SF Beer Week is a world-class beer festival that’s an apt reflection of the Bay Area’s world-class beer scene. While Bay Area IPA’s are widely considered to be among the nation’s best, local brewers are also flexing their brewing savvy on dizzying sour ales, carefully-crafted barrel-aged beers, easy-to-drink Kölsches, Lagers, and a whole lot more.
The long “week” runs from February 10 through February 19 and begins with the 125-plus brewery opening gala celebration at Pier 48. The gala itself might be the best local beer festival of the year, and thus there are only a few general admission tickets left. Snag one while you still can, but not to worry — we’ve combed through all 800-plus Beer Week events (seriously) to bring you twenty functions that positively merit your attention and attendance. With that, here are the highlights.
Saturday, February 11
Hangover Brunch with Berryessa at Lost & Found
What: Chilaquiles have to be the most underrated hangover-buster at brunch. On Beer Week’s first Saturday, you can pair them with Berryessa La Fuerza Borracho Mexican Lager micheladas at one of Oakland’s finest beer gardens. The excellent Winters-based brewery will also be pouring a special cask of its coffee Whippersnapper (a British mild), cause you know, it’s a brunch theme. Plus, Lost & Found is family-friendly with ping-pong tables and cornhole in its massive patio.
Details: Saturday, February 11 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Free entry.
Alesong Brewing Launch Party at City Beer Store
What: City Beer Store is the Bay Area’s national craft beer scene moral compass. And it’s done a fine job in roping in Eugene, Oregon’s “Alesong Brewing and Blending” for a very special release event. Before its first anniversary, Alesong took home gold at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in the “Brett Beer” category for the fantastic Touch of Brett Ale, and it’s also making a fine line of incredibly interesting barrel-aged beers like the oak and acacia barrel-aged Saison du Vin (conditioned with Muscat juice) and the Rhino Suit bourbon barrel aged imperial milk stout. For now, Alesong’s beer can only be purchased through an occult mailing list — or at this event. Get hyped.
Details: Saturday, February 11 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Free entry.
Local Barrelage 6x Limited Edition Barrel Aged Beer Release Party
What: Local Brewing Company in SoMa aged six of its beers in everything from Bourbon and pinot barrels to even a Tropical Stout aged in a Barbados Rum barrel. The barrel-aged Belgian Bump is Local’s killer Belgian Coffee Ale made with Philz Coffee “Sooo Good” blend and aged in a Four Roses barrel. Six beers in all and lots of room in the tap room to roam free.
Details: Saturday, February 11 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.; $45.
Sunday, February 12
Shaman Series at Woods (Mission, Oakland and Sunset locations)
What: This event is such a cool yearly tradition that Woods has now expanded it to three of its locations, including the new “Outbound” taproom next to Trouble Coffee on Judah Street. Woods has a penchant for infusing its beers with herbs (such as the top-draw Morpho Herbal Ale with hibiscus flowers, bay leaves, and yerba mate), and for the Shaman Series, there will be “medicinal, healing beers, using locally foraged herbs and sacred recipes.” Stop by for a detox, SF Beer Week style.
Details: Sunday, February 12 from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Free entry.
Tuesday, February 14
Evening With Russian River Brewing at Pi Bar
What: Pi Bar consistently brings solid beer week events year-in and year-out that highlight local beer and select special out-of towners. This Russian River Brew Co. tap takeover might be the single best opportunity of the week to try the impeccable line of sour and barrel-aged beers (highlighted by Consecration and Beatification) and the iconic IPA’s like Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig. And if you get there right when doors open, you might even be able to treat your Valentine to a pint of the highly-sought-after Pliny The Younger Triple IPA.
Details: Tuesday, February 14 from 3:14 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Free entry.
Wednesday, February 15
Fast Times at Ridgemont High Film + Beer Pairing with Anchor Brewing Co & San Franpsycho at Balboa Theater
What: Anchor might have the most engaging overall slate of events at beer week. But if we had to pick one, it’s easily the beer-themed screening of Fast Times at Ridgemont High in collaboration with the Balboa Theater and local clothing company San Franpsycho. Special beers inspired by the late-80’s classic flick, with names like “Tasty Waves IPA” and “Kill Lincoln Lager,” will be served alongside Anchor’s new Blackberry Daze and Liberty IPA’s. San Franpsycho will even be live screen-printing event shirts and posters inspired by its new line of ocean/80’s pop culture designs. Want more? Slices from The Pizza Place before and Humphry Slocombe ice cream after the show. “Hey Bud, let’s party!”
Details: Wednesday, February 15 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.; $25.
SF Brewers Guild Meet The Brewers + Drink SF Beer Shuttle (1st Pick-up at Smokestack by Magnolia)
What: Every third Wednesday, the SF Brewers Guild operates a “beer shuttle” that stops off at four different breweries. And whaddaya know — The third Wednesday of February just so happens to be during beer week. Magnolia’s Smokestack is the jumping-off point, where the brewers will be hanging out from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. You’re free to hop on and off the shuttle every 10 minutes as it stops off in the Beer Shuttle’s “Dogpatch Route” of Harmonic, Speakeasy, Triple Voodoo, and Magnolia.
Details: Wednesday, February 15 from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Pay as you go.
Star Wars and Lagunitas Night at Hogwash
What: Of all the crazy ideas that Hogwash owner Paula Thompson has had over the years (a 55-ounce goblet of IPA?!) this one might take the cake. A real-life Chewbacca will be hanging out at the Lower Nob Hill brew pub on a Star Wars-themed evening featuring “special beers” from Lagunitas, and guests are encouraged to rock their favorite Star Wars swag. This is worth it for the inevitable “Chewbacca selfies” alone. (Insider side-note: Rumor has it that Hogwash will also be getting a five-gallon keg of Alpine’s near-extinct Nelson IPA for the Alpine/Green Flash event on Friday, February 17).
Details: Wednesday, February 15 at 6 p.m.; Free entry.
An Evening With Alvarado Street Brewery at The Crafty Fox Ale House
What: The Crafty Fox ranks near the top of local brew pubs for its consistently imaginative selection of fine up-and-coming beers and breweries. There is a slew of events here throughout the week, but this evening with Monterey’s Alvarado Street Brewery is a fine opportunity to discover the full line-up for beers from the South Bay brewery. The tropical Mai TaiPA was one of the best beers of 2016 and even took home a silver medal at the Great American Beer festival to follow-up the 2015 gold. Tap list highlights include the When Doves Cryo IPA collaboration with SF’s hop kings, Cellarmaker Brewing, and the Haole Punch, Kettle Sour with guava, passion fruit, and orange zest.
Details: Wednesday, February 15 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Free entry.
Thursday, February 16
Almanac Save The Whalez Sourfest at Ft. Mason Gallery 308
What: A beer festival within a beer festival, Almanac’s benefit event for Bay Leaf Kitchen features a number of Whalez (elusive and extremely hard-to-find beers.) On the local tip, be on the lookout for Santa Rosa’s Shady Oak, whose Alpha Cure was one of 2016’s best barrel-aged beers and Berkeley’s The Rare Barrel, widely considered to be the best local producer of sour beers. From the visiting teams, Oxnard’s Casa Agria is one of Calfornia’s best new breweries. This event will sell out.
Details: Thursday, February 16 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.; $75.
Friday, February 17
Cask & Queso, Triple Fermented at Thirsty Bear
What: This is a yearly favorite event hosted at the grandiose Thirsty Bear Brewing Co. in SoMa. Fifty bucks gets you unlimited tastings of 17 cask-conditioned ales from 16 different local breweries. Look forward to cheese pairings from Cowgirl Creamery like San Andreas Sheep’s Milk Cheese paired with Freewheel Brewing Scottish Ale and Reading Raclette paired with Thirsty Bear Aged Barley Wine.
Details: Friday, February 17th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; $50.
Sante Adarius and Jester King Total Tap Takeover at The Trappist
What: Capitola’s Sante Adairius Rustic Ales (SARA) has set the beer world abuzz with its wine barrel-aged ales, and the taproom near the Santa Cruz shore has become a destination for beer seekers. On the 17th, you’ll only need to head over to The Trappist in downtown Oakland for a chance to sample six different SARA beers. Joining will be noteworthy Austin-based, wild and farmhouse ale producer Jester King.
Details: Friday, February 17 from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Free entry.
Drakes 510 Malt Liquor Release Show
What: Some events are just too crazy to miss. This is one of them, where San Leandro Drake’s Brewing Company will release the 2017 “vintage” of its 510 Malt Liquor while East Bay Punk band Fracas tops the bill, along with a comedian and some Bay Area hip-hop. Guess E-40’s not the only one making “craft” malt liquor.
Details: Friday, February 17 from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.; $5.10 at the door.
Saturday, February 18
Brunch With Modern Times at Social Kitchen
What: San Diego’s Modern Times Brewing is flat-out one of the best breweries in the country right now. Its ability to craft near-perfect juicy IPA’s, tropical tart ales, and barrel-aged stouts with equal prowess has truly set it apart. They’ll be making a number of stops during beer week, but this Saturday morning brunch at Inner Sunset institution Social Kitchen & Brewery makes for legit weekend morning starter.
Details: Saturday, February 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Free entry.
Seven Stills Whiskey Train
What: Hop on a historic F train on Market and Castro for a crazy ride with Seven Stills of SF brewery and distillery. The Bayview-based Seven Stills makes exceptional whiskey from beer, straight-up beer, and now beer made from whiskey, too, with its mind-boggling “Beerception” beers. Let’s count the on-board stats of this train: A whiskey barrel, a keg of beer, a banjo band, and 45 people. Sounds like one helluva party.
Details: Saturday, February 18 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.; $65.
Karaoke Luau and Firkin Tapping at Laughing Monk
What: Just Laughing Monk’s incredible Book of Palms tart berliner weisse, packed with pineapple and hints of coconut, is reason enough to get us excited. But add a luau featuring Hawaiian grub from Huli Huli, a full-on karaoke party rolled into the mix, and a slew of new tropical firkins being tapped, and you’ve got one serious event. Head over to Laughing Monk’s Bayview brewery for this, plus a karaoke contest with beer-themed prizes for solo, duet, and group performances.
Details: Saturday, February 18 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Free entry.
Sunday, February 19
IPA’s All Day at Zeitgeist
What: The most glorious beer garden in San Francisco is ending Beer Week in style, by roping in around 20 different IPA’s. Local faves like Berkeley’s Fieldwork (look out for that Chisel IPA) and Larkspur’s Marin Brewing Co. are in the mix, as well as Half Moon Bay Brewing Company (the Full Swing IPA is quality stuff). The event’s special guest, if you will, is San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing Co. (of Sculpin IPA fame), who’ll be tapping five different beers at the event.
Details: Sunday, February 19 from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Free entry.
Beerunch at Public House
What: Woods, Moonlight, and Fort Point are teaming up for what’s always the most popular brunch event of Beer Week, Beerunch. Public House, attached to AT&T Park, is a badass venue for this unique meal featuring pairings like Fort Point Moon Phase Barrel-Aged Quad served with a bacon macaroon with coconut caramel sauce and Woods Cabernet Aged Morpho Herbal Ale served with a crab cake with preserved lemon aioli.
Details: Sunday, February 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; $59.
Almanac Beer Doughnuts at Dynamo Donuts
What: Now that Almanac has a tap room on 24th Street, it’s teamed up with neighbor Dynamo Donuts — quite possibly the finest purveyor of doughnuts in the city — for a beer week treat. Get the Dynamo Donut made with Almanac Beer all week long. (It’s the least you can do to join the festivities.)
Details: All week; $3.50 each.
Kick The Kegs — Half-Off Yesterday’s Drafts All Week Long at The Sycamore and The Willows
What: This is the greatest beer week idea of them all. Sister bars The Sycamore and The Willows are hosting a number of events/tap takeovers throughout beer week, and what better way to get rid of the previous evening’s leftover inventory than offering half price beer beginning the next morning? Beers featured at Willows and Sycamore events include: Founders, Alpha Acid, Cleophus Quealy, Temescal Brewing, a number of Brett Ales, San Diego Beers, Mikkeller, Evil Twin, Dogfish Head, Goose Island Bourbon County Series Stouts, Tahoe Mountain, Cascade Brewing, Single Hop IPA, Avery, PNW Breweries, and Chicago beers. Check the beer week schedule for specifics.
Details: All week from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Free entry.