We’ve assembled a list of the best beer events from now until Oktoberfest, so you can plan accordingly. You’re welcome.
For well over a decade, Magnolia Brewpub and 21st Amendment have been celebrating Strong Beer Month in February. Both breweries craft six beers that boast at least 8% ABV and put them on draft until they run out. Most recently, Social Kitchen & Brewery has instituted Strong Beer Social, a month-long series of events featuring their strong beers - some in casks, some barrel aged and most with food pairings. All these strong beers are perfect for sipping on these long, cold, winter nights.
A ticket to this event at Fort Mason gets you unlimited beer samples from about 75 craft breweries, plus live music and access to food trucks. The SF Craft Beer Fest, which runs from 5:30pm to 8:30pm for general admission or 4:30pm to 8:30pm for VIP, also bills itself as an educational event. Cicerones and industry experts are available to talk with you one-on-one and lead sit-down seminars for groups. The next and final batch of discounted tickets goes on sale March 6; be sure to get them on that date as general admission tickets go on sale the next day, March 7.
April is sunny and warm in the East Bay, which means the Bay Area Craft Beer Fest in the Martinez Waterfront Park makes for a fine afternoon of unlimited tastings. Tickets are $35 if bought online or $45 the day of the event. Tasting hours run from noon till 4pm, with the requisite food and live music. Avoid traffic by taking Amtrak to the Martinez station and walking to the waterfront park. Or take BART to the North Concord station and catch a free shuttle. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Martinez Rotary and Foster a Dream, which helps provide skills to foster youth.
The second Cider Summit in the Presidio features 120 ciders from 30 local and international cider makers, as well as specially paired food selections from Whole Foods and Slow Hand BBQ. Tickets go on sale February 16, and your $35 advance ticket gets you ten tastings. You can also buy advance tickets at Whole Foods beginning in early March and, if the event has not sold out, tickets will be available for $40 cash at the gate. Additional tastings are available onsite at $2 per ticket. Ciders are expanding way beyond a blend of apple varietals to include pears, berries, citrus fruits, herbs, flowers, and spices, so this is the best opportunity of the year to sample the wide variety of ciders available. The Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research, Berkeley Humane Society, and the California Cider Association will benefit from ticket sales.
This extremely popular beer fest at Fort Mason has been running since 1984 and always sells out the first day tickets go on sale. The event features unlimited tastes from more than 80 breweries and, unlike many other beer fests, food is included in the ticket price. All proceeds benefit Tel-Hi Co-op school. Tickets go on sale St Patrick’s Day, March 17, at 9am: $75 for general admission; $150 for VIP. The VIP ticket gets you in early and also gives you access to an exclusive area upstairs that has swag, food, and beer.
Dozens of craft breweries pour from 1 to 5 pm at the scenic Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville. There’s live music and food for sale. This year’s theme is Super Heroes, so bring the mask and cape, but remember that lycra onesies clash with porta-potties. If you want to take advantage of the RV and tent camping options, get to the fairground early Friday to secure a camp site. Tickets are scheduled to be sold via the website in mid-March. Pre-sale tickets will be $40 and $60 at the gate on day of the event. The fest is a benefit for many Anderson Valley Area Non-profits and the California Small Brewers Association.
This year’s bash is still being planned, with a target date of June 20. Check the website for details later this month. General admission ticket price was $50 last year, and we expect them to bring back the VIP Godfather's Club ticket, which gets you access to the Tap Room, a collectible poster, and a specialty lineup of rare beers to taste.
The event, now in its 15th year, brings together 80+ breweries, several cider houses and wineries, and hundreds of local beer lovers enjoying live music, food and unlimited tastings Tickets will be available sometime this spring. While the event has sometimes been at Fort Mason, this year it's at Fairground Island in San Rafael. All proceeds benefit the Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic (CMCC), a landmark public health clinic that provides free complementary alternative medicine, supportive services and social services to women battling cancer and poverty.