Got to love it! More than
100 San Francisco breweries and pubs are organizing
SF Beer Week, Feb. 6-15, 2009, to celebrate the early roots of the modern
Renaissance in artisan beers. Count us in!
The 10-day celebration will
showcase the Bay Area’s brewing heritage with 150 events. It will be anchored by the Bistro Double IPA Festival, and the Toronado Barleywine
Beer week will end with a new full-blown Bay Area Beer Festival. In between
there will be beer dinners, cheese and beer pairing events, gourmet food
events with world-class cuisine, special releases, meet the brewer evenings,
homebrewing demonstrations, music, films, and even a museum exhibition exploring
the history of Bay Area brewing, from Monterey to Sacramento and
“We want the public to know that San Francisco is a hot spot
for artisan and craft beers. It is an artisan environment,” said Dave McLean,
owner and brewer of Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery, and the Alembic bar.
has the top examples of artists – from cheese, to wine, to arts and culture –
and beer is a part of that excellence.”
Many local breweries and pubs will contribute to the
event, including Magnolia, the 21st Amendment and Toronado.
“Independent businesses celebrate a cause that is larger than themselves,” says
McLean about the brewing community. “It’s
always been that way – in the old days there were guilds. Beer promotes sharing
of ideas. We freely share ingredients. It’s an amazing industry. There’s
something about beer that brings people together.”
The Alembic will feature brewers who distill fine spirits
and focus on beer cocktails. Gordon Biersch will host a Bavarian Beer Breakfast
showcasing Hefeweizen – there will be four or five varieties, which is brewer
John Tucci’s specialty. “It’s the
most authentic style of German beer. It makes GB unique. A lot of craft beers
are hoppy English styles. We are
the opposite side of that perspective and I think that’s good,” says
America‘s craft beer movement
began in the San Francisco Bay Area as far back as the 19th Century.
was the brewing center of the west with close to 50 breweries.
Brewing’s rescue by Fritz Maytag in 1965 and the founding of New Albion Brewing
in 1976, craft beer grew into the silver age of American brewing, with more than
1,400 small craft breweries today. Northern
California alone has more breweries than most states and enjoys an
unrivaled reputation for the quality and diversity of its craft
a new strategy in the brewing industry: rather than competing on the basis of
price or advertising, they attempted to compete on the basis of inherent product
characteristics. They emphasized the freshness of locally produced beer; they
experimented with much stronger malt and hop flavors; they tried new and
long-discarded brewing recipes, often reintroducing styles that had been popular
in America decades earlier. For example,
Maytag used West Coast hops instead of English hops and West Coast IPA emerged.
Now British and Belgian brewers now use West coast hops.
Events are listed on the SF
Beer Week Web site at www.sfbeerweek.org. For visiting beer lovers interested
in best-rate accommodations and other activities, visit the San Francisco
Convention & Visitor Bureau’s Web site at www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com.