berkeley food #20: jupiter

2181 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA

Jupiter is the last of my long-delayed reviews. I may have been here more times than any other restaurant in Berkeley. This is mostly because it’s such a great place to take guests, and we have a lot of guests. Jupiter is a brew-pub, run by the same people who run Triple Rock, just about a quarter mile down Shattuck from that venerable old pub. It’s closer to the heart of downtown. The interior is very welcoming, all dark wood, soft light, hammered copper wall coverings, hand-made, astronomy-themed tables. Outside is even better–a large patio with multiple levels, little heating-lamp things for when the weather turns “cold,” and giant painted versions of their beer posters that I love so much.

The draw here is dual: the beer and the food. To start with the latter: they have sandwiches at lunch and pizzas at dinner. The sandwiches are more interesting than you with think, with boring-sounding options like the tuna-melt or roasted chicken breast both ending up outstanding. The pizza is the same–cooked in a wood-fired brick oven, nice and crispy, never burned, with a large and universally tasty menu of toppings. My favorite is probably the Triton (all their food and beer has astronomically-themed names), which is covered with Italian sausage, sweet onions and basil. I’m hungry just thinking about it.

Because the pizzas are made one at a time, you’ll have to wait a bit for your order to come in. That’s okay, though, it will give you the time you need to drink a couple of thier massively-sized (20oz) ultras of some of my favorite beer, anywhere. Their hefeweisen is definitely my favorite, fruity and rich without being cloying. It’s not for everyone though; they aren’t kidding when they describe it’s taste as including “banana-like esters,” but don’t let it scare you away, it really tastes great!

Although I spend most of my time their drinking the hefe, all the beers are good. Other favorites include the insanely hoppy and alchoholic Quasar double IPA, and the simple, classic Red Spot red ale. Go ahead! Take a look at the whole list.

Jupiter has already earned a special place in our hearts. In fact, if you’re coming to party with us next may when we get hitched, you’ll be treated to some their great food and drink at our rehearsal dinner after party. So if you were on the fence about flying out to California, maybe this will tip the scales.

2 thoughts on “berkeley food #20: jupiter”

  1. Hey, there–

    I found your site when trying to Google info on the UC Botanical Gardens. I’m also starting wedding planning (mazel tov to you, btw) but am doing it long distance, am pathetically dependent on the Internet for info. How did you find the space? Will it be impossible for my grandma to get down to the redwoods? Is there enough room on that patio for really proper dancing? Any tips or thoughts would be muchly muchly appreciated. Thanks!!

  2. Hey, D.

    Girl here. Botanical garden: beautiful, but their events staff is clearly overworked and can be unresponsive. They also book up waaay in advance–and though they claim not to open reservations until a year before, you can informally reserve a time. The path down to the redwoods is dirt, but not too steep or narrow (I perused it with a grandmother in mind as well, and it looked like it would be barely okay). The conference room for the reception could probably dress up nice but is definitely on the small side. For proper dancing on the patio, maybe 10 couples if they stay fairly stationary and you don’t have anything else set up out there. But of course it depends on your notion of personal space. We took pictures of the garden and other places we looked; they’re here:

    For long distance planning, is indispensible if you haven’t found it yet. We’re in Berkeley, and it’s still how we found everything. Best of luck!

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