San Francisco Beer Week 2014

17 Feb

Farewell, San Francisco Beer Week, it’s been good. I made it out all but two nights, and had to work weekdays (sometimes late), but still managed to do well. In numbers:

  • Events attended: 18
  • Venues: 14 (Gala, Dynamo Donuts, SOMA StrEat Food Park, Social Kitchen, Noc Noc, The Sycamore, Rosamunde, The Willows, CatHead’s BBQ, Triple Voodoo, Pyramid, Sierra Torpedo Room, Faction, Drake’s)
  • Most-visited: The Willows (Colorado, Maine, and San Diego nights)
  • Friends met for a drink: 11
  • Beers tasted: About 70?
  • Strangest beer: A really spicy (habanero?) beer at Rosamunde whose name I can’t find. Even bringing it near my face made my eyes water.
  • Favorite non-beer discovery: The Dynamo Donut Campari / grapefruit donut– distinctive citrus and bitter flavors, clean, nice sugar balance. I think tart donuts could be the next thing…
  • Biggest Surprise: Biking into an unexpectedly deep puddle (see photos)
  • Field Notes Drink Local notebooks filled: 0.5
  • Pliny the Youngers: 0
  • Hangovers: 0 (pacing, food, and water)

The week in photos:

Pyramid Torpedo Room

Sierra Torpedo Room:

Sierra Torpedo Room

Triple Voodoo Brewery & Taproom is now open in Dogpatch!

Triple Voodoo

Some excellent aged saisons at Social Kitchen:

Social Kitchen

Surreal moment, deep puddle:

Deeper Than Expected


Eight different Hitachino Nest beers (unusual to see on tap):


Normally-canned beer in kegs, with cans as tap handle:



BBQ and canned craft beer pairing (organized by The Can Van):



Maine Night! The lobster rolls, though obscenely priced at $18… were actually decent and more authentic than I’d expected, and between four of us we tried all nine Allagash beers:


I somehow never get photos of people, but Jenn did–


My very favorite beers of the week, mainly so I can look them up later (transcribed from scribbled notes while I remember enough to interpret them…):

  • Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Barrel Aged [A+]: Imperial stout, complex malt madness, a little raisin, roasted, a little sweet– wouldn’t work without the high alcohol to balance it. And the hint of whiskey wood made it even better. Lovely. I could sip this in a leather armchair by a roaring fire…
  • Crooked Stave Batch #60 [A+]: A sour (but not too acidic) wild ale, with a sort of barnyard + apricot + brett flavor. Like a light, funky springtime on the farm. Refreshing and ever-changing as it warmed up.
  • Avery Mephistopheles [A+]: This was amazing. An imperial stout that coats the mouth with hints of dark chocolate, cherries, a little licorice, with a fiery burn. It’s also apparently 16.7% alcohol. Wow.
  • Allagash Interlude [A]: Unusual. A dual-yeast barrel-aged saison. A little Orval-like. Light on the Brett, some bready malt, very slightly tart. Good with food.
  • Rare Barrel Gose [A]: A refreshing, light, slightly tart gose, no obvious salt, just pleasant all around.
  • Russian River Beatification [A]: really sour and lemony– pow! Yet somehow they manage to pull it off where some other sours don’t, and have just enough going on around the edges and in the aftertaste to have something still interesting and drinkable. Bravo.
  • Avery Reverend [A]: Like a slightly roasted red, balanced, hints of roasted cherry flavors in the malt. Surprisingly smooth for a 9% ABV brew…
  • Sierra Ovila Golden Ale [A]: Deliciously warming, rich, smooth, not too sweet, it made me think of a beer pudding. At 9% ABV this could be dangerous– it’s so easy-drinking.
  • Sierra Ovila Golden Ale, Barrel Aged [A]: The alcohol’s a lot more noticeable in this variant, and the wood seems to have dried it out– a really interesting beer I only tried one sip of from a friend’s glass but would try again.
  • Social Kitchen Saison du Semillon 2012 [A-]: nice light, balanced, mild saison, not too sweet.
  • Allagash Curieux [A-]: A tripel aged in wood, always done well by them.
  • Hill 88 Double IPA [A-]: I’d had this canned double IPA last year and enjoyed it — but when I had it last week I liked it even more. Not too bitter, well balanced (the malt was not overwhelmed by the hops), and good with food (not a reaction I normally have to IPAs…)
  • Hitachino Nest Anbai Ale [A-]: slightly tart (made with green plums and a little salt). Not too sweet, refreshing, umami.
  • Hitachino Nest Eisbock [A-]: Nice dry straw/grain/malt smell. A bit of a bite. Hard to explain.
  • Cuvee Des Jacobins Rouge [A-]: powerfully sour red ale with a bit of malt

Until next year…

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