Monday, February 11, 2013

SF Beer Week Opening Night 2013

On February 8th I had the chance to attend the opening celebration event of The San Francisco Beer Week. This is a beer tasting event with nearly 80 Northern California breweries pouring. All the big names like Sierra Nevada and Lagunitas are there along with a ton you most likely have never heard of. From up and comers, to smaller brew pubs, to the gypsy brewers such as Almanac and Pacific Brewing Laboratory that I am so fond of. In case you have never heard the term gypsy brewers, it means that they rely on the equipment/facilities of other breweries to produce their beers. They don't have to start out committing huge $$$ to build their own. They just need to find brewers that have the spare capacity to brew their beers. Some will end up moving into their own brew house at some point in their business plans, but not always.

We rode BART and walked to the event. We had to go 6 blocks north and 1 block east. As fate would have it, the one block east we took at random happened to be the home of City Beer. The selection for a Utah guy like me was totally mind blowing. I could have blown some big bucks here, but that just wouldn't have been practical given the situation. They also have a pretty great selection on tap, albeit a much smaller list.

I had a glass of Allagash Interlude which is a farmhouse ale with brett and aged in red wine barrels. This was quite tannic, and a little tart. I really enjoyed it as it warmed up.

After our stop at City Beer we continued onward to the event. 15 minutes before the doors opened and the line was quite long and trailed off around the corner and down the street. It took around 15 minutes to get into the hall once the doors opened. The venue was fairly large, but it was still full of people with many more coming in. Although it was full, it didn't feel to cramped or hot. Most lines were a few people at most. Some of the rarer beers were drawing lines with 5-10 minutes to get a sample.

I tried to keep track of everything I was tasting, but that only gets harder as you go. I did track a number of them. From that list, and my memory I can say some of my favorites were the NC Old Rasputin XV, Devil's Canyon Sunshine Rye IPA, Black Diamond Brandy Barrel Grand Cru, RR Sanctification, Mill Valley Beerworks Old Wisconsin Red, and Hanger 24's DIPA (Not Nor Cal, but 1 of 4 guest brewers).

Cheers from SF Beer Week!

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