SF Beer Week: Opening Gala


Oh SF Beer Week….we had a fun time. Normally I pop into a few events, but this year we went “all the way”. We stayed for the whole weekend and tried so many great beers.

We Drakes Brewing took Friday off of work so we could meander our way into San Francisco. First, we headed to the East Bay to finally check out Drakes Brewing in San Leandro. I really love Drakes and am sad to say it took us so long to get there. As much as I wanted a fresh Hopocalypse (released the week before) we decided on some session beers to kick of SF Beer Week. We had a long way to go before the Opening Gala. We tried their Something Mild 3.9% with Mosaic hops & Quarter Century of Issues (collaboration with Stone) 4.5% with El Dorado and Centennial hops which were both very tasty. Drakes is really leading the way with “drinkable” and “flavorful” session beers that won’t bowl you over with alcohol. Their Alpha Session is one of my favorite beers and is much needed during baseball season where games can stretch 3-4 hours.

SFBeerWeekSignsIt was finally time for the Opening Gala. With a line around the building we knew we had arrived. I love beer fest lines chatting away with other beer lovers and planning which breweries to hit first. Always devise a plan first otherwise you will end up just walking around and missing a lot of great beer that goes fast. (aka: Pliny the Younger & Hopocalypse Black Label) Our plan was to hit Drakes first to see if they brought their Hopocalypse Black Label a Triple IPA, which had been sold out for a week. Ohhhh…yes they did and it was great to do a side by side with the Double IPA. Surprisingly loved the Double IPA more.

GreenDeathNext we made our way to the San Francisco Brewers Guild who always release a collaboration beer during SF Beer Week. This year’s was Green Death a “craft beer” version of a malt liquor that was popular before and after prohibition. A tribute to San Francisco beer history. It was very smooth and creamy for 7.75% with a bready characteristic. My husband feel in love with this beer and searched for it around town after the event. More info here.

The highlights of the night:

Knee Deep/Track 7- Knee Deep in Beer Week Drakes-Tree Beer

Ale Industries – Unity, as in Edward

High Water Brewing – Aphotic Baltic Porter

Bison Brewing – My Funky Valentine

Almanac – Barrel Noir

Almanac – Farmer’s Reserve No 1

Almanac – Farmer’s Reserve No 2

Heretic – Shallow Grave

Drakes Brewing – Tree Beer

SF Beer Week Group ShotPhoto Stand at Opening Gala

For our first time at the Opening Gala this event was completely overwhelming even with my print out of breweries. I never expected all the breweries to bring seasonals, limited  and rare breweries in addition to their standard lineup. I was a kid on Christmas running from one brewery to the next. This was also the event to catch up with beer friends. This is THE beer event to go to during SF Beer Week!

Cheers, Sparklinglover

San Diego Beer Week

San Diego Beer Week

Two of my favorite things happened to coincide this weekend. My best friend and craft beer….and we do it quite well together. So I jumped at the chance of my best friend getting engaged and San Diego Beer Week. We added 5 new breweries (makes 139!) to the list and some wonderful beer bars.

1) Amplified Ale Works

Brand new to the San Diego beer scene. Amplified Ale Works opened 7 days prior to our visit on November 2nd 2012. A three barrel operation inside California Kebab & Beer Garden. They only had one house beer on tap, a blond called Leggy Blonde. It was really a silly name for how serious this beer was. For those musty Saison lovers, like myself, you will love this beer. Truly one of the best beers of the trip and I’m not a blonde lover.

2) Hess Brewing

A very popular brewery in San Diego. This place was hopping on Saturday afternoon. We weren’t able to taste samples because they ran out of glasses. Tried their Pallidus Belgian Pale Ale, which was excellent and one of their IPA’s. They had 750ml of their Anno Duo Imperial Saison (oximouron, perhaps?) in bottle, which I will return for. Very curious of a 9.5% Saison. For Hess being the first licensed nano brewery in San Diego (according to their website) they are doing quite well and opening a second brewery in the North Park district.

3) Wet ‘N Reckless Brewing

One man operation, Dave Hyndman does it all from making his beer to pouring it. Located in an office park like so many San Diego breweries. They opened earlier this year and Dave makes the beers he likes not defined by style. There has been lots of good vs bad arguments about this brewery. Either way, support local breweries by trying out their beer.

4) Rough Draft Brewing

My favorite of the day! Rough Draft has only been opened since March (16 new San Diego breweries opened in 2012) but they really thought the layout through. Spacious tasting room with long granite bars and plenty of room for brewing and possibly expansion. The sampler dressed to impress with some of the stand outs being their Belgian Vanilla Stout, Eraser IPA, Emboozlement Tripel, and Hop Therapy a DIPA. They have plans for distributing what people drink the most of. < — Great business model.

5) Poor House Brewing

A new addition to the North Park area just open a couple of months. Rustic feel with opened windows to the street and beer served in mason jars. I only tried one of their beers the IPA Experimental Batch #4. Delicious! For those that love the floral/citrus notes in IPAs you will love this. We will be back, especially because its in walking distance.

Our Own San Diego Beer Week Pup Crawl

Pup CrawlPoor House Brewing –> Ritual Tavern –> Toronado San Diego

I love having friends that live in North Park. So many amazing beer bars!

PS: Yeti is my new favorite beer.