San Francisco Beer Week's Ten Best Events


The largest concentration of beer events ever held in the Bay Area kicks off this Friday at the San Francisco Beer Week Opening Celebration in the Concourse Exhibition Center. The premier event gets the week flowing with beers from 78 brewers, local artisan food vendors and several bands. If you go to only one event for Beer Week, this should be it.

If you're thirsty for more, here are some other choice options:

Green Death Resurrection: Each year members of the SF Brewers Guild collaborate on a beer, and this year they reinterpreted one of San Francisco’s former classic ales nicknamed “Green Death” by both fans and detractors. The modern recipe pumps up both the malt and hops, and the resurrected brew will be available around town on draft 'til it runs out.

New Albion Ale: Jack McAuliffe created America’s first modern microbrewery, New Albion Brewing Company, in Sonoma in 1976. Although the company went under in the early 80s, McAuliffe’s ideas about craft brewing inspired everyone who came after him. Jim Koch, brewer and founder of Samuel Adams, in cooperation with McAuliffe, have made New Albion Ale available for the first time in 30 years. Several events in the Beer Week calendar feature the remake of this groundbreaking brew.

Almanac Beer Co.'s Butchers & Beers: This benefit for The Food Pantry includes unlimited tastings from seven breweries, great food, and a whole pig breakdown and butchery demo from acclaimed San Francisco-based chef, butcher, and founder of 4505 Meats, Ryan Farr.

48 Hours of Sour: You won’t find this on the SF Beer Week schedule because it takes place before opening day. All 25 taps at the Press Club will be pouring rare, sour beers by the taste or by the glass. The star attraction will be ales from Brussels's Cantillon brewery, which has been called the beer equivalent of wine’s DRC.

At last count there were over 400 events scheduled for this year’s SF Beer Week.The San Francisco Brewers Guild organizes the events, and the SF Beer Week web site and smart phone apps help you to winnow through the contenders and build your own itinerary. Given the overwhelming number and variety of events, we asked Brian Stechschulte, Executive Director of the SF Brewers Guild and The Man behind SF Beer Week, to provide us with a few recommendations of his own.

Brian responded, “I'm always looking for what's new, different, or off the beaten track. This year I'm gravitating towards events that feature less popular or unusual beer styles that more people should explore."

Here are Brian’s five suggestions:

New Belgium Lips and Clips: Berkeley’s Beta Lounge kicks off Beer Week with handmade films created by New Belgium fans. On tap will be seven of New Belgium's most esoteric beer offerings.

Smoked Beer Flights: Pair your BBQ with unique brews from Social Kitchen, Thirsty Bear, Mill Valley Beerworks, Beach Chalet, Golden Road and Southpaw.

101 North’s 1st Annual Disc Golf Extravaganza: Massive bragging rights and prizes await the winners of both team and individual categories in this disc golf competition sponsored by 101 North Brewing Company. The SF Disc Golf Club will also be on hand with discs for those who need them. Email for more details.

Alaskan Brewing Eco-Hike on Mount Sutro: Take a guided, educational loop-hike to the top of Mount Sutro that starts and ends at Kezar Bar. Along the way, you’ll learn some of the history of the mountain dating back to 1880, locate some rare native plants, take a tour of a Native Plant Nursery and summit the city's third-highest peak. The Sutro Stewards will host the mid-way rest stop at the UCSF Community Center, and feature a complimentary sampling of beers from the Alaskan Brewing Company. Upon returning to Kezar Bar there will be outstanding organic food and Alaskan Beer specials.

Cerveceria & Bi-Rite Creamery Salted Caramel Ale Release: These Mission neighbors got together to create "Salted Caramel Ale," an homage to B-Rite’s signature Salted Caramel ice cream. Come try the beer side by side with the ice cream to see how they did.

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