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Food & Drink

Pier 39 is getting a brewery beer nerds love—and it’s not just for tourists

four tall boys of beer with festive packaging
Santa Cruz’s Humble Sea Brewing Co. is known for its colorful, beachy packaging and wide range of “Foggy IPAs.” | Source: Courtesy Humble Beer

On Tuesday, Santa Cruz's well-regarded Humble Sea Brewing Co. posted a “coming soon” photo on Instagram, teasing its first-ever San Francisco taproom and beer garden and asking its devoted fan base if they could guess where it will be.

Eagle-eyed craft beer fanatics noted the tiny “Pier 39” sign on the image's far left, although the beermaker kept playing coy in the comments. Humble Sea, which is known for its wide range of “foggy IPAs” and its beachy vibes and packaging, describes its team as “a tiny crew of kooks,” so that tracks. SFGate was the first to report the news.

a banner teasing the opening of a craft brewery hangs on a wall in front of a construction site
Santa Cruz's Humble Sea Brewing Co. teased this picture on Instagram, and eagle-eyed viewers quickly made out the Pier 39 sign at left. | Source: Courtesy Humble Sea Brewing Co.

The location is indeed Pier 39, a busker-filled destination known to almost every tourist who visits San Francisco for the first time and a place famously sneered at by many locals.

“We love all things ocean-related, so when a spot came up at the pier, we jumped all over it,” said Humble Sea Co. marketing director Lee DeGraw, adding that the opening date will be sometime this summer, depending on the buildout. And it will be big. “The place will accommodate about 80 seats.”

In the former wine bar space, Humble Sea will pour a variety of rotating beers and sell cans to-go, as well as the standard brewery merch like hats and hoodies. The brewery is looking to partner with a local restaurant to offer food, but that, too, has yet to be determined, DeGraw said.

Pier 39 management confirmed the opening as well, noting that apart from a bar called Beer 39, there has never been a place for craft beers at the pier.

San Francisco’s craft brewing scene has taken a number of hits over the past couple years, with the stinging loss of Anchor Brewing as well as the closure of New Belgium’s taproom on 16th Street. The nearby Seven Stills closed in 2022 after a rapid expansion, while SoMa’s Local Brewing lost its brick-and-mortar location to a fire that same year.

Aside from this contraction in the Bay Area’s craft brewing scene, Humble Sea may have one other issue to contend with. The 1,000 or so sea lions that have been barking up a storm at Pier 39 lately may have to leave a little elbow room for Boardwalk Dreamin’, Existential Shred, and the rest of Humble Sea's beers.

Astrid Kane can be reached at astrid@sfstandard.com