SF Beer Week: Our Top Picks
Beer lovers, rejoice! SF Beer Week is almost here, bringing nine days of suds-related fun and excitement to our fair city. From tastings to brewer meet-and-greets to pairing dinners, there's plenty to see and enjoy over the course of the week, and covering it all would be impossible. To help you navigate the festivities, here are a few events that caught our eye.
Housekeeping note: We've been getting a lot of anxious comments from readers interested in getting in on 7x7's party at Anchor Brewing, but that info isn't ready yet. Look for it on the site soon.
SF Brewers' Guild Opening Gala: If you're hoping to sample as many beers as possible, Beer Week's first event is the place to be. Over 35 Northern California breweries, including all of SF's major spots, will be offering tastes of their unique, rare, and collaboration offerings. They'll also have live music and snacks available for purchase. Tickets are available here. (Friday, February 11, 5-9 pm, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., SOMA. Admission is $55 regular and $80 for VIPs.)
Small Batch, Big Thirst: Enjoy the pleasures of beer and food trucks in one great spot, as Le Truc and the Rib Whip team up to provide beer-friendly eats, and a coterie of small-batch brewers offer their wares. If the weather holds, it should be a fun al fresco party. (Saturday, February 12, 2 pm-12 am, at the Trucstop, 246 Ritch St., SOMA. Free admission; just pay for food and beer.)
Frickin' Firkin Tuesday: While Americans tend to drink our beer from kegs, the Brits prefer cask ales, which are unpasteurized, sometimes unfiltered, and served at a slightly warmer temperature. Taste how the cask treatment affects some of your favorite Moonlight and Lagunitas offerings, and enjoy small plates, when the Monk's Kettle takes over Heart on the 15th. It's a great opportunity to enjoy the Kettle's rare beers and tasty food in a big space that won't reach capacity as quickly as their home base. (Tuesday, February 15, 5-11 pm, at Heart, 1270 Valencia St., Mission. Free admission, but they'll be taking cash only for food and beer.)
Hops to Homebrew Workshop: As the head brewer for Mission Gastroclub, Eric Denman brews a lot of beer, providing as many as four different home concoctions for the Gastroclub's weekly dinners. If you're interested in learning how to make your own beer, join Urban Kitchen SF for a workshop with Denman at CUESA. Admission includes a full tutorial in both extract and all-grain brewing and an extract brewing kit to take home, and you're encouraged to bring something to drink while you watch. Register for the class here. (Thursday, February 17, 5:30-8 pm, at CUESA Dacor Teaching Kitchen, 1 Ferry Building, Embarcadero. Admission is $62, and sliding scale is available.)
18th Annual Toronado Barleywine Festival: The event around which Beer Week is based, this celebration of barleywines (yes, a type of beer) takes place at SF's original palace of beer. Over 40 varieties are available, and you can order them in small sizes so you don't get too plowed. (Saturday, February 19 and Sunday, February 20, 10 am-2 am, at Toronado, 547 Haight St., Lower Haight. Free admission; just pay for beer.)
Booze & Brew Brawl: Beer cocktails are fairly new players on the mixology market, so it should be fun to see what the city's top bartenders can come up with when asked to create their own beer concoctions. Firestone Walker will provide the beers, and St. George Spirits the booze, so it won't be too hard to mix up something tasty. If you can't make the culminating event, stop by at some point during Beer Week to try a few of the competitors; they'll be offered from the 11th on. (Monday, February 20, 9 pm-12 am, at 15 Romolo, 15 Romolo Place, North Beach. Free admission; just pay for cocktails.)