There's a locally sourced bar in a grocery store now. Seriously, how beer-obsessed can we get?
This week I ventured out to Steep Brew, the brand new artisan beer bar at The Whole Foods in Potrero Hill (450 Rhode Island). They're currently trying on 16 beer taps for size in lieu of the ground level's former—and dare I say much less exciting—prepared foods and a pastry case. It's hard to escape that supermarket glow, but Steep Brew is making valiant efforts to get your mind off your shopping list.
There are two TVs (one looping Princess Bride on our visit: Awesome), bar-top seating, an open kitchen surrounding a wood-fired oven, and even a beer master. Wesley Anderson poured a flight of his four favorite small-production local beers on my visit, instructing me to start with the lightest: A seasonal Almanac Belgian White flavored with orange peel and ginger "from local farms." Next up was a pink-tinged hibiscus saison from Soma's Pacific Brewing Lab. Then things progressed into heavier territory with Dying Vines' "Hop Candi," which was unusually multi-dimensional and light on the hops for an IPA. Magnolia's roasty, smoky cole porter was the closer.
The kitchen sent out some mouth-numbing Mary's air-chilled buffalo wings to pad our stomachs. They were the best thing we ate, and although I wouldn't necessarily go back here for the food, I would certainly consider driving across town to shop at this particular Whole Foods after a long hard day at work.
Steep Brew (450 Rhode Island) is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., featuring local coffees, over 20 bottled in beers, and free wifi in addition to the above. At the daily happy hour (5 to 6 p.m.) beers and tasting flights are $1 off.