(Courtesy of California Rum Fest)

3 Big Beer Bashes, a Rum Festival + a Margarita Mix-Off

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A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure. ~Czech proverb



Margarita Mix-Off + Taco Knockdown

The four-day Eat Drink SF festival is best known for its Grand Tastings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but our favorite event is Thursday's Taco Knockdown and Margarita Mix-Off at Folsom Street Foundry. A dozen local chefs will vie for the taco title in a live competition, with a panel of expert judges to determine the best overall winner. Grazing guests will also be voting for the People's Choice winner. Meanwhile, the Milagro Margarita Mix Off will feature four local bartenders facing off with their creative takes on the margarita. Tickets are available online for $85 each and include tacos, beer, wine, and cocktails. // 1425 Folsom St. (SoMa), eatdrink-sf.com


California Rum Festival

Before the American War of Independance, rum was the most consumed spirit in the U.S. If The Rum Lab has its way, history will repeat itself this weekend. The organizers of the 2nd California Rum Fest are convening more than a dozen rum brands and experts— including distillers, mixologists, and historians—for two rum-soaked sessions at SOMARTS Cultural Center. Friday's Rum Aficionado Session ($70) includes seminars, tiki cocktails, and access to a tasting room with more than 60 expressions of rums. Saturday's Rum Bazaar is a 5-hour rum market featuring tropical rum cocktails ($5-$10), local arts and crafts, and live music. Tickets are available online. // 934 Brannan St (SoMa), californiarumfestival.com


ThirstyBear's 20th Birthday Beer Bash

ThirstyBear Organic Brewery is turning 20, which is an excellent excuse for San Francisco's longest operating brewery-restaurant to host a big ol' beer bash this Saturday, from 1pm to 5pm. The anniversary party will feature whole-roasted pigs, festival-sized paellas, artisan cheeses, live bluegrass music, flamenco dancing, specialty cocktails, 40+ craft beers, and a special wet-hopped, nitrogen-conditioned anniversary ale crafted by brewmasters Ron Silberstein and Brenden Dobel. ThirstyBear will also release its last barrel of Dark Age—a strong, vintage, barrel-aged beauty—and pour cask conditioned ales, sours, seasonals, hop-bombs, and barrel-aged beers from two dozen local breweries. Tickets are available online for $45. // 661 Howard St. (SoMa), thirstybear.com


Drake's Brewing Hosts Patio Party for 27th Birthday

Drake's Brewing Co. is also celebrating an anniversary. The San-Leandro-based craft brewery is turning 27 and throwing a parking lot party to commemorate the occasion. On Friday from 4pm to 9pm, guests can enjoy live music from a Prince tribute band, unlimited tastings of Drake's brews and guest beers, and food from Slow Hand BBQ, Docs of the Bay and Drake's Brew! Kitchen. Attendees will get a first taste of this year's five Aroma Series brews and can try beers from eight alumni brewers. In addition, the Drake's team will hold specially-timed tappings and tastings of rare barrel-aged and sour brews from the cellar. Admission is $35 in advance, $75 pre-sale for VIP packages, or $40 at the door. Bring along a designated driver (for only $10), or take advantage of the free shuttle from (and back to) the San Leandro BART station. // 1933 Davis St. Bldg. 177 (San Leandro), drinkdrakes.com


21st Amendment's expansive new tasting room in San Leandro.(Courtesy of 21st Amendment)

21st Amendment Launches AugustFest

You might as well book a room in San Leandro, because Drake's neighbor, 21st Amendment Brewery, is launching AugustFest on Saturday, timed to coincide with the first anniversary of their new brewing facility in San Leandro. At the inaugural event, slated for this Saturday from noon to 8pm, patrons can purchase $5 tickets and exchange them for 8- and 12-ounce beers, food from the 21A food court, and stogies from the on-site cigar lounge. The younger set can play in the Kid's Zone, where they'll find a bouncy house, kettle corn, and face paint. Live music and food trucks are also on tap, along with a covered seating area and free parking in the 21st Amendment parking lot. A free shuttle will be provided all day to and from the San Leandro BART station. // 2010 Williams St. (San Leandro), 21st-amendment.com

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