Black & White Beer Ball

black and white beer ballblack and white beer ball 2This weekend we attended the Black & White Beer Ball put on by Ales for Autism. This is the third year and our second year attending and it is becoming one of my favorite San Francisco Beer Week events. A night of dressing up, drinking beer, and supporting a great cause. Yes, all great things.

There were over 25 breweries and 2 craft cideries to choose from. I was especially excited to see The Rare Barrel, Redwood Curtain Brewing and Prairie Artisan Ales attend because this was their first times pouring in Sonoma County. Prairie actually brewed a beer specifically for this event, Prairie Spectrum, a red farmhouse ale. It was a little light, but grew on me the next day when I tried it again at BeerCraft. The highlight of the night was Churchill’s Pale Ale from Bear Republic Brewing. A complete surprise to me. It was so aromatic with gorgeous hop notes and incredible smooth.

I love dressing up and was so impressed that the attendees did the same…well almost everyone. I am excited to see this event grow and get more people from the bay area to experience North Bay beer. For those that what to attend next year I would highly recommend the VIP ticket. For $15 more ($50 VIP, $35 General) you get in an hour earlier, complimentary coat check and passed hors d’oeuvres. Completely worth it!

Check out this great slow motion video from Sonoma County Wire of the event:

SF Beer Week: Opening Gala

SFBeerWeek

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