SF Beer Week
Originally published January 20, 2010
I should say at the outset that I am one of the founders of SF Beer Week, a sponsor, a volunteer and — it probably goes without saying — one of its biggest supporters. The idea of showcasing all the great beer in our little corner of the world seems to me a natural. Along with the great cuisine found in the Bay Area, the only question I keep asking myself is why we waited so long.
The second annual SF Beer Week will begin unofficially a little north of San Francisco in Santa Rosa, when Russian River Brewing taps the first keg of its highly anticipated annual release of Pliny the Younger, a triple IPA, on Feb. 5. But the formal kickoff begins that evening at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts with an opening gala that features rare and special beers from nearly 30 Bay Area breweries, along with food by 4505 Meats and Tacolicious.
A 10-day week
This brewers’ week lasts 10 days, with festivities running from Feb. 5 through Valentine’s Day. Beyond the annual marquee SF Beer Week events such as the Bistro’s Double IPA Festival (Feb. 6), the Toronado Barleywine Festival (Feb. 13) and the Celebrator’s Anniversary Party (Feb. 14 at Trumer Braueri in Berkeley), there will be roughly 20 events to choose from every single day. Here are some highlights of what else to expect throughout the week.
- The Beer Chef’s annual Beer & Chocolate Dinner takes place Feb. 12 at Treasure Island’s Pavilion by The Bay. Other beer dinners will be at Bar Crudo, Beach Chalet, Beretta, Boiler House, Café Biere, Marin Brewing, Monk’s Kettle and Valley Brewing, to name just a handful.
- Chez Panisse will feature a special beer and food pairing menu daily from Feb. 8 to 13. Events featuring just cheese and beer pairings are planned at Cask & Quesos, Thirsty Bear and The Bistro, Rogue and Schooner’s in Antioch. In addition, several late morning “Beerunchs” will take place throughout the area.
- Small festivals include Catch the Sour at Triple Rock in Berkeley and Meat the Brewers, a South Bay brewers’ showcase in San Jose.
There will also be plenty of quirky events, too, including a weeklong scavenger hunt, Beer to Breakers (a bicycle pub-crawl) and the Wet Your Whistles Caltrain Pub Crawl. Several meet-the-brewer events, home-brew demonstrations and educational beer tasting seminars will round out the week. Check the SF Beer Week Web site — http://sfbeerweek.org — for more events, as new ones are added daily.
Strong Beer at High Noon
The other February Bay Area institution is Strong Beer Month, now in its eighth year. Two of San Francisco’s most prominent brewpubs, 21st Amendment Brewery & Restaurant and Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery, once again will brew up six special beers each. Try all 12 beers during the month — stop by early because some beers do run out before month’s end — and you get to keep the commemorative glass. This year’s T-shirt features a spaghetti western theme with two cowboys facing off at high noon, armed with bottles of beer. They’re not here to do battle, but to explore the frontiers of extreme beer.
Magnolia will feature old favorites such as Old Thunderpussy Barleywine, Delilah Jones Rye and its Imperial IPA Promised Land. Two new beers will be available this year, both as of yet unnamed. The first is a Belgian-style quadruple and the second will be a German-inspired, smoky strong amber beer brewed with alt yeast. And 21st Amendment likewise will bring back its barley wine, Lower de Boom, and its triple IPA, Hop Crisis, and premiere at least two new beers, Imperial Jack, an imperial ESB, and Two Lane Blacktop, an imperial version of Back in Black, its Black IPA.