Finishing Up SF Beer Week

In the blink of an eye, it was the last day of SF Beer Week.

The previous nine days were pretty much a beer-induced whirlwind. We drank lots of beer, attended our first Pliny the Younger release, first Double IPA Festival, Toronado Barleywine Festival and a host of other events. Of course we can’t forget the sausages, cupcakes, cheese and ice cream that accompanied all that beer. But we still had one more day to go.

Sunday, Valentine’s Day, was going to be a relaxed, low-key affair. In the wake of Barleywine, Sunday was a day for mellow beer drinking and meeting friends to compare Beer Week stories and scars. Merideth and I began our day at 21st Amendment for Sunday Brewers Tea.

Merideth at 21st Amendment’s Sunday Brewers Tea

We arrived about half past eleven. Sausages were grilling in the side beer garden and a small crowd mingled about. Inside, we grabbed a seat in the bar area and ordered our first beers of the day.

Well, I ordered a beer. Merideth was going it slow and ordered a Mead Mimosa. I, however, went straight for Hop Crisis, 21A’s 10.3% ABV Strong Beer Month hopbomb. Hop Crisis is my favorite 21A brew.

A mellow Brewers Tea at 21st Amendment

Gone was the hustle and bustle of the previous nine days. It seemed almost like any other Sunday. Merideth and I chatted with friends at the bar and others as they filtered in and out from the beer garden. We reminisced about that wild first night and feeling like crap the next day. We talked about DIPA, Barleywine and beer ice cream. After the constant on-the-go feeling of SF Beer Week, it was all very relaxing. We could have spent all day there. But we needed to get over to the East Bay to be part of the setup crew for the Celebrator party.

Trumer Brauerei, host of the Celebrator party.

Our SF Beer Week concluded at Trumer Brauerei, the site of this year’s Celebrator party. Moved from the Oakland Convention Center, we were happy about the new venue for  a couple of reasons. First, we always felt the Convention Center was really impersonal. We had fond memories of the 1998 Celebrator party at Pyramid and the sprawling Convention Center could never duplicate that feeling.

More important, this was an opportunity to add Trumer to  the “List“. Despite it being easily located in Berkeley, we had never visited, mainly because of inconvenient tour hours. This would be our one and only new brewery during SF Beer Week.

As we are apt to do, we arrived early for our volunteer duties and got right to work. Our setup duties were typical; move a table, get some ice, direct a brewery over there. We were even entrusted with handing out the VIP wrist bands. When the festival started, I helped out at the front gate while Merideth handled the ‘merch’ table. Within 45 minutes of the opening bell, I was free to mingle and try some beers.

A party amongst the kegs and cases

The most important beer to have was Trumer Pils so we could add Trumer to the List. While Merideth was still on merch duties, I snuck my sample. For a few minutes I was one brewery ahead of her again. Happy Valentine’s Day Sweetie! But once she discovered what I had done, she abandoned her post to get her own share of Trumer Pils. And just like that, the balance was restored.

Not really in the hunt and seek mode, I wandered around trying beers that caught my fancy. Valley Brewing had their Bill Brandbic, one of my favorite brews of Beer Week. I had to get some of that! Hoppy brews were plentiful and I enjoyed Russian River’s Pliny the Elder and Triple Rock’s IPAX. And in what has become a Valentine’s Day tradition, I had some Russian River Rejection.

Yes, we have no Pliny the Younger

The big question of the day was whether Russian River would bring Pliny the Younger. Apparently, this was the query of the first dozen people who walked up to their table. An industrious pair, the Russian River guys made a ‘Sorry no Younger’ sign from one of their “Gone to Pee’ beer mats. The beer geeks had to settle for Pliny the Elder and Rejection. Later big bottles of Consecration and Supplication were opened. Oh, the horror.

By the way, I am now accepting bids for the ‘Sorry No Younger’ beer mat. It is a one of kind beer collectible.

Merideth and Dr. Fermento

Once Merideth was released from merch duty,we were free to mingle and talk with friends. More Beer Week war stories were exchanged. We reunited with our Alaskan friends one last time for this Beer Week and plotted our return to Anchorage in January 2011.

With an hour to go in the party, it was time to think about wrapping up our day. A few more beers and another walk around to say our good byes was how our 2010 SF Beer Week concluded.

Beer Week was ten days of great beer and hanging out with good friends. We were tired and happy it was over. Time now to start resting up for the 2011 SF Beer Week.

We survived SF Beer Week!