What Are Our Local Breweries Up to These Days?
The number of craft brews available in the US continues to skyrocket. Craft beer now accounts for over 10% of the beer sold in US supermarkets, double the share it had in 2006. And last year saw the total number of the nation’s breweries approach 2,000, a number not seen since before Prohibition began in 1920.
San Francisco continues to contribute more than our share of great beers. Already this year we’ve had two new brewpubs open: Southern Pacific Brewery on Treat Avenue in January and Cervecería de MateVeza at 18th and Church last weekend.
Given the trend, we thought it was a good time to see what a few of our more dynamic local brewers are up to and what they have planned for the remainder of the year.
Almanac Brewing – Founders Jesse Friedman and Damian Fagan have been releasing farm-to-bottle seasonal ales since last summer’s Belgian-style ale brewed with blackberries. Their latest seasonal, a Bier de Mars, will be on tap and in bottles next month.
Jesse noted they recently started brewing their beer at the Hermitage in San Jose, which has the space they’ll need as they continue to expand. Upcoming plans include developing a line of year-round beers to compliment the seasonals and bottling their brew in 12 ouncers in addition to their current 750 mL bombers. Jesse added that Almanac also has an extensive barrel aging program going and that those beers should be released starting in late summer or early fall.
Local Brewing – The biggest recent change for founders Regan Long and Sarah Fenson is their application for a California Small Beer Manufacturer License (Type 23) which in the short term will allow them to brew
independently at Thirsty Bear Brewing and may eventually help them realize their goal of opening a brewpub in San Francisco. At SF Beer week this year, Local released their Ocean Beach Porter, a mildly hoppy session brew which is still on tap at Thirsty Bear, Amsterdam Cafe, Piccino, Dark Horse Inn and Bloodhound. The brewers plan to release several additional small batch beers during the year while they look for investment partners and a brewery location to call home.
Pacific Brewing Lab - Founders Bryan Hermannsson and Patrick Horn recently moved the brewing operation from their garage at Clara Street in San Francisco to Devil’s Canyon Brewery in Belmont. The duo plans to focus their energies on brewing and selling their Squid Ink, a dark IPA, and Nautilus, a Belgian Saison made with Hibiscus, to an increasing number of bar and restaurants in northern California with a possibility of expanding distribution to the rest of the state later this year. They’ll also participate in the Bold Beers
+ Crafty Cocktails event this week and the International Brewfest at the end of the month.
Triple Voodoo – For a brewer that’s just passed its one year anniversary during SF Beer Week last February, Triple Voodoo has been crazy busy with new projects. They've already added three new beer styles: Grand Cru, a Saison made with honey and blue agave nectar, a White IPA, and Kaleidoscope, a black IPA that includes black and green teas. Co-founder Greg Kitchen reports that they are also working on a barrel aging project. Finally, Greg reports that Triple Voodoo’s new Master Brewer, Devin Stephens, is working on even more new brews for release this summer.