brewery

Camino Brewing Co is on 1st Street right off Interstate 280 and a few blocks from Interstate 87.

It’s easy to get to but parking is an issue.

Parking at Camino Brewing Co

You should Uber or Lyft to the brewery because of limited parking. 

Remember to use your Amex Platinum Uber credits or your Chase Sapphire Reserve Lyft credits.

I arrived at about 1 pm on a Saturday and got lucky, scoring a spot in front of the brewery.

Coming as a solo female? I’d wouldn’t recommend driving here at night.

The area is pretty sketchy. There’s a homeless camp across the street and it’s not the safest area for a girl to walk around at night.

Camino Brewing Co: A Worthy Brewery on the Road to Greatness

Camino Brewing Company’s founders Nathan Poulos and Allen Korenstein envisioned the brewery while biking the Camino de Santiago trail.

It’s no surprise that they established the brewery is near the El Camino Real marker along The Alameda in San Jose.

The brewery has a cool but cozy industrial vibe with lots of seating.

brewery interior, steel chairs and wood table
Shared seating with room to spread out

Metal framed with wood seats bar stools look stiff and rigid but are surprisingly comfortable.

The concrete counters topped with thin sheets of teal gray metal give a hint of color and warmth.

Beertender pouring The Ferryman

Their beers pay homage to the trail and San Jose area. With 10 beers on tap, including several of the pale ale variety, there’s a style for everyone.

Camino Brewing Co tap list (beer menu)
What’s on tap list

All core beers except the Grapefruit Pale Ale are available in a 16 ounce can, crowler, or growler.

Pro-tip: Four packs are the best value. Because it’s like a buy two get two free deal.

A single crowler costs $8 and a four pack costs $16.

During my visit, I only had time to try one of their beers, The Ferryman. But I picked up a four-pack of Cafe con Leche to go.

The Ferryman

Camino Brewing Co Imperial Stout beer
The Ferryman – he’ll take you for a ride 

Camino Brewing Co’s The Ferryman is a rich, bold, dark imperial stout. One of two stouts on tap at the brewery.

It goes down smooth with a strong bourbon finish.

The flavor profile is chocolate-covered cherries, soft caramel, and graham cracker. But I couldn’t detect any cherry, chocolate, coffee, or graham crackers.

The only flavor I could pick up was bourbon.

But there’s nothing wrong with that.

Unlike some bourbon aged stouts where the bourbon is the dominating flavor and leaves your stomach feeling gut-punched, The Ferryman does not.

The Ferryman gently transports you on a voyage of discovery. With every sip …” you may ask yourself, ‘How did I get here?’

Or you might find yourself with too much time on your hands.

Yep.

It’s a darn good brew. No bones about it.

Pro-tip: The Ferryman has an ABV of 11.4%. So you don’t want to order it on an empty stomach.

They have a limited snack menu at the brewery so plan on either eating before you arrive or bringing food.

Having eaten only a light breakfast and not yet had lunch, after a few sips knew I needed food.

I chose the soft pretzel. It came with a serving of grainy mustard and beer cheese made with Camino’s Kloisterschemken, a Dunkelweizen.

soft pretzel in paper sleeve with orange beer cheese and grainy mustard
Tasty soft pretzel with beer cheese and mustard

The orange-brown beer cheese looked scary but tasted interesting. Like a soft hard cheddar cheese with a bite.

I’d definitely recommend the pretzel for the beer cheese alone. They need to package and sell that. It was tasty!

Cafe con Leche

crowlers of Camino Brewing Co Cafe con Leche stout beer
Crowlers: buy two, get two free

Cafe con Leche, brewed with San Jose’s Chromatic Coffee Roasters, is Camino Brewing Co’s milk stout.

Winner of the “Best in Show” category at the Sacramento Coffee Beerfest, it’s a worthy contender in the milk stout category.

I didn’t have time to try this one fresh off the tap while at the brewery so I bought a four-pack to enjoy at home.

This was a smooth tasting milk stout with a nice finish and strong coffee flavor. But without the burnt after taste.

With an ABV of 6.5%, you can drink a few before you start feeling the effects.

Pro-tip: Camino Brewing Co’s crowlers travel well. They fit easily in my suitcase and arrived home unscathed.

Had I realized how delicious Cafe con Leche was I would have bought 2 four packs!

Camino Brewing Co
718 S 1st Street
San Jose, CA 95113
408-352-5331

The brewery is open:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Thursday from 4 pm to 10 pm
  • Tuesday from 12 pm to 10 pm
  • Friday and Saturday from 12 pm to 11 pm
  • Sunday from 12 pm to 9 pm

Conclusion

It’s no secret that I like beer, having gone to breweries in ViennaDenver, PleasantonBellingham, Tualatin Valley, and Costa Mesa. So it was a given that during my trip to San Jose, California I’d visit one of the local breweries like Camino Brewing Co.

Camino Brewing Co was one of two breweries I visited and I’m looking forward to going back to visit the rest of the San Jose breweries.

It’s always interesting to see which styles are more prominent. IPA is king in San Diego but thankfully, we have quite a few craft breweries that brew up great stouts. As does Camino.

Camino Brewing maintains two stouts on their 10 taps: The Ferryman and Cafe con Leche. Both beers are smooth and worth trying. 

But be forewarned, The Ferryman is an Imperial Stout with an 11.4% ABV. Some consider it a sipping beer because of the high alcohol content. 

Which beers have you tried at Camino Brewing Co?

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Debra Schroeder

Debra is a former 12-year travel industry executive and has traveled the world using airline miles and credit card points since 1994. She'll teach you the secrets of traveling well for less.

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9 Comments

  • The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
  • Vanessa January 25, 2020 at 2:25 am

    I would love the industrial décor of the brewery. I prefer more pale beers so it’s great they have some to offer, the Grapefruit Pale Ale sounds like an intriguing taste. Now I love beer and cheese but never heard of beer flavoured cheese, I’d be curious to give this a try!

  • Danik January 25, 2020 at 11:54 am

    I visit a lot of breweries and love my beer (but recently started drinking wine as it’s healthier…hmm hmm). I have done a few breweies in Cali but never heard of this one and I have been to San Jose, so it looks like I missed out on a gem. Would love to check out The Ferryman, I love my strong beers and the way you have describe it wants me to taste this. I am pretty used to stronger beers as I used to live in Belgium and tried different beers every night. The strongest I ever came across was 25% and that was in Germany and tasted like tar. Never again. 😀 I should be back in Cali (San Francisco area) this year so if I get the chance, I am going to nip down the road and check this place out,

  • Linda (LD Holland) January 25, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    Hubby likes to try new beers when we travel. He likes them really dark. So your opening shot of the Ferryman caught my interest. Good to know how strong it is. I was happy to read that there are 10 different beers on tap at Camino Brewery as I can’t handle his dark beer. Cafe Con Leche might be for me. Good to know next time we are in the area.

  • Agnes January 26, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    I’m more a fan of wine than beer. And I usually visit wineries. But sometimes, I drink cold beer during hot days. So, I’d love to try Ferryman. I also like the industrial architecture of this brewery present. I would also like to try Cafe con Leche, which can look great. I think it is something for me.

  • Laura Pedlar January 26, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    I’ve only visited two breweries before but there is something very appealing about them! This looks like a real ‘hipster’ spot. I don’t profess to have too much knowledge about beer but it was interesting to read your reviews as someone who knows what they’re talking about. Thank you for your honesty about the safety of visiting this area at night.

  • Val January 27, 2020 at 12:48 am

    Beer does bring strangers together, love this motto! I particularly like dark beers, so The Ferryman would be my choice here. But the beer cheese, mmm, I’m not sure I would try that 🙂

  • Shreya Saha January 27, 2020 at 7:33 am

    I am not a beer person but my sister is. I am surely going to forward the link of your blog to hers. I remember her appreciating strong Bourbon flavour of certain beers she talks about, hence while reading your blog, I was assuming she might like the Ferryman.

  • daniel January 28, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Great to know about your experience with the brewing. I love visiting breweries more than I love visiting wineries. Like I always say there is nothing better than drinking a beer in a brewery, it just makes the beer taste better. As someone who loves trying out new beer, I surely gotta check this one out.

  • Yukti Agrawal January 28, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    Though I don’t take beer, but it is always great to visit brewery and know the process of making and other interesting stuff. Camino Brewing Co looks a nice place to visit when in San Jose, California. It is a good tip that the Ferryman has an ABV of 11.4% and so we cannot have it on an empty stomach. As they have a limited snack menu at the brewery so eating before or bringing our own food is good idea.

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