Your Ticket to a Rewarding SF Beer Week


Sour Sunday is for flavor exploration in the courtyard at Jupiter, in Berkeley. Photo by Alex Lawson.


Unless you’re actively brewing up a special beer, planning a beer dinner or pulling together another epic event for San Francisco Beer Week 2017, there are only three things to do right now to get ready for the annual gathering of the Bay Area beer tribes.

First, get rested and ready! Second, if you will be traveling to the Bay Area, nail down those flights, trains and lodging choices now. Third, check the SFBW schedule frequently for any ticketed events that may sell out early.

That’s already starting to happen. You can still get on the waitlist for Fort Point Beer Company’s jaw-dropping guided night in the historic fort itself but, as we put this list together, their second annual Dim Sum Beer Brunch, with cross-cultural pairings such as Seafood Dumplings and Kolsch, is not yet sold out (though on the way!).

Lest we forget the main event, remember that the SF Beer Week Opening Gala is not just a kick-off to the week but a reunion for the far-flung brewing and beer-appreciator community. A noted opportunity to try the widest range of artful, aged, young, one-off and rare Northern California beers of the week, it’s also the debut event for this year’s San Francisco Brewers Guild’s 2017 collaboration beer, including intriguing ingredients from Whole Foods Markets. Past years have shown that there are not many tickets on the secondary market once the Gala sells out, so there’s no good fallback plan for this event.

After that, the grand grab bag of delectable activities opens up. Among the tickets already on sale are those for the artisan chocolate-making and beer pairing evening with TCHO Chocolates, Pete Slosberg and ThirstyBear Organic Brewery.

Midweek, the seventh annual Sau & Brau pig roast dinner party extravaganza returns to Drake’s Brewing Co. in San Leandro. Tickets have just gone on sale; get tickets here. Cheese, you ask? This ticketed cheese and beer tasting with local cheesemongers at Triple Voodoo is already listed.

Many sought-after ticketed events are annual fundraisers. For example, at Trumer Brauerei in Berkeley, the Celebrator Beer News anniversary party not only showcases the crisp beer of the host brewery, but presents 30 or more breweries in support of the work of the California Craft Brewers Association.

Almanac Beer's sweet fundraiser is a sour delight.

Almanac Beer’s sweet fundraiser is a sour delight.

Sour beer events large and small are a favorite SFBW activity. The original Sour Sunday continues and flows from Jupiter to Triple Rock’s newly enlarged digs nearby. Other intriguing interpretations include Almanac Beer Company’s Save the Whales festival at Fort Mason.

Some of the treasured events offer tickets-at-the-door. Arriving early for the Bistro’s legendary Double IPA Festival (pro-tip: it’s really a double and triple IPA fest and has been critical to the evolution of the styles) is the proven strategy to secure a ticket but, if you arrive later in the afternoon, you can expect easy entry to sample hoppy wonders as the early birds depart.

Or book a tour. SF Adventure Tours offers personalized neighborhood tours for intimate groups that include door-to-door service, behind-the-scenes brewery tours, private tastings, and more. It’s a great way to check out the SF craft beer scene with friends.

Looking for a little exercise? Tickets are on sale for the Beer Walk in Sunnyvale, while in San Jose the history tour explores the stories of beer, bars and brothels from the past and ends up where you can enjoy some local pints. Just want to exercise your supple wrists? This year, don’t miss Pinballs and Pints with craft pints and hundreds of antique pinball machines.

If you remember a favorite ticketed event from past SF Beer Weeks, there’s a chance that it’s coming back but hasn’t been announced yet. Savvy fans check the schedule often for old favorites and for new delights they could have never imagined. And don’t panic if you don’t plan ahead. There will be plenty of walk-up events, too. Stay tuned — it’s only going to get better as we count down to SFBW!

The Bistro’s Double IPA Festival predates SF Beer Week and is one of its cherished traditions. Photo by Gail Ann Williams

The Bistro’s Double IPA Festival predates SF Beer Week and is one of its cherished traditions. Photo by Gail Ann Williams