It’s been a busy summer for craft beer in San Francisco, with six new places opening in almost as many weeks. If you're inspired to seek out a new place to enjoy a couple of cold ones, pull up a stool at any of the following recently opened bars.
Designed and built by homebrewers, Black Sands was founded on the idea of beer as community. In most brewpubs, you might catch a glimpse of a fermentation tank; at Black Sands, you can watch the brewers make beer, taste it fresh right out of fermenters, see the recipe, and pop into the store next door to pick up everything you need to begin brewing yourself. If you want a bit more hand-holding, sign up for a class. Like the brewery, the kitchen here is completely open for your viewing pleasure, and, true to form, the Cal-inspired dishes are crafted to be enjoyed with the house-made beer. // 701 Haight St. (Lower Haight), blacksandsbeer.com
In late June, former Press Club GM Kristian Cosentino realized his audacious dream of opening the definitive SF booze mecca: a 6,000 square-foot bar and restaurant pouring 52 draft beers, 115 wines by the glass, and top-quality rare spirits from around the globe. The meat-heavy menu includes squab and tri tip cooked over a firepit. John Montes De Oca, of Mujicians Brewing Company, will be manning the in-house brewing system, crafting mostly Belgian style beers, and especially Saisons. Expect them to tap the first batch in late October. // Dirty Water, 1355 Market St. (Mid-Market), dirtywatersf.com
This pub may look and feel like a comfy, low-key Irish alehouse—thanks to Irish owner-cousins Barry Smyth and Micheal McCloskey—but it eats and drinks like San Francisco. Thirty-six taps pour mostly local craft beers, and the kitchen puts out small plates like a maple pork sandwich and beef cheek poutine. Don't miss the beer garden in back that opens to the outside. The pub is a collaboration with Jason Perkins and Michael O’Connor of Brick & Mortar Music Hall, which is conveniently located next door. // Crafty Fox Alehouse, 1700 Mission St. (Misson), craftyfoxsf.com
What originally began as an Indiegogo campaign to outfit John Zirinsky's 1978 Volkswagen Westfalia bus as a roving beer bar for parties turned into a brick-and-mortar venture when funding rocketed past the campaign's $15K target on day one. A few weeks ago, Zirinsky and partners Jimmy Simpson and Bennett Buchanan opened this sweet tavern and brewpub in Bernal with three beers of its own on tap: Lemon Basil Saison, Rye Pale Ale, and Texas Breakfast Porter (on Nitro). Ten guest beers are pouring as well; all of them brewery-direct from Bay Area craft brewers. There’s also a full bar and a hearty menu. The bus, which should be ready soon, will be outfitted with taps, cookers, and a killer sound system. // Old Bus Tavern, 3193 Mission St. (Bernal Heights), oldbustavern.com
Beer nerds will be right to expect that the draft beer program at this new American public house steers towards lower alcohol, a.k.a. "session," beers. Opened this week, the airy 3,500-feet industrial-meets-natural space in the Presidio is the stomping grounds of Master Cicerone Nicole Erny, who taps plenty of variety in her 100-beer collection, including a small-batch, in-house brew. Also look for a solid wine list and wines on tap, a food menu of seasonal share plates, and future collaborations with outstanding homebrewers. // Sessions, 1 Letterman Dr (Presdio), www.sessionssf.com
On days when Karl the Fog is too much to bear, take BART to Oakland’s 19th street station and walk a couple of blocks to enjoy some late afternoon sun and fresh brews at Drake’s Dealership. Formerly a Dodge parts and service department, this repurposed brick building now houses a spacious, relaxed beer garden where you can order wood-fired pizza and brewery-fresh beer. // Drake's Dealership, 2325 Broadway Auto Row (Oakland), drinkdrakes.com
The makers of that iconic Watermelon Wheat are hosting free bash on on August 29 to celebrate the grand opening of their new East Bay brewery and tasting room. Go for live music, food trucks, brewery tours, and, of course, watermelon bowling. Also taste a new beer: Toaster Pastry, an India Red Ale that pays homage to the Kellogg Factory space that 21A now calls home. The ale contains biscuit malts that give it a slightly nutty taste and pale and dark crystal malts that offer more jammy notes. Toaster Pastry is also the first release in the brewery’s new 19.2 ounce can. // 21st Amendment, 2010 Williams St. (San Leandro), 21st-amendment.com