I spent this past long weekend in San Francisco and it turns out there’s quite a few rad beer things to do there. The place is full of old-timey saloons and dive bars, which pretty well all had something decent on tap. You could almost always find Anchor and Sierra Nevada, and usually one of Anderson Valley, Bear Republic, Stone, or Lagunitas too. While I was dismayed by the prevalence of Pabst Blue Ribbon on special (dirty hipsters), I was pretty pleased in general. But you’re probably after the good stuff, so here are my top five rad beer things to do in San Francisco (in order of perceived radness):
I should note that I didn’t actually go to Magnolia Brewpub or do the Anchor Brewing Tour. Turns out you have to book Anchor Brewing tours months in advance, which I did not do. And we just didn’t have time to visit Magnolia Brewpub, but it came highly recommended and apparently the food is excellent.
Of things I did do, I was super impressed with my visit to City Beer Store. It’s a bit out of the way in gritty SoMa, but it’s well worth dodging hobos to get there. This is the sort of beer store that asks you, “would you like that for here or to go?” In addition to their epic bottle selection (not a massive selection, just very, very good), they also have twenty taps going of equally epic beers. Check out the current tap list. I purchased as much Russian River stuff as the stupid airline would let me stuff in my suitcase.
I also really enjoyed Toronado, San Fran’s classic beer destination. This place is all about the beer and is completey covered in posters, coasters, tap handles, and anything else beer related. Anywhere that has Pliny the Elder on tap is a winner in my books, though I could have done without the heavy metal background music. This place is not a cosy pub and my wife appreciated it accordingly (as in she hated it). They also have an extensive bottle list and you can purchase bottles to go.
Speaking of cosy pubs, the Monk’s Kettle is just that. If I was to go again, I’d make a dinner reservation because the food looked excellent and the bar was packed. I might have regretted not eating here, but I’d just come from La Taqueria in the Mission and so was pleasantly sated. Again, the Monk’s Kettle has an excellent beer list of California craft beer and good stuff from around the world.
My beer wanderings in San Francisco taught me that I need to go back to San Francisco. Despite the hills and the fog (Voldemort’s icy breath, according to the wife), San Fran is packed with character, tasty food, and good beer. Did I miss anything I need to catch next time?