SF Beer Week kicks off with the Double IPA Festival and sour beers

SF Beer week is less than two weeks away, so it’s not too early to pencil in your itinerary. Keep in mind that more events will be added all the way up to, and even during, Beer Week.

Saturday, Feb. 8

Double IPA Festival
Before the opening night gala, the traditional kickoff of SF Beer Week was the Double IPA Festival at The Bistro in Hayward. Expect lots of people and lots of hops as many of the beers surpass the double IPA boundary and stumble into triple IPA territory, including the legendary Pliny the Younger.
When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: The Bistro, Hayward
How much: $50 for a tasting glass and four pours; additional pours for $2.
Best way to get there: BART

Cask and Chieso: Triple Fermented
Cowgirl Creamery and ThirstyBear team up for unlimited tastings of cask-conditioned ales, from Bay Area breweries such as Magnolia, Sierra Nevada, 21st Amendment, Speakeasy, Freewheel, Cellarmaker, Anchor and ThirstyBear, paired with local and Spanish artisan cheeses. The SF Baking Institute will provide freshly baked specialty breads, including a brewer’s grain bread. This event always sells out, so get your tickets early.
When: 6-9 p.m.
Where: ThirstyBear Brewing Co., San Francisco
How much: $35 advance for unlimited tastings and a ThirstyBear glass; $40 at the door.
Best way to get there: BART or MUNI
Get your tickets here.

Pucker Up

Several events reflect the Bay Area’s current infatuation with “sour” and barrel-aged beers.

United Sours of America
The Monk’s Kettle in the Mission will turn over all 24 of its taps to sours from American breweries. Among the more than 20 breweries represented will be Cascade, Prairie, The Rare Barrel, Russian River (Temptation Batch 6, 2011 and Sanctification 2010, for example), The Bruery, Lost Abbey, Allagash, Boulevard, Logsdon, Evil Twin, Moonlight, New Belgium, Craftsman, Jolly Pumpkin, Golden Road, Avery, Crooked Stave and Almanac. Glass pours from bottles will also be available. Monk’s Kettle will debut its new patio for this event.
When: 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
Where: The Monk’s Kettle, San Francisco
How much: Pay as you go
Best way to get there: BART or MUNI

It’s a Sour World After All
Around the corner from Monk’s Kettle, sister gastropub The Abbot’s Cellar will celebrate imported sours, including Rhubarb Gose and Cantillon Vingeronne, in a four-course tasting menu.
When: Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 8-9, 5:30-10 p.m.
Where: The Abbot’s Cellar
How much: four-course meal without beer is $55; with beer it’s $75. You can make reservations at The Abbot’s Cellar’s website.
Best way to get there: BART or MUNI

Strength & Barrels: Barrel-Aged and Imperial Stout Releases
Triple Rock in Berkeley will feature a flight of barrel-aged beers and its new strong imperial stout, Mister Stout. Bourbon barrel-aged Dragonaut Barleywine and barrel aged Ballyhoo Belgian dark strong will also be released.
When: 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m.
Where: Triple Rock, Berkeley
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: BART

An Evening of Barrel Aged Beers
The Trappist in Oakland will pour The Trappist 50/50, Drakes, Crooked Stave and The Rare Barrel, among others. Expect funk, flavor and tartness.
When: 6 p.m.-1:30 a.m.
Where: The Trappist, Oakland
How much: Pay as you go
Best way to get there: BART

Oregon Brewers Night
Mikkeller Bar SF will welcome Logsdon Farmhouse Brewery and David Logsdon, Ben Love and Gigantic Brewing, and Rick Allen and Heater Allen, among others. Logsdon is scheduled to pour Cerasus, Far West Vlaming and Seizon Bretta. Heater Allen will pour Coastal and Schwarz. And Gigantic will pour its Russian Imperial Stout, Gigantic IPA and Gigantic Pale Ale.
When: 6-11 p.m.
Where: Mikkeller Bar SF, San Francisco
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: BART

Sunday, Feb. 9

Sour Sunday 2014
Triple Rock and Jupiter will showcase “all that is wild, barreled and beautiful in beer.” Featured international breweries at Triple Rock will be Cantillon, To Ol, Strubbe, Mikkeller, Drie Fontenein, Fantome and others. Domestic breweries at Jupiter will include Russian River, Drakes, Almanac, The Bruery, Jolly Pumpkin, Upright, Jester King, Crooked Stave, The Rare Barrell, Sante Adairius and Logsdon.
When: 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Triple Rock and Jupiter, Berkeley
How much: $30 for a glass and five 3oz pours; additional tickets are $4.
Best way to get there: BART

Sour Sunday in PA
For its annual sour beer event, Rose and Crown in Palo Alto will pour sours from Russian River Brewing, Bear Republic, Palo Alto Brewing, plus many more on tap and in bottles.
When: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 a.m.
Where: Rose and Crown, Palo Alto
How much: Pay as you go
Best way to get there: Caltrain

The Sycamore: Hitachino Tap Takeover
The Sycamore will turn over its taps to the Japanese craft brewery with the cute owl on the label. On draft will be Hitachino Nest White Ale, Hitachino Dai Dai Ale, Hitachino Nest Commemorative Ale, Hitachino Nest Real Ginger Brew, Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale and Hitachino Nest Anbai Ale. The Sycamore will also pour from bottles of Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout and Hitachino Next Extra High (XH) Sake Barrel Aged.
(Extra bonus at The Sycamore: kegs from the previous night’s event will be half off while supplies last.)
When: 5 p.m.-2 a.m.
Where: The Sycamore, San Francisco
How much: Pay as you go
Best way to get there: BART

2 Hop Collaboration Project
Beer Revolution will feature beers with two hop varietals from Faction, Kern  River, Alpine, Beachwood, Berryessa, Moylans, Triple Rock, Drakes and maybe Ballast Point.
When: 2 p.m.-midnight
Where: Beer Revolution, Oakland
How much: Pay as you go
Best way to get there: BART

SF Beer Week Celebrates Craft Beer in the Bay Area

Purge your livers, hide the children and head here to organize your schedule. Beer Week is almost upon us. Scores of venues all over the Bay Area have already lined up special beer-related events, from beer donuts to roast pig and from beerwalks to bike crawls, with plenty more to come.
Even though the opening gala on Friday, Feb. 7, is already sold out, no one will go thirsty for lack of beer during the 10-day celebration. The San Francisco Brewers Guild event has grown every year since 2009. Last year’s beer week featured 500 events. This year? Who knows? We only know that it will be more.
Like any great beer event, SF Beer week demands rigorous planning for optimum enjoyment. Or you could just say the heck with it and play it by ear. Either way you can’t lose. Having said that, downloading the calendar on the sfbeerweek, is absolutely essential. The Bay Area being what it is, anticipate heavy traffic on social media. Make sure your smartphone is primed and ready to go.
Stay tuned to this space for specific recommendations as SF Beer Week approaches.

Craft Beer on the Coast: Hop Dogma

After a long drought, craft beer appears to be gaining steam on the coastside. James Costa has rejuvenated the beer at scenic Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. and just down the road, Flavor is poised to introduce some exciting new taps under the guidance of Gabrielle Chan. In Pescadero, Highway 1 Brewing is “turning water into something drinkable.”
On the eastern side of Highway 1, in “downtown” El Granada, Hop Dogma is quickly becoming a neighborhood beer hangout. Even though Hop Dogma’s brewing and maintenance schedule allows the brewpub to only be open on weekends and in the late afternoons on Thursdays and Fridays, the brewpub appears to already be attracting a following. Despite its tiny brewing capacity, Hop Dogma always has several different beers on offer.
Four-ounce beer tasters are often a good idea when visiting a new pub or brewery, as they give you an opportunity to gauge the brewer’s range. Tasters also give you a chance to survey the rest of the board and decide on your next beer. After trying some small pours, including a nicely balanced Trip Away IPA, I decided to sample a half pint of the Lean Mean Vanilla Bean Porter, which turned out to be a very nice “dessert” beer with just a hint of vanilla bean.

Hop Dogma Brewing
30 Avenue Portola
El Granada CA 94018