The SF Beer Week Opening Gala is sold out. If you’re fortunate enough to have a ticket, you’ll have some decisions to make once you make it inside.
SF Brewers Guild Director Joanne Marino announced that although this year’s venue at Pier 35 will be larger, not many more tickets were sold. The extra space will be taken up primarily by additional local breweries. Altogether, 112 breweries – most of them from the Bay Area counties — are participating at this year’s gala.
No one will be able to drink all of the beer from 112 breweries, so pace yourself, drink plenty of water and have some food. The idea is to taste different beers, not try to drink everything. (One of my colleagues brings a Sharpie to mark how far he wants the servers to fill his glass.)
I’ve narrowed the 112 breweries down to a more manageable list that I intend to visit first. After that, I’ll ask friends what they’ve had and play it by ear.
The Top 5
These are the breweries that are likely to have the longest lines and will likely run out of at least some of their beers.
Almanac: anything and everything they put out is worth trying
Cellarmaker Brewing: they can do no wrong
The Rare Barrel: sours don’t get much better than this
Russian River: no Pliny the Younger, no problem
Firestone Walker: the beer powerhouse from SLO
These breweries are also worth a stop.
Anchor Brewery: some nice new seasonals, including a new IPA
Local Brewing: a promising newcomer to the SF beer scene
Magnolia: session ales are always in style
Social Kitchen: try the GABF Gold Medal winner, Mr. Kite’s Pale Ale
Thirsty Bear: be ready for some surprises
Woods Beer/Cerveceria de MateVeza: well-balanced beers with just a little bit of funk
Auburn Alehouse: always good and hoppy
Berryessa Brewing: quietly staking a claim as one of the best breweries in the North Bay
Calicraft: high-quality, creative beers
Cleophus Quealy Beer: two techies with a passion for making interesting beer
Drakes: Hopocalypse is nigh
High Water: always full of surprises
Ol Republic: dark and delicious
Tahoe Mountain: excellent hoppy ales and more
Marin Brewing: Three Flowers Rye usually makes an appearance
Sierra Nevada: always innovating
HenHouse: consistently very good
North Coast: looking for barrel-aged beers here
Freewheel: cask ales for days
Drake’s Hopocalypse Release Party
Come rain or come shine, hop heads will rejoice during Drake’s Four Horsemen of the Hopocalypse on Saturday, Jan. 23. During this ticketed event, Drake’s will release its 2016 imperial IPAs: Green Label Double and Black Label Triple, as well as the new White Label and Red Label IPAs on draft.
Hopocalypse Day will also feature some impressive guest taps, including Alpine’s Keene Idea, Beachwood’s Hops of Fury, Berryessa’s Diminished Returns, Boneyard’s Notorious and Hop Venom, Cellarmaker’s Quadruple Dobis, Faction’s Hop Soup, Fieldwork’s Torrential DIPA, Founders’ reDANKulous Imperial Red IPA, HenHouse’s Big Chicken DIPA, Knee Deep’s Lupulin, Russian River’s Pliny the Elder and Confirm Nor Deny Imperial Black IPA, and more.
Music will be courtesy of San Francisco punk rockers BITE and Kittenhead from LA.
Tickets are still available at Eventbrite.