Gears and Beers – Getting Down on Gilman Street
Once a month, the Gilman Brewery in Berkeley hosts Gears and Beers – a casual car guy gathering with a side of tasty craft beer. What could be better?
On a day that originally called for 63 degrees with cloud coverage, we were graced with even warmer weather and clear skies. Tucked away in the industrial area of Berkeley, Gilman Brewery is a great blue collar spot ideally suited for hosting a casual car get-together.
Two things that go hand in hand are car enthusiasts and beer. Upon arriving I was greeted with a classic Chevrolet pickup embossed with the brewery’s logo and their makeshift Open sign. I knew it was a good place to be!
Tony, the owner of Gilman Brewery and a car guy through and through jumped at the idea to host a classic car show (dubbed Gears and Beers) every month in his back lot. Despite multiple car shows happening that day, it was still a great turn out. Everything from low riders, muscle cars, trucks, and a plethora of Volkswagens made the scene.
As the party officially started at 12 p.m., the DJ’s started spinning classics on vinyl records giving the industrial back lot a nostalgic feel. It was a very fitting style of music given the cars that surrounded us. At the same time, the general manager of Gilman brewery started serving up a double IPA as well as their American lager.
While admiring a beautiful fire engine red car that was for sale, I ended up meeting the owner of another very unique vehicle. A wonderful gentleman who told me that his ’63 Studebaker Daytona Wagonaire was originally his late father’s. He had purchased the vehicle back in 1963 from the dealer and had traded in his ’53 Studebaker valued at only $100 at the time.
According to the gentleman, his father loved to tinker and swapped out the original 259.2 ci 180hp engine for 327 ci with camel hump heads netting the car a whopping 400hp. Needless to say, the new motor is a hefty improvement over the original motor. His father found that he needed to tow quite often, but trailer hitches didn’t exist at the time for the Wagonaire. His father took it upon himself to custom fabricate a tow hitch for it so that he and his family could take trailers on trips. Other small modifications were two 12v 110amp outlets placed in the back seat to run the small black and white television for his children and the small fridge in the cargo area, thus creating the perfect road trip vehicle that only needed to stop when you ran out of gas. Everything inside the Wagonaire was built and/or modified for function. Right down to the custom cup holder his father fabricated from a brass boat cup holder.
I ended up running into Tony, the event organizer, who told me that attendees come from far and wide just to attend this function every month, from all over the Bay Area to as far north as Mendocino and as far southeast as Modesto.
It was cool to see everyone wandering around with their kids or their loved ones in tow. Watching fathers and sons bond while pointing out small details to each other is what makes the car hobby so great. And the unbridled enthusiasm of the youngsters running over to their father to ask them to come look at the stunning Camaro that just pulled in was a joy to watch. These are the kind of good vibes this meet gives off.
And when it comes to craft beer, Tony and his team really know their stuff. These suds were killer! Bring your cars, your kids, your friends and even your dogs and be ready to have a great time. Beers and Gears is held monthly. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for future dates!