SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The front page on the local entertainment weekly screamed the news: The first Silicon Valley Beer Week will start on Sunday, July 28. Business is hopping for breweries here.
My Google and Yelp searches turn up only about a dozen brewpubs in the San Jose area, but I suspect there are many more. The dozens of events on tap for the week suggest there's one on every corner.
I have my local favorites, such as the Rock Bottom in the Pruneyard. Gordon Biersch, probably the most famous, has garnered a bit of national fame for its fellow Silicon Valley brewers. Other notables include the San Jose Cooperative Brewery and Pub, which describes itself on its Facebook page as Silicon Valley's coolest startup. The Sudzers Homebrew Club has been an active hobbyist group since 1997. Its name plays off the seminal gathering that helped launch the personal computer.
I am still checking around, but to the best of my knowledge, there's no significant chip manufacturing anymore in Silicon Valley, one of the key sites of the semiconductor revolution. Companies such as Fairchild and Intel got their start here. But as the orchards gave way to fabs and office complexes, the cost of living soared. Slowly, the increasingly giant fabs moved to Oregon, the Southwest, Israel, Ireland, China, and elsewhere.
I think it was about 2008 when Intel closed a small development fab it still had at its Santa Clara headquarters just down the street from where I live. There may be a few small fabs left, but there's nothing producing significant volumes.
However, Silicon Valley is still mining the gold that the microelectronics pioneers discovered here. Google, Facebook, and Apple would have no life without the microprocessor and memory chip. And nearly all the big chips and systems that run what we call the cloud were at least partly designed here by engineers working for Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, Juniper, and even China's growing Huawei.
There's still plenty of froth in Silicon Valley, so raise a glass and make a toast to good times during Silicon Valley Beer Week. I will.