Yet another Beer Week is upon us here in the Bay Area. Here’s my annual list of events I would attend if I had the week off, could be in multiple places at once, and a cast-iron liver.
All events are pay as you go unless otherwise noted.
Opening Gala, Pier 35, SF — 6pm (5pm VIP)
What hasn’t already been said about the mother of all beer bashes? Hundreds upon hundreds of beers, many made just for Beer Week, great food, yadda, yadda, yadda. Do yourself a favor — have a plan, pace yourself, and hydrate! Don’t even think you’re gonna be able to try all of these. $80, $125 VIP. [Full disclosure, the Bay Area Brewers Guild has covered my entry for the event. Thanks guys!]
After sleeping off the debauchery from the previous night, any events this day will have to be late afternoon/early evening. That said:
Moksa Special Release, Holy Water, SF — 4pm
Got introduced to Moksa Brewing at last year’s Celebration of Craft. Just amazing stuff coming out of this brewery in Rocklin, about an hour NE of Sacramento. The release in question is a WL Weller barrel-aged stout, and they’ll have other offerings, as well. Should be tremendous.
Johnny Doughnuts & Pond Farm Brewing Collaboration Release Party — Pond Farm Brewing, San Rafael, 11am-3pm
I work in San Rafael, so I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy Pond Farm’s terrific brews (including the GABF Bronze-medal-winning Devil’s Gulch Hazy IPA) many times. The Old-Fashioned Donut Stout should be amazing. Side note — JD has an outpost just down the street, next to the Pint Size Lounge, the diviest beer bar this side of Toronado.
Coast Side Brew Bus, Pacifica Brewery, Pacifica — 11:30am-3:30pm
$75 gets you on a bus to travel along the coast from Pacifica Brewery to Pedro Point Brewing, Half Moon Bay Brewing, and Hop Dogma Brewing. Are you kidding?
Pinball & Pints, Pacific Pinball Museum, Alameda — 2-6pm
I adore pinball. As a kid we even a machine in our house, which was the coolest thing ever. $50 gets you unlimited tastings from at least 10 breweries, and free play on more than 100 machines. TILT!
Too many great things on this day. My highlights:
Bigfoot Vertical, Sierra Nevada Torpedo Room, Berkeley — Noon
Bet you forgot about the Torpedo Room, didn’t ya? SN is still in my top five breweries, and they’ve released their 40th Anniversary ale this month. Anyway, offerings here supposedly to date back to 2014. If you like aged beer, this is the place.
L•Oak*als Only, Beer Revolution, Oakland — Noon
I’m an East Bay native, and I’m all about the local. Oakland’s beer scene is just stupid great these days, and there’s no better place to enjoy them than the East Bay’s answer to the Toronado, Beer Revolution.
Peet’s & 21st Amendment 1966 Release Party, 21st Amendment Brewpub, SF — 6-9pm
Two of my favorite things on the planet are beer and Peet’s coffee. They’ve collaborated with 21st Amendment on a Coffee IPA. HELLOOOOO!!
The Roost 2020, Night 4, Picnic on 3rd, San Francisco — 7-10pm
Henhouse Brewing’s wildly popular popup restaurant The Roost returns, with a different cuisine each night. This night it’s Southern Spanish with Chef Christina Alexis of The Pleasure Principle. Four courses, each paired with beer, $75. They had me at Henhouse.
#WomxnCrushWednesday, The Rare Barrel, Berkeley — 4pm
Although there has been some progress, the industry in general still has a representation problem. This event hopes to do something about that. Featuring beers from breweries with womxn in leadership roles, as well as presentations on hiring/training practices, resume building, interview skills, and networking from leading womxn in the industry.
Game Night: Cards Against Humanity Tournament, Laughing Monk Brewing, SF — 6pm
Please note, Cards Against Humanity is all sorts of wrong, so this event is best avoided by those with weak constitutions and poor senses of humor. The rest of you will laugh your asses off.
Changing Hands, The Alembic, San Francisco — 4pm
As I said, I’m all about the local, and it doesn’t get more local than this. The event organizers say it best:
“We are teaming up with Admiral Maltings to give you an experience unlike any other. Try beers that have been made with local malt, which has also been fed to livestock producing local cheeses, and have a fresh hopped cocktail using local hops.”sfbeerweek.org
Morgan Territory & Slow Hand BBQ Takeover, Hops & Scotch, Walnut Creek — 5:30-8:30pm
If you can’t swing the trip all the way to Tracy, head to the Dub-C to get your Morgan Territory fix. They make some amazin’ beer (Motorboatin’ IPA is a fave), and paired with some killer BBQ? What’s not to love?
Dessert and Beer Pairing w/Live Music, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, SF — 3pm
Sweets. Dancing. Beers. A chance to visit the resurrected Speakeasy. MY heart’s all aflutter.
‘80s Prom Night Valentine’s w/Modern Times, The Willows, SF — 6pm
I was a teen in the ‘80s (Ferris Bueller is STILL the greatest movie of all time, and I’ll fight you), and I LOVE Modern Times, so here you go. Complete with an all ‘80s playlist AND prizes for best outfits. Although there’s no way I can squeeze into my Miami Vice suit anymore.
For the beer geeks, I was reeeeally tempted to go with Rich Higgins’ Beer Immersion trip to Alameda. Yes, it’ll run you $175, but you leave from Fort Point at the Ferry Building, take a ferry to Alameda, and hit Faction Brewing, Admiral Maltings (with lunch at The Rake), and Almanac Brewing. Just an amazing day-long event. But…
5th Annual East Bay Non-IPA Tap Takeover, Tiger’s Taproom, Oakland — 2pm
If you’re like me, your palate is probably hop-saturated by now. So stop by Tiger’s just off of Jack London Square and reset yourself.
Celebration of Craft, Trumer Brewery, Berkeley — 4-8pm
I attended last year, and will again this year (thanks, CCBA!). This successor to the (in)famous Celebrator party is the unofficial closing event of Beer Week, and a great bookend (or alternative) to the Gala monstrosity. $65 gets you a meal ticket (food is good!), unlimited pours, and a manageable crowd. And let me tell you, there’s some great stuff here. A certain extremely limited TIPA from the North Bay was poured here last year, and the lines weren’t incredibly stupid.
3rd Anniversary Party, East Brother Beer Co., Richmond — Noon
Another shout-out to one of my locals. East Brother is old school. No glitters, bruts, or hazys. Just solid core beers, with an emphasis on outstanding lagers (including their GABF Silver-Winning Bo Pils), and a great cast of rotating seasonals. And a bonus — they’re releasing a California Common collaboration with Admiral Maltings and Gigayeast. Trust me, these guys have it dialed in.
So there you have it. And if for some bizarre reason these events don’t brew your beer, check out sfbeerweek.org for the entire lineup. It’s statistically impossible for there NOT to be something close to you that you’ll dig. Cheers, y’all!