Two storied city drinkeries get a refresh. We let them duke it out for the title of Top Brewhaus.
SENIORITY: After seventeen-and-a-half years in Upper Haight, the second location of this beloved brewery opened in May, so it’s just a wee babe.
NABES: Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous, Serpentine, Piccino
ATMO: A 1915 industrial office building that’s survived an earthquake and now contains a microbrewery. The afternoon sun is diffused through newspaper-covered windows,
casting an amber light on floors that were installed, removed, patched, and reinstalled to provide a sense of gentle aging.
HISTORICAL NOD: By removing the first-floor ceiling to open up the space, the original second-floor doors appear to float above ensconced drinkers.
CROWD: Neighborhood denizens, bio-tech workers, riders of the N & T lines, loyal fans of the Haight original.
FOOD FACTOR: Barbecue from in-house joint Smokestack; meats (pork, beef, chicken, and duck) by the pound and in jerky or stick form.
RECLAIMED CHEF: Dennis Lee of Namu Gaji
ON TAP: Twenty house-brewed beers and lots of American whiskeys featured in cocktails, such as the Dutchman’s Flat (rye, ginger, honey, lemon, toasted nori, and beef bouillon)
SUDS STEWARD:Dave McClean—owner, brewmaster, and founder of SF Beer Week
SENIORITY: More than 100 years old (the 1893 original was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, but rebuilt soon after), it’s considered the OG of beer halls.
NABES: In the heart of FiDi, near Tadich Grill and Perbacco
ATMO: Bavarian brewhaus, complete with steins and boots, and century-old Hermann Richter murals (hello, handsy paramour in an apple orchard) of the suds-soaked life in Germany
HISTORICAL NOD: B Signs and steins from the previous incarnation are displayed in glass cases throughout, elevating their existence to an art exhibit.
CROWD: Young suits with business accounts; patrons with beer locker memberships
FOOD FACTOR: Bavarian grub, including a classic Wiener schnitzel ($24), spätzel, and pickles
RECLAIMED CHEF: Manfred Wrembel, formerly of Incanto and Plum
ON TAP: A variety of pils, citrusy saisons, hearty ales, and cocktails, such as the Derby Radler (Magnolia’s Kalifornia Kolsch, bourbon, sage liqueur, fennel seed syrup, and lemon)
SUDS STEWARD: Rich Higgins, consultanting master cicerone (aka beer somm)