Bull’s Eye Beer

Bull’s Eye Beer was produced by Oakland’s longest running (1856-1959) and largest brewery, Golden West Brewing Company. Like many long-lived breweries, Golden West went through various owners and names before its establishment in 1910.

This century-long brewing operation made vast improvements one year later. Oakland had always been accessible by port, but when the transcontinental railway arrived on the west coast, it opened the door for increased production for the brewery. Occupying one entire square block in Oakland’s west side, the brewery was updated with the latest machinery and bottling equipment, but also had its own water supply with two wells on the property and its own spur railroad track that came directly to its doors!

Breweries in the bay area had been widely known for their production of steam beer, which used yeast and did not require refrigeration. Despite Golden West’s claims to have produced both steam beer and lager, the labels indicate they only output lager beers. During Prohibition, however, the brewery did use steam beer techniques to produce its near beer. In fact, this is one of the rare breweries in the area that restarted post Prohibition and was successful in the ensuing years.

Bull’s Eye was produced as a World War II era can, from 1942-1945. It is one of six known beers to be produced by Golden West, and though you may find a banged up can here and there, a Grade 1 in clean original condition may not exist. If you are lucky enough to find it, you can expect a price tag of $1200!

In 1959, the brewery’s tanks and vats were sold at auction, and the building was demolished in 1964, erasing the last of Oakland’s brewing history. In June 2009, half a mile away from Golden West’s original site, the Linden Street Brewing Company opened. It paid tribute to the bay area’s history by producing steam beer. This brewery won several awards in 2014 and 2015, but in typical brewery fashion, the partners split and now operate different and competing breweries in the area.