Little noticed among the foamy flurry of Beer Week events was the Valentine’s Day opening of Hopwater Distribution, a taproom in lower Nob Hill. Although there are other beer bars in San Francisco that have 31 or more taps, Hopwaters’ are dedicated to pouring California brews.
The current beer menu lists mostly NorCal brewers including some not often seen around town such as Russian River, Baeltane, Pine Street, and North Coast. Hopwater also made space for a few essentials from farther south like Firestone Walker Brewing, and The Bruery. If you want to give out-of-town visitors a taste of the awesome beer we have in the area, Hopwater is a great place to take them. They also have California wines by the glass.
Partners Sky Wegman and Chris Barry of Dogpatch Saloon and 83 Proof and Jon Guinea of Oakland's Wood Tavern have been working to bring Hopwater online for a little over a year. The Bush Street location is the former home of the Key Klub which billed itself as the "Crossroads of the World". The Mission/Spanish Colonial Revival building still sports the Key Klub’s Pleistocene era neon sign and the airy interior space gets a casual feel from a 30-foot copper-clad bar and exposed brick walls. Between the barstools, tables and banquettes of the main floor and mezzanine, there’s seating for 45.
In addition to a stellar section of beer, Hopwater also has an artisan pub menu created by chef Bruce Paton. The San Francisco native earned ample cred as the host of numerous beer-pairing events around the Bay Area as well as working at Barclay's Restaurant and Pub, The Claremont Resort and Spa in Berkeley, The Cathedral Hill Hotel, and the Redwood Room where he became executive chef.
The Hopwater menu includes Angus burgers, sliders and other sandwiches, beer-battered pickled beets, deviled eggs, charcuterie and cheese plates, and seasonal delectables like Dungeness-crab-tots. Guinea suggests checking their Facebook page in the future to see the updated beer and food menus.
Hopwater Distribution’s hours are Sunday-Wednesday, 5-11pm, and Thursday-Saturday, 5pm-1am. Don’t bother calling for reservations; it’s first come first served.