Are you up for a garlic beer?

BREW BOSS Seth Hendrickson, owner/head brewer at Golden State Brewery opened Santa Clara's first brewery since before Prohibition and is now looking to recreate the same magic in downtown Gilroy when he opens his second location in the county later this s

The rumors circulating on social media for months are true. Gilroy will get its first brewery and taproom when Golden State Brewery opens later this year at 7560 Monterey St. in downtown Gilroy, formerly occupied by Net Fitness.
Renowned for producing handcrafted brews like Heritage Honey Ale and Bay Area Blonde, the Santa Clara brewery will open in two phases—the front of the house with bar and outdoor patio in April, and the full restaurant and brewery in December, according to owner Seth Hendrickson.
The 36-year-old entrepreneur, who has since expanded the brand to San Diego, is currently working on getting the necessary permits from the city of Gilroy while refurbishing the cavernous space, once home to Ford’s Department Store and upstairs from the Elks Lodge meeting hall. The Spanish colonial revival building was designed by Albert Roller and built by William Radtke* in 1931.
“The city has been really helpful,” said Hendrickson, who is used to being a trailblazer; when Golden State Brewery opened in Santa Clara last February, it was the first brewery in the city since before Prohibition.
“The city of Santa Clara has a population of over 100,000 and a national football league stadium, but had no brewery,” said Hendrickson.
No stranger to Gilroy, Golden State Brewery was one of last summer’s beer sponsors for the Fifth Street Live concert series and downtown’s Halloween beer crawl.
“Folks were really receptive—it was pretty wild,” said Hendrickson of the local response. A survey of 300 people at the event showed a city that was willing and ready to support a brewery of their own.
For now, Hendrickson and his team are still in the engineering phase and working hard to get the building ready for an opening just two months away.
All of the workout equipment from its days as Net Fitness has been removed and the black mats and wood floor ripped out. The plan is to seal and stain the concrete floor to create a cool and industrial-looking rustic space.
“We will serve pints, growlers, wine and elevated pub food—small plates, tapas, cheese plates and meat platters,” said Hendrickson of the initial, front of house opening.
The outdoor patio will be on a “parklet,” a sidewalk extension that runs across two-and-a-half parking spaces on Monterey Road.
At full buildout, expected in December, the brewery will include a full kitchen with pizza oven and rotisserie, dining room and bar in the back. There will also be televisions inside, and misters and heaters outside to keep patrons comfortable.
The family-friendly venue will not be “too fancy,” said Hendrickson, but one can’t help noticing what a game changer the brewery will be for a downtown district hungry for revitalization.
“You have 5,000 new homes being built in Gilroy and some have higher home values than you see in Morgan Hill and San Jose—so you know where the trend is going,” said Hendrickson, who met with the Gilroy Economic Development Corporation (EDC) when deciding to expand to South County.
Hendrickson said when he first got approached on Facebook to open up in Gilroy, he thought it sounded like way too much work. “I didn’t know anything about Gilroy,” he said. Then after talking to the building owners and chatting with Tammy Brownlow, executive director of the EDC, he realized it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
“There are 55,000 people in Gilroy—it’s not a little town,” he said. “People are already leaving [Gilroy] to go out in Morgan Hill.”
And it appears Gilroy will finally get its own garlic beer.
“Garlic beer is on the way,” said Hendrickson.
*Article has been updated with name of architect, builder