In the wake of SF Beer Week, there’s no need to mourn the loss of that great sudsy stuff. Beer is inundating local cocktail bars, satisfying hops-lovers and cocktail-aficionados alike. With effervescence similar to champagne or soda, beer adds depth and an infinite range of flavor to cocktails (not to mention a lower proof, making cocktails more sessionable). We’ve seen craft beer get its moment in the spotlight, now experience it as a co-star in the cocktail world. Some might argue beer shines best on its own; others might say beer makes anything better. Whichever camp you fall into, make sure you try the best beer cocktails out there before you make your final decision.
Sick of the cold weather? Nothing says summer like tacos, margaritas, and beer. Let Sabrosa lure you in and make you forget about the rain with their beer cocktail menu. Cool, refreshing, and spicy, these cocktails will light you up in no time. Say cheers with the “Beer and Smoke,” a tantalizing mix of mezcal, lime, celery bitters, and cholula, topped with Dos Equis amber. Or sweeten things up with the “Stay Lady Stay” — fruity pomme lambic, cinnamon bark, and cava. 3200 Fillmore St.
Go Eastern European with the Burritt Room’s exposed brick interior and Czech-inspired cocktail. Relax to live jazz on Tuesday through Saturday nights as you sip on the “Czech Sour,” a wintry, spiced combination of Becherovka, grapefruit bitters, gum arabic, lime, and Czech Pilsner, topped with fresh grated cinnamon. 417 Stockton St.
With its communal tables, shareable bites, and bustling happy-hour, Southside is a friendly bar meant for socializing: the perfect ambiance for swigging bubbly beer cocktails. Try the “Claim Jumper,” a hoppy combination of Aperol, Hop Head vodka, lime juice, and a splash of Anchor’s new IPA. Or, get rich, sweet, and sultry with a “Darker n’ Stormier.” This play on the traditional cocktail combines Zaya rum with ginger syrup, lime, and Peak Organic oak-aged mocha stout. 575 Howard St.
Your neighborhood bar just got crafty: Blackbird combines the comfort of a local bar with craft beers and artisanal cocktails. Fresh ingredients and weathered bartenders make this the perfect place to explore unusual concoctions. Try the “Oaxacan Boardwalk,” a smoky mix of Mezcal, Canton ginger liqueur, lemon, lime, and a pinch of salt, topped with Witte beer (like bartender Matt Grippo’s favorite, Coney Island Albino Python). Or for something less fizzy, try the “Two Shots and a Beer” — a pungent mix of Black Grouse Scotch, Cardamaro, beer syrup, and Fernet Branca. 2124 Market St.
If there’s one thing a BBQ joint knows best, it’s beer. Add to that Hi-Lo’s reputation as a cocktail sanctuary, and you know you’re in the right place for stellar beertails. Warm up with a “Winter Flip,” a soul-warming combination of rye, dark rum, stout beer, Chinese five spice, cherry, cayenne, and whole egg; or lighten things up with the “Linden Street Crush,” a flirty cocktail of rye, spiced vanilla, orange syrup, lime, orange blossom water, and Linden Street brick bitter beer. 3416 19th St.
New to Valencia’s ever-expanding foodie scene, Loló is making a splash with intriguing cocktails, a vibrant interior, and their playful interpretation of Jaliscan-California cuisine. While most cocktails focus on the ubiquitous Mezcal, one of the most popular offerings gets its zing from beer. “The Player” is an herbaceous blend of Cynar, rye, Anchor Steam, and grapefruit bitters. Perfect for cooling down after a spicy meal of Mexican small plates. 974 Valencia St.
Have a favorite beer cocktail we missed? Tell us in the comments!