SF Beer Week suggestions for Saturday

When barley wines are on the horizon, you know Beer Week is staggering to an end. Also on Saturday, a sneak peek at Magnolia’s new brewpub in Dog Patch, a nighttime Bay cruise, Wet Your Whistles Caltrain Pub Crawl, Moa Beer from New Zealand, and the new Fogbelt Brewery and Tap Room in Santa Rosa. Oh, and some sightings of The Younger.

Saturday, Feb. 15                                    

Toronado Barleywine Festival
Beginning Saturday, Toronado Pub in the Haight surrenders all of its taps to hoppy American-style barleywines for its 21st Annual Barleywine Festival. Doors may open at the regular time, 11:30 a.m., or earlier. Or they may not open until later if setting up takes longer than expected. In any event expect a horde of hop-craving beer drinkers elbowing their way toward mostly truculent beer servers who have little patience for questions, hesitation or any form of human interaction (pick up a menu when you come in). Unless you care to risk verbal abuse and possibly physical harm, do not shout and do not wave money at the servers. You may attempt furtive eye contact. They know you’re there and that you want to drink beer. If you’re lucky you will leave sated with hoppy beer with your dignity intact. The festival continues until all of the barleywine kegs are kicked, which can extend into the following week.
When: 11:30 (more or less)-2 a.m.
Where: Toronado Pub, SF
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: MUNI

Magnolia Beer Brunch
The corollary to the Toronado Barleywine Festival is Magnolia’s beer brunch. Doors open at 9 a.m. for some much-needed nourishment before you embark upon your barleywine pilgrimage down the street. Choose from a full English breakfast, Magnolia-style, paired with Magnolia’s signature English bitters, or the time-honored German weisswurst and hefeweizen combo. Saturday will kick off with a limited release of a vintage version of Magnolia’s own Old Thunderpussy Barleywine. Breakfast will be served Saturday and Sunday.
When: 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Where: Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery, SF
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: MUNI

It’s Time for Barleywine
If the madness at the Toronado gets to be too much, check out Noc Noc next door, which will be having a mini-barleywine celebration of its own, featuring Napa Smith Grateful Dog, North Coast Old Stock Ale, Marin Brewing Old Dipsea, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot and Dogfish Head Old School. Not as many barleywines as the Toronado, but a lot less abuse.
When: 10 a.m.-2 a.m.
Where: Noc Noc
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: MUNI

Smokestack BBQ Sneak Peek Party
Celebrate Magnolia’s new location in Dogpatch. Festivities include tours of the brewery, meet and greet with Magnolia’s brewers, an array of Magnolia ales (including some made at the new brewery), a one-of-a-kind shandy, and (construction gods willing) some of the first bites from the new Smokestack BBQ kitchen.
When: 6-9 p.m.
Where: Magnolia Brewing Co., SF
How much: $40
Best way to get there: Caltrain, MUNI

Belgian Style Beer Bash
American versions of Belgian-style ales from Allagash and the Bruery, with Allagash’s own Rob Todd in attendance. Allagash beers will include James Bean, Confluence, Interlude batch #2719, Bourbon Barrel Aged Black 2012, Very Special Beige, Yakuza and Oddysey. The Bruery chimes in with Loakie Red, Sour in the Rye, Grey Monday, Melange #1, Batch 1000, Smoking Wook and Tart of Darkness.
When: 4-10 p.m.
Where: Public House at AT&T Park, SF
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: MUNI

24 Hours of Darkness
Amsterdam Café hosts Midnight Sun and Alaskan Brewing from the 49th state. Alaskan beers will include Freeride, Troppelbock, Barleywine, Amber and White. Darcy from Midnight Sun will bring Joan of Arctic, Rhino Coffee Porter, Arctic Devil and many more, including some new releases.
When: 6 p.m.-midnight
Where: Amsterdam Café, SF
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: MUNI

Mikkeller Spontan Beer Tasting
Thomas Schon, lifetime member of the worldwide beer mafia, will preside over four selections from the Mikkeller Spontan Series, accompanied by snacks from the kitchen. This intimate tasting flight and presentation will be limited to 22 people and will be held in the Tivoli Sour Room in the cellar of the Mikkeller Bar. Participants will also take home a limited edition Spontan print by Keith Shore.
When: 6-8 p.m.
Where: Mikkeller Bar, SF
How much: $55
Best way to get there: BART or MUNI

Rosamunde Sausage Grill-Mission

Third Annual Craft Beer and Sausage Eating Contest
Yes, craft beer is usually a sausage fest. But Rosamunde makes a contest out of it. See how many Rosamunde sausages on a French roll, with two toppings, and at least one craft beer you can consume in five minutes. Any “reversal of fortune” is grounds for disqualification. Cash prizes and gift cards to the winners, and a Rosamunde apron or T-shirt for all participants. 21 and over only.
When: 2-3 p.m.
Where: Rosamunde Mission, SF
How much: $20 entrance fee
Best way to get there: BART or MUNI

Calicraft at Rosamunde
Rosamunde Sausage Grill in the Mission will feature Calicraft beers, including The City IPA, brewed for Beer Week; Cali Coast Kolsch; Oak Town brown ale brewed with 3 types of oak cubes; Wobblies wet hop ale; and Buzzerkeley, a sparkling ale brewed with champagne yeast and star thistle honey. Beer and sausages, yum.
When: 6-10 p.m.
Where: Rosamunde Sausage Grill, SF
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: MUNI or BART

City Beer

Hop To It: 2 Hop Collaboration Project
Two-hop beers featured on draft with brewers barside to talk about the project. Breweries/beers:
Stone Brewing Company - Calypso/El Dorado
Beachwood BBQ Brewery- Citra/Amarillo
Alpine Beer Company - Cascade/Centennial
Kern River Brewing Company- Azacca/Mosaic
Ballast Point Brewing Company- Working on getting it brewed
Berryessa Brewing Company - Warrior/Ahtanum
Moylans Brewing Company- Azacca/Chinook
Triple Rock Brewery - Green Bullet/Nelson
Drakes Brewing Company - Exp #?/?
Faction Brewing - Galaxy/Nelson
When: 1-4 p.m.
Where: City Beer Store, SF
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: MUNI or BART

Waves of Beer with Rip Current
San Diego’s Rip Current (along with Founder and Brewmaster Paul Sangster) takes over the taps at City Beer with:
• Impact Zone IPA
• Lupulin Lust IPA
• Ankle Breaker Sticke Alt
• San Diego-style Hefeweizen
• Barrier Reef Nut Brown
• Cutback Kolsch
• In The Curl IIPA
• Vanilla Storm
• Hazardous Hazelnu
When: 5-9 p.m.
Where: City Beer Store, SF
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: BART or MUNI

Nighttime Bay Cruise with Headlands
90-minute Bay cruise in the wooden vessel The Neptune. Cruise starts at 7 and The Neptune docks at 8:30, after which the vessel becomes a private bar/beer parlor until we decide to leave. Featuring beer from Headlands Brewing Co.
When: 7 p.m.-whenever
Where: Pier 39, Dock 1
How much: $55
Best way to get there: MUNI

San Diego Night at The Willows
San Diego beers and carne asada fries. Beers will include:
Hess Grazias (on nitro)
Ballast Point Sculpin (on nitro)
Ballast Point Victory at Sea
Green Flash Treasure Chest
Green Flash Barleywine
Green Flash Double Stout
Green Flash Super Freak Belgian IPA
Green Flash Serrano Stout
Green Flash Palate Wrecker
AleSmith Nut Brown
AleSmith IPA
Coronado Hibiscus
Coronado Hoppy Daze
When: 5 p.m.-2 a.m.
Where: The Willows, SF
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: MUNI

Saison Spectacular at The Sycamore
The Sycamore in the Mission features its favorite beer style with a special Sycamore/Willows beer brewed by Black Diamond: Redwood Saison. Also:
Saison Dupont
Dupont Saison Avec les Bons Voeux
Allagash Saison
Berryessa Saisonic
Stone Matt's Burning Rosid
Stillwater Debouched
Baeltane En Suite Sauvage (Saison w/ Raspberries)

And from the bottle:
Pretty Things Jack D'Or
When: 5 p.m.-midnight
Where: The Sycamore, SF
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: BART or MUNI

Brewhouse Live at Speakeasy
Beer, food and live music from Sean So Low, Daikon and Cartilage.
When: 4-8 p.m.
Where: Speakeasy Taproom and Brewery
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: MUNI

Peninsula and the South Bay

Wet Your Whistles Caltrain Pub Crawl
All aboard for the fifth annual Wet Your Whistles Caltrain Pub Crawl. It starts at Bierhaus in Mountain View, then on to The Rose & Crown in Palo Alto and Marvin Gardens in Belmont.
When: 1-8 p.m. (depart for train at 2:05)
Where: The Bierhaus, Mountain View
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: Caltrain

The Refuge

The Darkest Day
The Refuge in San Carlos goes dark on Saturday with such deliciously decadent ales as Mikkeller/Amager Collab on Beer Geek Brunch, Goose Island Bourbon County, Lost Abbey Deliverance, Gigantic Brewing Most Premium and many more. Tasting portions available.
When: noon-10:30 p.m.
Where: The Refuge, San Carlos
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: Caltrain

Moa Tap Takeover
The Refuge, Menlo Park, features six draft selections of Moa Beer from Marlborough, New Zealand, made with local ingredients, including New Zealand hops. Rounded off through wine-making techniques like barrel aging and bottle fermentation and conditioning. Tasting portions available.
When: noon-10:30 p.m.
Where: The Refuge, Menlo Park
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: Caltrain

Sour Saturday
Beer buyer Bryan Brick from K&L will man the guest taps at Gourmet Haus with sour beers.
When: 5:30-10 p.m.
Where: Gourmet Haus, Redwood City
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: Caltrain

Ale Arsenal Sour Fest
Ale Arsenal will devote all 24 taps to special kegs of tart and funky beers, including rarities from The Bruery, Almanac, Tahoe Mountain Brewing, New Belgium, Logsdon, De Struise, Goose Island and more. Bottles available to drink on site or take home.
When: 3 p.m.-1 a.m.
Where: Ale Arsenal, San Carlos
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: Caltrain

Pliny the Younger at Smoke Eaters
The Younger will be tapped at 4:20. Tickets go on sale at 11 a.m. Consider yourself warned.
When: 4:30 p.m.-midnight (tickets on sale at 11 a.m.)
Where: Smoke Eaters, Santa Clara
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: designated driver

Second Annual Stone Tap Takeover
Harry’s Hoffbrau promises a killer tap list from Stone Brewery, along with members of the Stone crew.
When: 3-11 p.m.
Where: Harry’s Hoffbrau, San Jose
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: designated driver

East Bay

Japan Beer Fest
There’s more to Japanese beer than Sapporo.
The Trappist and Umami Mart team up to bring the flavors of Japanese craft beer to Oakland. Ten Japanese beers, with flights available, to enjoy with “Pastramen” (pastrami ramen) on the patio.
When: noon-6 p.m. (or whenever they run out)
Where: The Trappist, Oakland
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: BART

Barrel Aged Festival
Albany Taproom holds its first barrel aged festival: 32 taps, all barrel aged, including Deschutes Abyss, Goose Island Bourbon County, Prairie The Beer That Saved Christmas, and many more. Entry fee includes a five-ounce snifter and six tickets. Extra tickets for $3. Full Grazzy Burgers.
When: noon-11 p.m.
Where: Albany Taproom
How much: $40 for 6 tickets and a snifter ($3 additional tickets)
Best way to get there: designated driver

Ballast Point Tap Takeover
Beer Revolution will feature more than 30 beers from Ballast Point Brewing.
When: noon-midnight
Where: Beer Revolution, Oakland
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: BART


Grillin and Chillin
Try all the special beers Drake’s brewed for Beer Week, with food trucks parked nearby to provide the sustenance.
When: noon-9 p.m.
Where: Drake’s Barrel House
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: BART or designated driver

Beer and CA Cheese Pairing Seminar
Local cheese expert Kirstin Jackson, author of “It’s Not You, It’s Brie,” will preside over beer and cheese pairings with six Drake’s beers with California cheeses, both classic and rare.
When: 3-5 p.m.
Where: Drake’s Barrel House, San Leandro
How much: $15
Best way to get there: BART or designated driver

East Bay Breweries Tap Takeover
The Pig & The Pickle Ale Industries Marketplace hosts selections from each of the East Bay breweries, and will feature food from local vendors.
When: 3-10 p.m
Where: The Pig & The Pickle, Concord
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: BART

North Bay

Lupercalia Festival
Join Baeltane Brewing to observe the ancient Lupercalia festival, held to avert evil spirits and to purify the city. Two special IPAs from Baeltane will help exorcise the demons. Music and food vendors.
When: 2-9 p.m.
Where: Baeltane Brewing
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: designated driver (or chariot)

Fogbelt Brewing Grand Opening
Celebrate the grand opening of Santa Rosa’s newest brewery and tap room, Fogbelt Brewing Company.
When: noon-8 p.m.
Where: Fogbelt Brewing, Santa Rosa
How much: pay as you go
Best way to get there: designated driver

SF Beer Week 2014: pig and beer, cheek by jowl

Beer seems to have a natural affinity for pork. There’s something about the greasiness and saltiness of pork—especially the fattier parts of the pig—that just seems to lend itself, cheek by jowl, to the bitterness of hops and the subtle funkiness of saisons.
Pork and beer also go well together at any time of the day, as we discovered at Drake’s Fourth Annual Sau & Brau and Social Kitchen’s Valentine’s Day Beer Breakfast on Friday.
Drake’s Brewery and Barrel House in San Leandro once again celebrated the sublime union of pig and beer on Wednesday, with Sau & Brau IV: Quatros Porcos. By now any rough edges have been smoothed away and the event runs like a well-oiled machine: just the right number of friendly people and plenty of food, once again expertly prepared by Oakland’s own Chop Bar.

Drake’s also featured a dazzling assortment of ales, many of them strong and aged in barrels, like Puckersmith Sour, a hefeweizen aged in cabernet barrels with honey wheat and brett; Bourbon Barrel Drakonic Imperial Stout, Hop Sandwich on Rye (made in conjunction with Faction and Triple Rock), Bourbon-Induced Fowl Play (a collaboration with Henhouse in Petaluma), Spicy Chocolate Alliance (an SF Beer Week collaboration with Beachwood BBQ & Brewing of Long Beach) and many more. I particularly enjoyed the Hop Sandwich with the fatty pork and tasty side dishes, and Bourbon Barrel Aged Drakonic with the “brownie” like dessert named Elvis, made with banana, peanut butter and, of course, bacon.

Social Kitchen and Brewery in San Francisco also celebrated pork and beer at its Valentine’s Day Beer Breakfast. Head Chef Chris Wong’s signature Pork Belly Fried Rice struck just the right notes paired with Social Kitchen Head Brewer Kim Sturdavant’s seasonal peppery/funky Saison du Semillon, made with juice from Semillon grapes. Pork Belly Fried Rice is regularly served at brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Beware: it is dangerously addictive.


Lost Abbey brings a little bit of Belgium to City Beer

Two longtime California beer institutions came together on Tuesday of SF Beer Week, to the delight of sour beer lovers.

Tomme Arthur, head brewer of Lost Abbey Brewing near San Diego, was one of the first American beer makers to successfully brew, blend and barrel-age Belgian-style ales spontaneously fermented with Brettanomyces wild yeast.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco craft beer party was just getting started several years ago when Craig and Beth Wathen arrived on the scene, surveyed the landscape and concluded that opening a beer store might not be a bad idea. That at a time when selling craft beer wasn’t the no-brainer it is today.
Fast forward to today, and both Lost Abbey and City Beer have done pretty well for themselves, and have inspired legions of followers and imitators along the way.  Lost Abbey and City Beer have built well-run businesses and iconic brands by focusing on uncompromising quality and constant innovation. Neither got where they are today by resting on the laurels of early success, and they have set a high bar for the rest of the industry to measure up to, both in California and across the country.
City Beer is hosting several meet the brewer events during SF Beer Week, and the quality of the beer that flows from the taps on Folsom Street is a testament to the high esteem in which City Beer is held by brewers far and wide.
Not surprisingly, Lost Abbey brought some of its very best “non-denominational” barrel-aged beers, served at precisely the right temperature fresh from kegs—Cuvee de Tomme, Red Poppy Ale, Framboise de Amorosa and Deliverance—along with Mongo IPA and Mayan Apocalypse Judgment Day.
Lost Abbey has been making its raspberry-infused framboise for five years, and Arthur said this year’s version is the best one yet. Raspberry aromas leap out of the glass and onto the palate, delightfully refreshing, full of tart fruit and yet dry and complex. Just an amazing beer.

Lost Abbey’s take on the classic Belgian cherry-infused Kriek, called Red Poppy, tastes a lot like tart, dried Montmorency cherries, only it’s a beer and a delicious one at that.
Cuvee de Tomme is a massive beer. The base beer is a brown ale made from four fermentable sugars: malted barley, raisins, candi sugar and sour cherries. The beer ages for a year with the sour cherries and wild Brettanomyces yeasts inoculated into the barrel. The result is a beer that seems to evolve as it warms in the glass with each sip a new delight.
Enjoying these beers fresh on tap at City Beer was a revelation.