North Bay, South Bay – All Around SF Beer Week

North Bay, South Bay – All Around SF Beer Week

When San Francisco Beer Week brings all things beery and good to the broader Bay Area, why not seize a timely opportunity for a local road trip?  Let’s dig into some regional listings on the SFBW17 Schedule. Today, we look at rewarding events and destinations both south of the City and north above the Golden Gate.

The North Bay Exerts that Magnetic Pull

It’s no secret that hoards of SF Beer Week visitors flock north during their stay.  From Marin to Sonoma and beyond, beer riches await you. Each year, the release of a certain seasonal beer draws thousands of beer pilgrims to Santa Rosa, with a major economic impact on Sonoma County. Russian River Brewing Co. will be serving “Younger” in their pub to those who brave the lines.You also have a shot at trying this year’s version of the world’s original Triple IPA at multiple Beer Week events around the region. But nothing about the elusive Younger is certain, so there’s something satisfying about trekking to the source in Santa Rosa.


One secret to enjoying the trip north is to check out some smaller, up-and-coming venues, most likely without lines around the block. In a birthday mood? Celebrate the third anniversary of Santa Rosa’s Fogbelt Brewing Co. with their special anniversary releases and BBQ on 2/11.

Nearby Henhouse Brewing Company, in its new Santa Rosa digs, has lined up a series of tempting events and special beer releases during the week.  Variations of an ultra-fresh double IPA made with differing hops, for example, will offer illuminating insights into beer basics and beer innovation during one of their taproom release evenings.

If you’ll travel from Santa Rosa towards the East Bay, head inland across bucolic county and wetland vistas through the town of American Canyon where you can drop in and have a beer with the founder of Heretic Brewing Co. on 2/13. If you line up a designated driver who likes meandering on back roads, you might even enjoy a scenic detour into the Sonoma Valley.

Drop in at a cornhole tournament where local brewers will compete at the Jaded Toad in Cotati on 2/19, serving eight local beers from the competitors’ breweries.  The small towns of the North Bay have a signature no-fuss Redwood Empire charm, so leave a little time for walking around.

Down the Peninsula for South Bay Surprises

Heading south, Armstrong Brewing provides strong incentive for a lengthy stay with their Beers, Blues & BBQ event  on 2/17, featuring mouth-watering ‘que by The Boneyard, live blues and a special beer-and-chocolate pairing.

canfestThe innovative spirit of SF Bay Area beer culture will shine at the West Coast Craft Can Invitational Fest down on the peninsula.

Hosted at Devils’ Canyon Brewery in conjunction with The Can Van, the groundbreaking mobile operation that made craft canning take off in the region, this fundraiser promises music, awards, food and the fresh tastes of the latest select canned craft brews.

In our beermiscuous modern world, beer style is a touchstone of many SFBW events. You can shift styles each night if you like.

Delve into that unexpectedly trendy sub-style, hazy IPAs, at Harry’s Hofbrau during the Hazed and Confused Blind Hazy IPA Tasting on 2/18 in Redwood City.  Ale Arsenal has lined up a series of exciting style and brewery-themed events including their Sour Sunday with Almanac Beer Co. on 2/15, where sour blending artistry will shine. Craving the dark side? Head to The Refuge in Menlo Park for a Barrel Aged Showcase. Check out the hoppy stylings of Knee Deep Brewing at Armadillo Willy’s BBQ in Los Altos on the 13th.

NBBC-Logo-White-Back_transparencyForge ahead over the forested ridge to breweries in Santa Cruz for a worthy but winding excursion. Visitors flock to check out the combination of brewing innovation and age-old beer craft expressed by Sante Adairius Rustic Ales in the farmhouse realm and New Bohemia Brewing Co. in the tradition of teutonic beers and lagers, to name just two. For those who prefer to stay on the inland side of the mountains, try the New Bohemia evening at Liquid Bread Gastropub in Campbell on 2/15. And at nearby Oak & Rye Pizza, a specially commissioned Imperial IPA from “NewBo” will be on tap all week long.

Mission Creek, the craft brewery inside Whole Foods Market in San Jose, is hosting a Carnival Night kickoff party on 2/12 with select house and guest beers. Activities slated during the week include an evening of Valentine’s Day Sweets partnered with beers or wines, to enjoy either as a cheesecake-pairing smackdown or a graceful way to include a companion who’s more about grapes than grain. On 2/14, of course.

But what about the food, you’re asking. The South Bay is lining up events like a cheese pairing adventure with beer-wine hybrids and a casual gathering with sour beers and steamed mussels. A course-by-course pairing with extra helpings of beer knowledge are on the menu at this comforting Prime Rib Dinner with Fort Point.

Seasoned SF Beer Week veterans know to check the schedule often as new events are posted, sorting and searching to discover the perfect experiences.

Whether you make early scheduling into your latest beer information obsession or hold off until the end of January before you start this selection game, take a recreational spin around the SF Beer Week site now, just to get the feel for what’s coming. So many choices, so little time. It’s only going to get better (but perhaps harder to choose) as we count down to SF Beer Week!