Mounting Evidence of SF Beer Week

The SF Beer Week schedule is beginning to bulge — time to log in and start adding events to your itinerary. Schedule two things at the same time: choose between them later! It always helps to lay down a foundation.

While more geographically expansive this year, ranging from Sonoma to Monterey counties, let’s zoom in to SF-based events. Follow the links for dates and deets.

Fundraise for Fun

SF Beer Week is known for fundraisers where you can drink good beer for good. This year, firefighters have been on our minds, and Local Brewing Co. is taking action. By reaching out to brewers around town, Local has lined up ten fresh IPAs donated to help the California Fire Foundation. Breweries sending hoppy creations include Barebottle Brewing, Magnolia Brewing, Harmonic Brewing, Fort Point Beer, Social Kitchen Brewing and, of course, Local Brewing Co. itself, all so you can Drink SF-Brewed IPAs for Firefighters. Thank you.

For another evening of making the world a little better, turn to the Sirwisa Am-Pro Hops For Housing, providing homes for families grappling with childhood cancer. You can grab a ticket now, then enjoy the creativity.

This fest places pro brewers into the homes of amateurs, where the pairs design and make collaborative small batch beers. This event brings together the professional and homebrewing communities like no other. While the venue is still being firmed up, the beers themselves are already in progress. Go, yeast, go!

Still in the mood to help? Returning this year, along with other favorite ThirstyBear Organic Brewery dinners and events, is this Valentine’s Chocolate Making session, an exclusive fancy chocolates class. Hands-on candy making takes place along with savory bites, beer tastings and a beer and chocolate pairing contest — all for medical research. Taught by Pete Slosberg, former chocolatier as well as the originator of Pete’s Wicked Ale in the formative years of new American beer, this decadent evening is ticketed and will sell out. Bring a date or a friend.

For a very San Francisco charitable event, drop by to support the grassroots human rights, education and street performance mission of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at Laughing Monk Brewing Co. with a day of bingo (with prizes), the game of “Sister Twister,” biscuits and gravy plus all the latest fresh beers poured at the brewery. At Sunday Fun-day with the Sisters, laughter will be inevitable.  

‘Wow’-Level Beer Dinners

What’s SF Beer Week without epic beer dinners?  Down in SoMa, at the original 21st Amendment Brewery location, look for the Brew Free! or Dine Beer Dinner, a multi-brewery feast made possible through this SF brewery’s recent alliance with two fellow American breweries. Author and brewmaster Garrett Oliver, of Brooklyn Brewery, and Gordon Schuck, founding brewer of Colorado’s Funkwerks, will join 21st Amendment Brewery‘s co-founder/brewmaster Shaun O’Sullivan for a lavish meal. Grab your spot soon for pleasing beer pairings, riveting stories and even some surprise beers.

If a vibrant vegan menu is your pleasure, check out the plans at Almanac Beer’s SF Taproom, in the Mission District. San Diego’s Modern Times Brewing is coming to town for Good Vegan Times, a specially designed pairing menu featuring outrageous dishes and select beers from both breweries. Oh, and you’ll note that they promise burgers on the side for anybody unwilling to take the plant-based path for a day. Everybody relax. 

Or embrace the pork side. Smack dab in the geographic center of town, in NoPa, 4505 Burgers and BBQ will host a BBQ Luau menu featuring pairings with a one-time-only Fort Point Beer Co. cask-conditioned beer, with others on tap, too. How to make your entrance? Just be assured that grass skirts (over sweats, one presumes?) are totally optional.

Feed Mind & Senses

For that matter, Fort Point Beer Co. has once again laid out an ambitious lineup of creative events all over town, including a reprise of their popular Beer + Data 101 seminar, tailor-made for those who like to delve into ingredient and beer freshness-tracking software over a fresh can of beer. All that data-licious talk is a perfect distraction for February 14, if you don’t have a romantic evening scheduled — or if you and your date really dig data.

No doubt about it, education is always a highlight of the week. For example, at The Beer Hall, Master Cicerone, brewer and beer guide Rich Higgins is performing an advanced Off-Flavors identification session by intentionally ruining good craft beer samples, instead of tampering with cheap industrial lager, to teach about beer flaws, and it will sell out. (On other nights, stop by for fun, fantastic beers.)   

For a different flavor exploration, check out the Yeast Profile event with the GigaYeast company at Triple Voodoo Brewery. Different yeast strains were added to ferment the same brew, split up into multiple fermentation batches. Enjoy a taster flight to find out how different yeasts produce markedly different beers, even though all other ingredients stay the same. If you are out with friends who are not intrigued by yeast, they can play trivia while you chat about autolysis and attenuation, each of you enjoying a tasty example from this fermentation experiment.

Sample the Styles

Meanwhile, the playfully spooky Old Devil Moon is gearing up with a series of exciting events in the craft beer bar itself and in its Mission neighborhood. For the second year, ODM is presenting a storm of seductive sours, showcasing noteworthy tart and wild beers from near and far. Style showcases are another way to learn while you enjoy. Keep an eye on this event as the keg list evolves.

Even if you don’t make it out to the eastern edge of town on Treasure Island in SF Bay, you can try out the brewing projects that Woods Beer Co. has taken on there. The Divine Origins project delves into wine-beer hybrids that speak the language of spontaneous fermentation on the beer side and of natural wine from the realm of the vine. You’ll find most of the Woods releases at each of their cozy local taprooms, around the city and in Oakland.

Enjoying a proper pint at Magnolia in the Haight.

Pining for a proper pint of real ale?  Since the beginning of SF Beer Week, Magnolia Brewing has presented their friendly Festival of Firkins at the Haight Street pub, with real ales, including special guest beers, in traditional casks, expertly tapped for comparative tasting or just plain enjoyment from lunchtime through the evening. You don’t have to show your CAMRA card, just seize this chance for a smooth glass of insight into the English ale heritage that inspired so much of the American craft beer revolution.

For a simulated in-town NorCal roadtrip, check out The Ave Bar, a laid-back neighborhood spot that knows good beer, over near the Ingleside District. The bar is bringing in beers based on the area codes of some of their brewing friends. For example, on the 10th you can stop in for their 707 Brews, featuring places you might stop at along a drive north, with choices selected from 101 North Brewing Co, Third Street Aleworks, Fogbelt Brewing Co, Lost Coast Brewing Co. and the even more remote Six Rivers Brewing Co. while you stay put on your bar stool. Nice. And easy.

But sometimes you want it all. Say, an epic bottle share where you don’t have to bring anything, you can taste and dump at will while searching for your ideal quaff, and if you really loved something, you might be able to purchase a bottle to take home.  This whale of a time actually exists in the form of It Came From The Wood, at The Jug Shop. Enough said.

There are already more SF events listed — with many great ones still to come — but here’s another suggestion. The SF Beer Week Opening Gala is the place where the community reunites, greets new brewers and sees old friends. Custom beers designed to wow the community are fermenting right now, specifically for this event. It, too, is a charitable evening, supporting the SF Brewers Guild and the region’s craft beer community. And, of course, it’s epic — the largest event of the week, with the most local variety. You’ll need to pick up tickets in advance if you want to be there.

One month to go and so much beer adventure is in the works!