San Francisco's craft brew scene is exploding. While it took the San Francisco Brewers Guild ten years reach its current 20 members, at least nine more breweries are scheduled to open over the next year. And some of them will be unlike anything you've seen before. Let's dive in, shall we?
Mission residents are scheduled to get a huge new brewpub in their neighborhood—specifically, an 18,000-square-foot brewery and vegetarian-friendly restaurant in the 18th and Mission space formerly occupied by a dollar store. Master Cicerone Rich Higgins will not only serve as brewmaster, but will head up a rotating brewery apprenticeship program.
Before Citizen Fox opens, Higgins will host a series of three preview pop-up dinners at Naked Kitchen in the Mission. At these dinners, he’ll curate beer pairings, pour beers, and chat with Citizen Fox's first thirsty guests. The inaugural dinner is slated for Friday, 11/14, and tickets are available online for $55 per person.
And in case you were wondering, Higgins will also be brewing his signature beer, The Big Lebowski White Prussian.
Location: 2205 Mission (at 18th Street)
Targeted Opening: Late February or early March 2015
Local Brewing's co-founders Regan Long and Sarah Fensen are shaping their Bluxome Street warehouse space into a brewpub that serves small batch, craft brews. In addition to beer, Local’s facility will have a kitchen to turn out small plate offerings so customers can snack while enjoying a pint or two. Look for rotating food trucks on Fridays.
Location - 69 Bluxome (between 4th and 5th)
Targeted opening – Spring 2015
Sunset Reservoir Brewing (SRBC)
Outer Sunset residents can look forward to the opening of Sunset Reservoir Brewing, a brewpub offering high-end pub-style food and house-brewed beers. The 6,000 square foot space is the former home of El Grande Produce Market. The first floor will feature a bar, plus about 100 seats; the mezzanine will offer overflow seating or space for private events.
Sunset Reservoir’s owner, Hilary Cherniss, says of her new place, “Sunset Reservoir Brewing will fill an obvious need in the Outer Sunset by offering a family-friendly environment and serving American-style pub food."
Location: 1735 Noriega (between 24th Avenue and 25th Avenue)
Targeted Opening: Late December or early January
Lower Haight will soon be home to Black Sands, a combination brewpub and homebrew supply store. Co-owner Robert Patterson (of Ken Ken Ramen and clothing boutiques Voyager and Revolver) says Black Sands' primary goal is to open source their beer. "In other words, any beer you enjoy in the brewpub, you’ll be able to make at home," he explains. Their supply store next door will sell ingredients as well as the equipment.
Patterson and his crew are also working on a signature series of beers called SMASH, an acronym for Single Malt and Single Hop: One malt type, one hop varietal, yeast, and water. Patterson sees this series as a way to experiment and as a challenge to make excellent beer out of the fewest ingredients. Their first SMASH recipe is currently available at their homebrew shop as a one-gallon starter kit.
Location: 701 Haight Street (at Pierce)
Targeted Opening: Early 2015 for the brewpub; the homebrew supply shop is open weekends
Harmonic Brewing will open in a former Dogpatch warehouse. Partners Ed Gobbo and Jon Verna are longtime friends who left successful careers in chemical engineering and digital advertising to pursue their passion for suds.
In addition to seasonal and one-off brews, Verna says, “The ale we're most excited about is our flagship Rye Old Fashioned Pale, a nod to the classic American cocktail, rye malt gives it a slightly spicy backbone. Cascade and Amarillo hops provide bitterness and brightness and enhance the citrus aromatics. The result is distinct and very drinkable, like a well-crafted cocktail.”
The tap room will be open to the public for beer and snacks on weekends. Decor-wise, look for an industrial feel.
Location: 1050 26th Street (at Minnesota)
Targeted Opening: Spring 2015, ideally in April to sync up with the start of the SF Giants season
A collaboration brewery, tap room, and homebrew supply store in Portola, FDP is the brainchild of Kevin and Shae Inglin, a husband and wife team. In addition to exploring beers from all over the world, they also want the place to act as a "beer incubator"—meaning they will help hired brewmasters develop their own brands so that, one day, they could open their own place.
Location: 2636 San Bruno Avenue
Targeted Opening: Spring/early summer of 2015
Partners Andrew Casteel and Aaron Hicks met at Caltech more than a decade ago, where they discovered a shared passion for homebrewing. And next spring, they'll open their own place in Bayview.
Casteel and Hicks will focus on malt-forward Belgian styles using West Coast hops and seasonal fruit. Expect complex flavors of caramel, coffee, chocolate, sherry, and port in their beers. They also plan to brew hop-forward versions of blonde, amber, wheat, and pale ales to enjoy fresh on draft. Many of their beers will also incorporate local produce, such as their Golden Lemon Drop, which includes candied peels from lemons grown in San Francisco gardens.
Location: 1439A Egbert Avenue (at 3rd Street)
Targeted Opening: May 2015
Black Hammer Brewing in SOMA will focus on American, German, and Czech lagers as well as English ales. Beyond these core styles, expect a steady stream of original seasonal brews and traditional Californian hop-heavy IPAs. One of their first releases will be an English Bitter named Jaded Raver in early 2015, prior to opening.
Owner Jim Furman says of Black Hammer: "Our idea is to create a warm, inviting, and friendly environment for enjoying of our beers, with careful attention paid to the acoustics for comfort and convenience of our clientele."
Location: 544 Bryant (at Third Street)
Targeted Opening: June 2015
Rincon Hill will be the home for Method Brewing, a brewpub and beer garden. But it's more than that. Co-owner Kenton Hokanson explains: "Method Brewing will offer the Bay Area's first truly scientific, data-driven, and open-sourced beers. Founded by scientists and technologists, Method will serve brews perfected by constant creative collaboration and experimentation, using recipes and processes we'll make freely available. Our mission is to blend creativity and empirical science to make the best beer possible, and to share our results with San Francisco.”
Their beers currently run the gamut from a Jalapeño Imperial IPA to a Syrah grape-Belgian dark ale fusion and a fresh grapefruit Shandy.
Location: 326 First Street (at Folsom)
Targeted Opening: Early Summer 2015