Today’s New York Times has a great little article extolling the virtues of beer tasting bars, beer stores with tasting licenses allowing them to have limited taps and sample customers on the beers they carry. The story, Tastings With Craft Beers, features two Bay Area beer stores, Beer Revolution in Oakland, and City Beer Store in San Francisco, both terrific, relatively new, additions to the Bay Area beer scene. City Beer Store opened in 2006, while the Beer Revolution began this past February, during SF Beer Week.
If you haven’t been to either, now would be a good time to go. City Beer Store was founded by Craig Wathen, who formerly was with Pete’s Wicked Ales, and his wife Beth. They’ve created a cozy space on Folsom packed with over 300 beers, many of them hard-to-find elsewhere, and also managed to make the space comfortable and inviting.
Oakland’s Beer Revolution was started this year by Rebecca Boyles and Fraggle (a.k.a. Mark Martone — I didn’t even know Fraggle’s real name until just now!). I featured the pair in a long article I did on “Beer Geeks” for beer Advocate magazine several years ago. For them, this is a passion realized, a dream made real. In a larger space than their city doppelganger, Beer Revolution has a dozen taps and many, many bottles for sale. Both stores are constantly doing small, intimate in-store tastings and events.
The other three stores mentioned are all in Oregon, including the iconic Belmont Station in Portland. Only a few years ago, stores like these were a rarity, but their presence has been growing by leaps and bounds lately, and that’s great news for beer lovers.