Tag Archives: san francisco

Our Day at SF Beer Week

Last year, we attended events on all but two days of SF Beer Week. For a variety of reasons, Merideth and I didn’t have it in us to repeat 2010’s hectic schedule in 2011. We planned on only doing one weekend this year, the first. One weekend morphed into one day as we couldn’t find a pup sitter for Porter and Stout.

The main event of the day would be the Bistro’s 11th Annual Double IPA Festival, followed by some beer tramping around the City. The weather forecast, sunny and temperatures in the high 60s, was a cause for some concern. We are some of those crazy beer geeks who like to enjoy themselves at beer festivals. Really nice weather could translate into very crowded conditions at DIPA with long beer lines.

We had one ace up our sleeve, however. Having spent a quiet Friday night at home watching a movie, we would be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on Saturday morning. Our plan was to get to the Bistro early while most other beer geeks were still sleeping off their SF Beer Week opening night celebrations.

The line moved quickly

Leaving our car in Fremont, we rode BART to Hayward. We met our friend Renee at the BART station a few minutes past 11am and made the short walk to the Bistro under brilliantly blue skies. Walking past the penned in side street that houses the festival, I saw a short admission line and a few people milling about with beers. Our threesome passed through the pub, exited the side entrance and joined the quick moving line.

First beer at the 2011 DIPA Festival; Russian River's Pliny the Younger

Fifty dollars lighter in my pocket, I was now armed with my taster glass and 10 paper tokens. I already knew what my first beer was going to be but consulted my beer list to find out what number it was. Seeing that it was #48, Renee and I bee-lined to the far tent to get Russian River’s Pliny the Younger. I knew I would have more opportunities during the day to drink this hop-tacular, once-a-year brew, but figured it would be more enjoyable while I was still fresh.

Just like last year, there was much anticipation for that very first sip. Would the Younger still be the elyxir of the Hop gods? The short answer was yes. I should also add “WOW” to my review.

Merideth and Renee

While, Renee and I got our Plinys, Merideth went into the pub to get herself a beer. Not the hophead, Merideth pretended to be at a Wheat beer festival. Drake’s Hefeweizen was Merideth’s beer of choice (To her credit, Merideth did try most, if not all, of the beers that I drank). Merideth’s pint-sized  beers seemed to be the envy of many a person. Was it the person’s natural inclination to be jealous of someone with something larger or were they really wanting to be drinking pints of 10% ABV beers?

After the Younger, I focused on DIPAs that I had never tried before. Hopbombs from High Water Brewing, Kern River, Knee Deep, Sutter Buttes were not only the first DIPAs from these breweries but the first ever beers I tried from them. Drake’s Hop Salad and Bear Republic Cafe Racer 15 were also firsts for me.

58 Double IPAs to choose from...

On my beer list, I rated the beers with a complex scoring system that I devised. If  liked a beer, I drew a smiley face. If I didn’t care for the beer, I drew a frown. Brews not in either of those categories got a straight line drawn next to their listing. I ended trying 15 of the 58 DIPAs available. My favorite brew not named Pliny the Younger was Drake’s Hop Salad. Other beers receiving smiley faces were Triple Rock’s IIMAXX Imperial IPA and Bear Republic’s Cafe Racer 15.

In the official judging, Firestone Walker Double Jack came out on top followed by Moylan’s Hopsickle and  Drake’s Hopocalypse. I didn’t have any of those three on the day. The “People’s Choice” award went to Kern River Citra DIPA, a beer that got a frown on my list. It was one of my last beers so maybe my palate was worn out by that point.

A glorious February day for a beer festival

The weather was glorious! Eventually joined by our friends Philippe and Chris (Devlin to you Seattle folks), our now group of five spent the early afternoon chatting with friends, enjoying the sun and drinking some great beer. It did get crowded early in the afternoon but I never felt I was in the mosh pit of a punk show. And more importantly, the beer lines moved very quickly.

Our group  ran out of tickets around the time I was hoping to head over to the City. So we finished up our last beers, Green Flash Palate Wrecker in my case, and headed back to the BART station.

The almost 40 minute BART ride to San Francisco was a nice break from not only the beer but the bright sun which left a few of us with a pinkish hue. Getting off at Civic Center, we followed a very familiar path down 9th to Folsom Street and City Beer Store. Looking forward to sitting and relaxing with a beer, I was pleased to see that City Beer wasn’t crazy busy. They were doing brisk business but there was no Beer Week event. So it was still manageable. We grabbed one of the high tables.

Merideth drinking a Saison De Lente from the Bruery.

Despite still being a bit hopped up after trying 15 DIPAs, I remained on the hop-side and ordered a Gold Digger IPA from Auburn Alehouse. Merideth had a Saison De Lente from the Bruery.

It had been several months since our last visit to City Beer. Between helping customers, Craig and Beth took some time to chat with us. It was nice to catch up with them. Hopefully, they will survive Beer Week, then the Craft Brewers Conference and make it to their 5th anniversary celebrations.

Still not having enough hops, I pulled out of the cold case a bottle of Firehouse Hops on Rye, a rye IPA. Getting four glasses from Beth, I shared with the table one my favorite recent releases.

A not so crowded Toronado

In the fading late afternoon sun, we departed City Beer for our next destination, the Lower Haight and Toronado. With the presence of Pliny the Younger on Toronado’s beer list, I fully expected the tiny bar to be packed and the staff extra surly. Toronado was busy, but we have seen it much worse. We quickly purchased beers without incident (It probably helped that we didn’t try to buy a t-shirt for a friend). Still not satisfied with my hop intake, I ordered my favorite IPA on cask, Moonlight Bombay by Boat. Merideth ordered Firestone Walker’s Velvet Merlin. We even managed to procure a table in the small back room.

The cask selection at Toronado

My last beer at Toronado (and as it would turn out, the day) I finally ordered a brew that wasn’t a hopbomb. Firestone Walker’s Sticky Monkey, a 12% ABV English Barley Wine, came in a little six ounce pour. Taking a small sip, vanilla notes and barrel flavors dominated this beer. I correctly guessed that Sticky Monkey had to be part of Firestone Walker 14. It’s 29% of the beer. Finding it a bit harsh, I shared the small pour with the rest of the group.

Getting visions of pork belly and Strong Beers in my head, our quintet walked up Haight Street towards Magnolia Pub and Brewery for Strong Beer Month. SF Beer Week is not always glamor and fun. Sometimes there is disappointment. The past three years whether it was SF Beer Week or Beerapalooza, Merideth and I made this walk for Magnolia’s strong beers. I was especially excited this year because I heard there was a Strong Beer flight… and cheese!  I must have looked very disappointed as I walked in and was confronted by hordes of fellow Beer Weekers. The ten person queue at the bar to get a beer discouraged us from trying to wait this one out. We had done our hard work for day at DIPA and Torondao. We turned around and left.

Celebrating the end of our SF Beer Week day with ice cream.

Our beer opportunities for the day might have ended, but we still had one more stop before Merideth and I hopped back on BART to Fremont. Humphry Slocombe, located at 24th and Harrison, was the big hit of the 2010 SF Beer Week with their beer ice cream. They returned in 2011 with more beer flavors and still the best Beer Week deal, four scoops for $5.

Merideth with the beer ice cream stare...

The four flavors during our visit were Giant Smors (Social Kitchen and Brewery), Cappuccino Stout (Lagunitas), Payback Cocoa Porter (Speakeasy) and Sour Stave (Thirsty Bear). Having got a taste for sour beer ice creams when I had the Kriek sorbet in Brussels, I found the Sour Stave the most interesting. But I truly love coffee ice cream so the Cappuccino Stout had to be my favorite. Merideth weighed in with the Giant Smors as her favorite.

Stuffed with ice cream, our day at SF Beer Week was over. We parted ways with Renee, Chris and Philippe to let them carry on with the Beer Week madness. Merideth and I walked the six blocks up to the 24th Street BART station. SF Beer Week was short for us this year, but we still enjoyed taking part in celebrating America’s Original Craft Beer City. Happy SFBW everyone!

View all the images from our day at SF Beer Week

The Urbane Beer Hikers

We’re not unfamiliar with walking all over a city visiting pubs, brewpubs and breweries. From our earliest days of beer travel, this was our favorite mode of transportation.

Turns out, there is a whole website devoted to this mode of beer crawl, urbanbeerhikes.com. Thanks to our friend, Chris Devlin, we met the website’s owner and urban beer hike guru, Dave, for a Saturday hike around San Francisco.

Starting the hike with a smile and a beer

On a pleasant early November day, our five-some began the hike at City Beer Store. The quintet included Dave, Chris Devlin, Renee, Merideth and myself. This was Dave’s first visit to the City so we would be covering familiar ground on our hike.

The beers that began our day included Russian River Redemption, Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela, Auburn Alehouse Festbier and Bear Republic “Mach 10”.

With a good base of  beers, it was time to find some food. In a city where walking can can be quite vertical and challenging, our journey to the Public House at A&T Park (1.4 miles) was typical of what we mostly would experience on the day, nice and flat.

Sierra Nevada Torpedo on draft at the Public House

In contrast to the previous week’s World Series bedlam and subsequent celebrations, the Public House was relatively quiet on this Saturday afternoon.

While most of our crew ordered the house cask beer, Billy Sunday Bitter, Merideth began with Firestone Walker’s Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout. Accompanying the beers at the Public House where high-end pub grub items such as Mac-n-cheese, Pulled Pork Sliders, a BLT and Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream.

It was a short walk to 21st Amendment (.4 miles). Where the Public House was quiet, 21A was buzzing with activity. We ended up grabbing a table up in the loft.

A man and his watermelon beer

It was the first week of the BRU/SFO Project, the  Belgian-inspired brews month at both 21A and Magnolia. There were three  BRU/SFO creations available on our visit. Merideth and I both passed on the cocoa Witbier to try Via, a really nice Belgian-style Single. Our valiant leader, Dave, couldn’t turn down an opportunity to have Watermelon Wheat with a slice a watermelon.

After 21A, we had the longest leg of the day, a 1.8 mile walk to North Beach. If there are any hills on this hike, it would be the walk up Columbus Ave. After a quick stop at Golden Boy Pizza for some more food, we walked around the corner to the Church Key.

The Church Key is one of my favorite beer spots in the City. I just love the laid back neighborhood atmosphere of the tiny bar. Unfortunately, on this evening, the beer selections excited no one in our group. So, we were ‘one and done’.

From the quiet Church Key, it was another short walk (.4 mile) to the opposite end of the spectrum, the loud and boisterous La Trappe. Descending the stairs into the cellar, we were greeted by a din of noise from an almost packed house. Luckily, we found a few seats at the bar.

Another one of my favorite beer destinations in the city, I could only manage a St. Bernardus Christmas beer before the Saturday night crowd got the best of us. Looking back, La Trappe maybe should have been our first North Beach stop.

The snack of champions

We finished the evening at Specs’ Twelve Adler Museum Cafe, the first new place of the day for Merideth and me. Better known as just Specs’, this old-school dive bar was only a half mile from La Trappe. Like any good dive, Specs’ was located down a alley.

We found a table in the very,very dim bar and ordered a pitcher of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. To accompany our beer, Merideth ordered a wedge of cheese and saltines. After spending the day at the higher end of the San Francisco beer scene, munching on cheese and saltines chased with Pale Ale in a dimly lit bar was oddly satisfying way to close our evening.

In the end, from City Beer Store to Specs’, we walked a short 4.5 miles. Adding in the walk to and from our hotel, Merideth and I walked close to 7 miles. Not bad for a day’s beer drinking.

View a map of of our hike

[Read Merideth’s article on another San Francisco Beer Hike]

Here are a few more pictures to enjoy…

Fourth Time A Charm?

On the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, we made a dash up to the City to visit the newest brewery on the San Francisco scene, Social Kitchen & Brewery.

Social Kitchen & Brewery in the Inner Sunset

Social Kitchen & Brewery is the fourth brewpub to occupy the Ninth and Irving location in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset. The original brewpub was Golden Gate Park Brewery, followed by Eldo’s Grill & Brewery and finally Wunder Brewing Company. We made it to Golden Gate and Wunder, but the one time we showed up at Eldo’s,  we were turned away at the door. They were closed for a private party.

The bar at SK&B

Many people, myself included, openly talk of a curse. In reality, the reason the previous brewpubs failed was probably more mundane. San Francisco has a plethora of options for the beer geek and the beers at the previous establishments had always been less than memorable.

Merideth and I were joined on this mini adventure by our friends Renee and Matt. Arriving just past the early evening opening time, there was already a good-sized crowd occupying the tables and bar stools on the lower level. Our foursome sat at the beginning of the bar, on both sides. This cozy arrangement seemed odd at first but it worked out well because not being in one long row, no one had to shout down the bar to the person on the other end. The only problem was the bartender was of a similar size to me. This made it difficult for him to pass behind me to get to other customers.

The modern, wood decor had changed little from our previous visit two years ago during the Wunder era. Strikingly long and narrow, the main floor is overlooked by a balcony level opposite the bar. The brewery itself occupies the back end of the balcony level.

The Social Brewery lineup

The bartender offered us a welcome snack of pretzels with house-made mustard. Our beer sampler followed soon thereafter. The sample set included all five of their beer offerings: Kölsch, Alt, Belgian-style Dark Ale, Belgian-style Golden Ale and an IPA.

Before I read the blurb on SK&B’s menu, the best word I thought of to describe their beers was ‘accessible.’ None overly challenged my palate, but were enjoyable.

Imagine my surprise when I read that Social Brewery’s aim is to “brew accessible beers that are food-friendly and full of flavor.” It appears they’ve succeeded in their goal.

Drawn to bigger beers, the Rapscallion, the Belgian-style Golden Ale and Easy IPA were my favorites. Rapscallion was nicely spiced and not too sweet. Easy IPA, not the ubiquitous hopbomb, was a subtle, easy drinking brew at 65 IBUs and 7% ABV. The one beer that missed the mark for me was L’Enfant Terrible, the Belgian-style Dark Ale. Merideth, ever the Germanophile, was very happy with Social Kölsch and Old Time Alt.

Accessible is the word on SK&B’s brews

As for the food, I have to admit I was holding out for sausages and tamales at Toronado. The pretzels and mustard were fun. And we did end up ordering a couple of appetizers. First up was the Bavarian Cheese Obaster, a cheese/butter spread. One of our staples while in Germany, their version of the heart-clogging Bavarian obatzda was probably the best we’ve ever had in the States. We also had the Beer-Battered Sweet Potato Tempura, another appetizer we would highly recommend.

One month old at the time of our visit, Social Kitchen & Brewery was pleasant and will probably weather the usual growing pains of a new establishment. Our group had a good time and there were definitely enough pluses to warrant a return visit. Especially with their the session brews, the Kölsch and Alt, Social Kitchen & Brewery is a great place to hang out with friends and shoot the breeze.

A Saturday Bay Area Beer-cation

The last couple of weekends, we have been busily working away at home. While Merideth has been diligently laboring on the book, I’ve had the fun task of pulling the forest of weeds that grew over the wet winter here on the Central Coast. But all work and no play makes for dull beer geeks. It also makes for cranky beer geeks. We needed a break and an old friend visiting the Bay Area gave us the perfect opportunity for a daylong beer-cation.

The newest stop on Oakland’s beer trail

Mid-Saturday morning, we were on the road for the two hour drive to Oakland. Our first stop of the day was Oakland’s newest beer destination, Beer Revolution.

When we first visited San Francisco’s City Beer Store, we left wondering, probably like many beer geeks, whether we could do something similar in our town. The formula, perfected by Craig and Beth, is brilliantly simple: a nice, friendly couple pouring and selling great beer. Beer Revolution’s Fraggle and Rebecca did just that across the Bay in Oakland.

Beer Revolution has the winning formula

This was our second visit. We first visited for the Cheers to Women in Beer event during SF Beer Week. That was also Beer Revolution’s first week open. That day, we didn’t get the chance to talk much with Fraggle and Rebecca as everyone was busy with their own very crazy and hectic SF Beer Week day. We looked forward to this visit being a bit more relaxed, giving us the chance to chat.

Enjoying a HaandBryggeriet Dark Force

We arrived shortly before opening, so we patiently waited on Beer Revolution’s spacious deck enjoying some sun therapy. Fraggle opened the door a few minutes before noon and greeted us cheerily. Walking in, we were serenaded by the classic sounds of old school punk. We grabbed a couple of seats at the bar.

Beer Revolution had a midweek Stout Fest so the 13 taps still leaned towards that dark brew. Merideth displayed her typical slow decision making process, but I quickly had my first beer of the day in front of me, Drake’s Belgian-style Triple. Merideth eventually decided upon Lost Abbey’s Devotion, a Belgian-style Blonde Ale. While enjoying our beers, we window-shopped at the beer refrigerators. The bottle selection at Beer Revolution has many of the ‘usual suspects’ found in any good beer retail store, as well as some special treats. I was particularly happy to see a number of Mikkeller beers that I had been seeking.

We chatted with Fraggle, who we were familiar with from our days living in Oakland. The conversation was as varied as the beer selection: their first few months in business, beer, beer geek travels, mutual friends, and punk music. Later, Rebecca appeared and she joined in our conversation.

It’s hard not to compare Beer Revolution to City Beer Store, so I’m not even going to pretend that I didn’t do it in my head. Suffice to say, both establishments share the same reason for being our kind of beer place. It doesn’t take rocket science to have a great beer selection. What makes both these places special and worthy of our repeat business is the people behind the bar.

Unfortunately, we had a lunch date at Barclays so it was time to move on. We bade our farewells to the busy couple and promised we would be back soon.

Yes, I still fill out my ‘Parliament’ card

It was a short drive up to Barclays for our reunion lunch, the main reason for the day’s beer-cation. We met up with our friends Martina, who now lives in Switzerland, and Rowdy, our Yoda. Along with Merideth, they were former Barclays employees together. In fact, Martina reminded Merideth that she was Martina’s trainer.

It’s always nice to get together with friends from our early beer geek days. We talked about the early days, missing old friends, and our current lives.

After Barclays, it was time to hop on BART for the City portion of our beer-cation. We were meeting our friend Renee at the aforementioned City Beer Store. Besides being a regular stop on any Bay Area trip, we needed to visit City Beer because midweek they had the elusive Bear Republic Racer X on draft. I was hoping (dreaming really) there would still be some around on Saturday for me. If not, I knew I could get a glass of Avery’s Maharaja Imperial IPA.

A good-sized Saturday afternoon crowd already had City Beer buzzing when we walked in. Merideth and I said ‘Hi’ to Craig and Beth who were typically very busy serving their eager customers. Luckily, a couple was just leaving one of the high bistro tables in the front, so we quickly grabbed it. Shortly, after we arrived we were joined by Renee.

Odonata’s Beersel

Not surprising, Racer X was gone and I even passed on Maharaja, for the time being. Instead, I found solace in Beersel, an American Sour Ale from Sacramento’s newest brewery, Odonata. Our friend Peter Hoey, formerly of Sacramento Brewing, is not only the brewer at Odonata, but also one of our favorite brewers. I was excited to try my second Odonata beer.

Using Drie Fonteinen’s yeast, Peter has produced a wonderful brew in Beersel. Tart with the right amount of funk is really the only way I can describe this sour gem. Not knowing when, or if, I would get to try this beer again, I ordered a second.

Our party grew for a short time. We were joined by some of the crew from New Brew Thursday who were gallivanting around the Bay Area with Ashley Rouston, better known as The Beer Wench. They took time out from a beery day to pop into City Beer to share a beer with us. It was good to meet our San Diego beer geek brethren.

We had one more stop on our beer-cation but I still had time for one more at City Beer. From a sour bomb to a hop bomb, I finished up with Avery’s Maharaja Imperial IPA.

The Public House is located at the home of the SF Giants

Our last stop was another new entry into the Bay Area beer scene, the Public House at AT&T Park. There has been a lot of buzz about Public House and not just for the extensive beer list. The food has also garnered a lot of attention, as the menu was created by James Beard award-winning chef Traci Des Jardins. Not being foodies, we had actually never heard of her, but the talk of pork cracklings, sausages and Humphry Slocombe ice cream had us salivating.

One of the bars at Public House

Being in a ballpark, the Public House is huge and sprawling. The Giants were down in Los Angeles so the crowd was sparse on Saturday evening. Renee, Merideth and I grabbed one of the outside tables to sit in the somewhat pleasant evening weather of the City.

As I said, the beer list is pretty extensive. Twenty-two taps are augmented by two cask beers and another 24 bottles. While there are a few selections for the non beer geek in the baseball crowd, the rest of the beer list would do any beer bar proud. The draft beers were well-represented by the best of California brews while the bottles leaned towards a European selection.

The house cask beer, Billy Sunday Bitter

But I was at the Public House to try one beer. The house cask beer, Billy Sunday Bitter, is made by Dave McLean at Magnolia. Being a huge fan a English cask ale and Dave’s beers, I was excited to try, in Dave’s words, a “proper bitter.”

And I have to say in a day filled with Imperial this, Imperial that and Belgian-style beers, it was nice to finish with a pleasant 4.9% English-style Bitter. Dave proved again why he is my favorite San Francisco brewer.

As for the food, we felt like we were on a ‘No Reservations’ episode except we didn’t have a Chase Sapphire card to put it all on. Things started slowly when we were informed that they were out of Pork Cracklings. We quickly got over that huge setback and dish after dish was ordered. Merideth and Renee devoured the plate of Deviled Eggs while I worked over the Pigs in a Blanket and Housemade Pickled Vegetables. Then there was my BLT, Merideth’s Pork Sliders and Renee’s Mac-n-Cheese. Desert was Humphry Slocombe Chocolate Smoked Salt Ice Cream and Acme Butterscotch Pudding.

I could easily see ourselves returning to the Public House except for the fact that we don’t go to baseball games and we are rarely in that part of the City. But the chance of Pork Cracklings and a pint of Billy Sunday Bitter might require another visit. I’ll be sure to call first to make sure they have both.

We left the Public House well satisfied. It was a perfect ending to a great day.

Enjoying a semi-pleasant April evening in the City

 

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!