First Street Ale House helps revitalize downtown Livermore

Beer drinkers in the Bay Area are spoiled. Wherever the discerning beer drinker looks there’s great beer from the immediate vicinity, as well as from all over California, the Northwest and Europe. The farther from the Bay Area beer epicenter you get, the harder you have to work to find great beer. It’s there, though; you just have to know where to find it.
Perry’s Liquors in Livermore is a good example, with wall-to-wall cold cases of some of the best beer you’ll find anywhere in the Golden State. Not far from Perry’s is First Street Ale House, which not long ago moved from a cramped pub space to more spacious surroundings next door in what had been a furniture store. The transition also seems to have marked a subtle change in emphasis. More room means that First Street Ale House is less of a “divey” pub and more of a family restaurant, although the pub still pours some very good beer from a couple of dozen taps. The transition seems to have been successful, and the high-ceilinged, bright, casual First Street Ale House has become a very popular hot spot in rejuvenated downtown Livermore.
First Street Ale House checks all the right boxes for this type of pub:
• Kid-friendly, check
• Plenty of TVs for watching sports, check
• Good beers on tap, check
• Friendly servers, check
• Decent burgers and pub food, check
It might seem a bit formulaic, but it’s a formula that has proved popular in many pub/restaurants, especially in the suburbs.

On a recent visit, I matched a sandwich piled high with pork carnitas, grilled onions and cheese, and crispy fries with a timeless classic, the lovely Paulener Hefeweizen, which isn’t on tap as often as it should be. Cloudy and subtly spicy, the lively, yeasty Paulener Hefeweizen wheat beer is assertive enough to stand up to Mexican-style food but without the bitter hops that might be overly jarring. Even if the carnitas had been a little spicier (as they should have been), the Paulener would have stood up well. Other good hefes include Weihenstaphener Heffeweissbeer, Hacker-Pschorr Heffe Weisse, Schneider Weisse, Ayinger Brau Weisse, Sierra Nevada Kellerweis and the ubiquitous Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse. A lot of places will serve refreshing, low alcohol, warm-weather hefes with a slice of lemon, which I don’t think adds a whole lot to the beer. Have it on the side and you can taste it both ways.
It’s a testimony to the conviviality of good beer that First Street Ale House has become an integral part of revitalized downtown Livermore and a local hot spot.

First Street Ale House
2086 1st St
(between K St & L St)
Livermore, CA 94550
(925) 371-6588

Sun-Wed: 11:00 AM – 11:30 PM
Thurs-Sat: 11:00 AM – Midnight
Kitchen closes a half an hour before restaurant closing

Perry’s Liquors
1522 Railroad Ave
Livermore, CA 94550
(925) 443-0550

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