Best Breweries in San Jose, California

For the 10th largest city in America, San Jose doesn’t have many breweries.

However, there are plenty of gems within the San Jose metro area and Santa Clara County. After living in San Jose for six months and visiting virtually every brewery in the city, I feel qualified to rank the best breweries in San Jose, California.

Here are the best breweries in San Jose.

Narrative Fermentations

Narrative Fermentations is one of the newest breweries in San Jose. However, they brew better beer than anyone else in the city.

Narrative Fermentations is in the old Santa Clara Valley Brewing Co. location. They closed down in December 2019. Narrative Fermentations opened in mid-2020, during the height of the pandemic.

Maybe I’m biased because Narrative Fermentations was within walking distance of our apartment in San Jose. But it had some of the best (and highest ABV) beer I’ve had in California.

Photo courtesy of @triviabytroy

Plus, trivia night at Narrative Fermentations is a blast – and winning free growlers for your team is an amazing perk when the beer is this good.

For a good vibe, good beer, and fun events, Narrative Fermentations takes the cake as the best brewery in San Jose.

Hapa’s Brewing Company

Hapa’s Brewing Company has two locations, including one in Los Gatos and the other near downtown San Jose. Both have some of the best brewpub atmospheres in San Jose.

Hapa’s on Lincoln Ave (near downtown) has a large, open space with a patio that wraps around the building. There are one or more food trucks outside most nights. With TVs inside, ample seating inside and out, and plenty of great beers on tap, Hapa’s Brewing Company is one of the best breweries in San Jose.

The Hapa’s in Los Gatos also has a large patio and modest indoor space. That location serves surprisingly tasty food. It’s an easy walk from the heart of Los Gatos, and it’s a fun place to visit on a bustling sunny afternoon in Los Gatos.  

Clandestine Brewing

Clandestine Brewing, like many breweries, traces its roots to local home brewers. They have a small but nicely laid out taproom just outside of downtown San Jose.

Photo courtesy @clandestinebrewing

Look for indoor and outdoor seating at Clandestine, food trucks, and a constantly changing array of beer options. If you visit a few months apart, like I did, you might return to find a whole new list of beers.

Camino Brewing Co.

Featuring one of the nicest beer gardens in downtown San Jose, Camino Brewing is a popular San Jose brewery with outdoor events in their surprisingly large space – along with a great selection of beer.

Photo courtesy @caminobrewingcompany

I liked Camino because they had unique beers we hadn’t seen in other places – -like a café con leche beer. They also had some of the friendliest staff I ever encountered in San Jose.

Strike Brewing Co.

Strike has a distinctive logo you’ll see at grocery stores across San Jose. They also have two taprooms, including one in San Jose and the other in Campbell.

The Strike Brewing taproom in San Jose is in an industrial area. Given the industrial setting, it’s surprising Strike doesn’t have much of a patio even during pandemic times.

Strike has trivia nights and other events to keep you coming back. Their beer is popular throughout San Jose, and you can find plenty of IPAs, DIPAs, and other common California brewery options.  

Hermitage Brewing Company

Yet another industrial area brewery in San Jose, Hermitage Brewing Company occupies a sprawling indoor and outdoor space between Narrative Fermentations and Strike Brewing.

The patio is a great place to watch the sunset in San Jose, which is good because it was sunny 98% of the time we lived in San Jose.

Hermitage has a wide range of beers, including unique options like cherry sour beer and higher ABV IPAs – similar to many other breweries on our list.   

Floodcraft Brewing Co.

Okay, there’s a bit of an asterisk beside this one, because it’s basically the Whole Foods brewery. But I always liked Floodcraft Brewing Co. for their diverse range of beers and other drink options. They also brew their own beer (as far as I know).

The best part of Floodcraft, however, is the view from the patio. In a city with few sprawling views, Floodcraft gives a decent view of downtown San Jose, incoming SJC planes, and the San Jose Sharks’ arena (the S&P Center).

If it’s a sunny afternoon, or if you’re pre-drinking for a Sharks game (or other event), then Floodcraft is a great place to hang out.

Uproar Brewing Company

Although it was closed during our stay in San Jose, Uproar has since reopened in partnership with gaming bar company LvL.

Today, the joint venture is known as LvL Uproar. You can play great games, get great food, and drink great beer in one convenient setting.  

Honourable Mentions

I wish I could fill this list with a dozen other breweries, but there really isn’t much in San Jose, which is surprising because places like Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, and Napa have a fraction of the population and nearly as many breweries.

However, here are some honourable mentions for the best breweries in San Jose.

S27 Alehouse & Brewery: Located down an alley beside the 87 freeway, S27 Alehouse & Brewery is well-rated. I did not enjoy the one beer I had there (and I paid $10 for that beer!). However, others seem to like it.  

Off The Rails Brewing Co. Located in nearby Sunnyvale, Off The Rails Brewing Co. has a great patio and indoor space in the heart of Sunnyvale’s trendy downtown area. if you want decent atmosphere and people watching, then Off The Rails is a good option – even if it’s not technically a San Jose brewery.

Market Beer Company / Three Sisters: Located in San Pedro Square Market, Market Beer Company and Three Sisters are two connected pubs that serve a range of great, local craft beer on tap. You pay silly prices for the beer (think $10 for a small, American, 16oz pint). However, it’s a good option before a Sharks game or when exploring downtown.   

Final Word

San Jose is home to millions of people, yet there are only like, 10, breweries in the San Jose area.

Fortunately, the breweries that have survived the high prices of San Jose are great places to grab a beer, especially the top-ranked options on our list.

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