By Alyssa Pereira

SF Beer Week is nearly upon us again in all its hoppy, microbrewed, and malted glory. Beer crafters from all over the Bay Area are gathering in San Francisco (and all around the Bay) to show off their offerings for this year’s showcase.

Last night, Thirsty Bear played host to a handful of these brewers, from longtime stalwarts Anchor and Speakeasy to newer breweries like Petaluma’s exceptional HenHouse.

The brews at the event were varied and diverse, incorporating nuances provided by other local producers (TCHO chocolate in Speakeasy’s Chocolate Milk Stout and Bicycle Coffee in one of Cleophus Quealy‘s picks, for example), as well as off-kilter ingredients like cumin and Australian hops.

We tasted as many as we could get our hands on, and selected a few beers for you to keep an eye out for when the events begin.



Drake’s Brewing, 7×70 IPA

The high IBU brew is a hoppy West Coast masterpiece, named for its 7 ABV and 70 IBU. It gets its fresh taste from tropical-tasting Calypso hops, and very limited, lightly toasted malts. Not a fan of IPAs? Check out the Jolly Rodger Stout, made with local Blue Bottle coffee. Stay tuned to their Twitter for upcoming Beer Week Events.



Speakeasy, Black Hand Chocolate Milk Stout

The newly released Black Hand Chocolate Milk Stout saw the marriage of local chocolatier TCHO with Speakeasy’s chocolate malts, as well as, go figure, lactose! The blend of Ecuadorian cacao nibs and creaminess of the added lactose make for a soft, lush treat.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, Full Swing IPA

Made from a mix of hops, including Mosaic, Citra, and Magnum, this IPA has an easy taste and fresh tropical feel. Even if you’re not heading to Beer Week, check out their (dog-friendly) tasting room in Half Moon Bay, and learn about their humanitarian efforts with Not For Sale.

(21st Amendment)

(21st Amendment)

21st Amendment Brewery, Kilt By Wildfire

Kilt By Wildfire is not your average brew. The ale was composed during a company contest where groups of eight pitted their own creations against each other in the ultimate beer bloodbath. The prize at hand: the winning beer would become the company’s newest brew. Team Glory was eventually crowned the winner for their spicy Smoked Scotch Ale, Kilt by Wildfire.



Anchor Brewing, Winter Wheat

Anchor’s Winter Wheat is probably the easiest to find on shelves this winter, which is indicative of its drinkability.  The Belgian-roasted wheat malt has a classic winter brew taste, and the smooth, creamy finish makes it an easy pick for cold January nights.

Baeltane and Firestone Breweries offer their selections (CBS Local)

Baeltane and Firestone Breweries offer their selections. (CBS Local)

Baeltane Brewing, Luminesce Tripel

Tripels are not easy to master, but this is a fine, rich local example of one. According to the website, they won’t be bottled until February, so for now you’ll have to head to their Beer Week events or check in with their Tasting Room.

For all of this year’s SF Beer Week Events, head to the official schedule.



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