Okay, so most of us haven't been beer "beginners" since high school. But the dizzying array of events, breweries and brews on tap for SF Beer Week can send us straight back to the insecurity of that first furtive sip. Am I cool enough? How do I talk about beer without sounding like a jackass? What if I get too drunk and my parents find out? Fear not, beer drinker: we've got your back.
If you're the kind of beer drinker whose only criteria for your favorite beer is that it be liquid, Beer Week may seem like overkill. But you don't have to be a beer aficionado to enjoy drinking interesting brews and learning a thing or two while you're at it. To get you started, here's a guide to the highlights of the liver-daunting SF Beer Week schedule.
Opening Night: It's a $75 ticket, but if you're into beer, it just might be worth it. SF Beer Week kicks off with a gulp on Friday night, where attendees can enjoy unlimited samples of new, rare and classic beers from 78(!) craft breweries. Ladies, leave the high heels at home unless you want a sprained ankle and a funny story about that time you forgot some of these beers are clocking in at 9% alcohol.
Tap Takeovers: If you've ever dreamed your favorite brewers would take over all the taps in your local bar, this is your moment. There's a ton of tap takeovers going down around town, which means choose wisely and you'll be sitting pretty all night long with the likes of Green Flash, North Coast, Dogfish Head, Ninkasi, Triple Voodoo and Russian River. Get to your spot early to snuggle up on a stool and drink your troubles away.
Sour Sunday: Sour beers are unique brews growing in popularity and reach, and Sunday, Feb. 10 presents ample opportunity to sample their lip-puckering flavors. Look for sour beer flights at Noc Noc all day and at Rosamunde's Mission location from 5-9pm. There's also a dangerously fun-sounding all-day event involving 80 beers at Triple Rock Brewery and Jupiter Brewpub in Berkeley.
How-To: Get hands-on with the brewing process with Saturday's brewing workshop at Workshop, learn how to elevate your sipping with a "Sensory Evaluation Tasting" at City Beer Store on Feb. 13th (ahem, also known as Galentine's Day), and learn all about yerba mate while sipping mate-brewed beers at Cerveceria de Mateveza on Feb. 17. And that's just to name a few of the dozens of learning opportunities on tap.
Want to see the full spread? Check out the rest of the SF Beer Week schedule, and may your cup runneth over.