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Frantic December? Give the Gift of SF Beer Week!

Ah, December! Time for festive lights, family traditions and – often enough – a dash of holiday stress. If you’re lining up spectacular gifts to give to people in your life, sit back and order up a ticket or two to one of the great beer festivals, the SF Beer Week Opening Gala, set for Friday, February 9, on the SF waterfront at Pier 35. 

Opening Gala tickets reward their holders with an evening at one of the nation’s best known fests, an annual living snapshot of the region’s robust beer community. You’ll find plenty of exciting beers – from one-off brews, collaborations and new releases to notable local beers – to enjoy and chat about. Over 100 craft breweries will join in this celebration of the region and the craft. Get your Opening Gala tickets here.

Pro-tip: VIP tickets for the Opening Gala are already on the road to selling out, so don’t delay. 

Meanwhile, the SF Beer Week event list continues to fill up, now including over 100 independent events lined up for the nine days that follow the Opening Gala. 

There’s plenty of room for beer week spontaneity in February, first come, first served. But to help nail down some key activities in advance – or for your last minute gift-giving pleasure – here are a few ticketed on sale right now (many likely to sell out):

  • A ticket to the Twisted Tasting promises a first-class creative lineup of breweries and food at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium in support of the county’s vibrant arts community. Feeling bold? You’re invited to dress “Studio 54.” (link to purchase
  • Almanac Beer Talks conveys the gift of tasty knowledge from luminaries in their beer-centric fields. Soak it all in with beers, bites and a touch of comedy in a lively TED-talks inspired afternoon at the new Almanac facilities, opening soon in Alameda. (link to purchase)
  • Hops for Housing provides a twist on Pro-Am brews where commercial brewers invite homebrewers to brew — instead, skilled homebrewers invite brewing pros over to co-create small, inventive batches for this annual charity event. The creativity of these partnerships are amazing, and all for a great cause (link to purchase)
  • SF Adventure Tours is holding SFBW Opening Tour and Closing Tours for exploring beer in SF’s Dogpatch and nearby neighborhoods. Led by a Certified Cicerone, this gift will delight anyone who loves to talk beer as well as enjoy it. (link to purchase)
  • The Producer Dinner series at 18 Reasons in SF’s Mission District shines a spotlight on artisan food producers – in this case, Fort Point Beer Co. Enjoy a paired four-course dinner with the head brewer. (link to purchase)
  • Richmond’s Armistice Brewing Co. utterly destroys Valentines Day – or does it up with perfect barbaric precision – in A Very Viking Valentine’s beer feast. “Pillage casual” attire is suggested. This is the perfect gift for someone who will laugh when they see “Leave your feelings at home: bring your dates if you must.” (link to purchase)
  • The Celebrator Beer News’ 30th Anniversary Party is a gift for craft beer community insiders and supporters at Trumer Brewery. Eat, drink and merrily support the rights of independent brewers via the California Craft Brewers Association. (link to purchase)

Presenting the gift of a hot ticket is half the fun

When you get your gift ticket printed out, wrap it up in something fun, like a new brewery hat or t-shirt. Tie it up with a festive bow. Or go old-school: pop it into a small box inside a bigger box to prevent guessing. 

Image: Happy crowds at the Gala!

You could also fold that paper ticket, wrap it around a tasty bottle, growler or craft can, and then gift wrap the beer along with the ticket. But don’t stress – you can always relax and simply hand the ticket over with a smile at a pleasant beer bar or taproom near you. Or even transfer them online and text a greeting. 

A ticket to the 2018 Opening Gala – or any fine SF Beer Week event you’re looking at – is sure to be a memorable gift, no matter how you decide to present it. And don’t forget to grab a ticket for yourself while you’re at it. February (and Valentine’s Day, another gift-loving occasion) will be here sooner than you think.