Almost 60 years after Fritz Maytag bought a declining Anchor Brewing Company and effectively revitalized the U.S. industry from a brewery in Potrero Hill, craft beer has become a permanent part of American dining and nightlife culture. Acknowledging that history while showcasing everything exciting and unexplored in the world of craft beer, SF Beer Week returns next month with no fewer than five kickoff events, one for each of the chapters of the Bay Area Brewers Guild.
The name is a bit of a misnomer: SF Beer Week is not just a week, and it’s not merely in San Francisco. (How could it be, when Santa Rosa and San Leandro are beer capitals in their own right?) The 10-day celebration of craft brewing across the Bay Area includes parties at well-established operations like 21st Amendment, and through sponsors like Drake’s, HenHouse and Barebottle.
Do you crave another taste of the limited-release Pliny the Younger, Russian River Brewing’s perennial cult favorite and a perfectly balanced pine-and-citrus triple IPA that people are known to wait six hours for? There are IPA-centric events left and right, including a Triple IPA Day in Redwood City and the 23rd Double IPA Festival in Hayward. Paired meals abound, from cioppino to Girl Scout cookies to Fort Point’s unmissable dim sum beer brunch.
After years of near-constant growth, the local scene has witnessed profound changes. For its part, Fort Point rolled out an entire seafood menu at its two SF locations last summer, and it’s now moving into a line of ciders. New Belgium’s been up and running for a couple years, and Brix Factory will open in West Oakland next spring. But Seven Stills shuttered its gigantic space in Mission Bay after expanding too quickly, and Local Brewing suffered a massive fire in December.
Still, San Diego’s Ballast Point—most famous for its ever-sessionable and grapefruit-forward Sculpin IPA—is set to finally open its taproom near Chase Center after a long delay, cementing that neighborhood as San Francisco’s craft beer HQ.
Rather shrewdly, SF Beer Week spans more than a couple holidays. For starters, it’s got a three-day weekend, for those who get President’s Day off. But then there’s Valentine’s Day, which is not just for champagne toasts anymore, as well as the Super Bowl. Once upon a time, the Buffalo Bills were a winning team, and football commercials were full of tedious debates between “tastes great” and “less filling.” The craft-beer renaissance has indeed come far.
📍 Various Locations
🗓️ Feb. 10-19
Astrid Kane can be reached at [email protected]