Early Taste: Perdition Smokehouse from Mikkeller Bar SF & The Trappist Founder Opens Today
Beer geeks and barbecue fanatics, today Perdition Smokehouse opens in Downtown Berkeley — and yes, that means it is BART accessible. From Chuck Stilphen, founder of craft beer temples like The Trappist in Oakland and Mikkeller Bar SF, you know this is about excellent beers. But it's also a barbecue restaurant in the spirit of Smokestack, a craft beer hall with casual, order-at-the-counter service and by-the-pound 'cue ($16-24). Platters come with one ($13) or two ($18) meat options and two sides. There's a picnic table-lined outdoor patio/beer garden soon to feature live music, which they already are permitted for, and trellises of hops. This recent barbecue renaissance around the Bay Area has upped the quality across the board in a category of food that doesn't often shine outside the South.
Early Taste: Mikkeller Chef Michael O’Brien offers five different barbecue items and five sides. There is meaty, tender, dry-rub BBQ that almost sings with smoke, thanks to the two impressive smokers behind the meat counter. After tasting through beef brisket, pork shoulder, Diestel turkey, hot links and St. Louis pork ribs, we fell for the fall-apart, pulled pork shoulder. Crispy on the edges, it's ideal with South Carolina mustard sauce. Among the sides ($3 small, $6 large), we found the mac 'n cheese a little dry and the coleslaw a bit bland, while the cowboy beans loaded with burnt ends are tender goodness. The Texas caviar, or black-eyed peas, is tossed with crisp white corn and green and red peppers, providing welcome, fresh contrast to all that meat.
Drink This: Eventually, there will be 43 taps of rotating American session beers. Highlights on the initial shorter list include the tart, dry, barnyard-y Tahoe Mountain Recolte du Bois farmhouse ale, brewed with peaches from Truckee, and the grassy, pineapple-inflected hops of San Francisco's Fort Point Park Hoppy Wheat beer. Also on tap: cold-pressed Blue Bottle Coffee and Boylan's root beer and sodas.
Details: Perdition is initially open from 5 PM – 12 AM, with plans for lunch service to begin by the end of summer.
2050 University Ave., Berkeley
Meat cuts and beer types line the walls [Photo source: Virginia Miller]