Ahoy, whale hunters! SF Beer Week is just about to kick off (February 6-15), and beer lovers should stay on the lookout for the following specialty, limited release, and generally hard-to-find beers. The laws of beer hype require that you harpoon at least one and tell all your friends about it, at length, until next year's Beer Week.
Swept By Fire: Fort Point/SF Brewers Guild Each year in anticipation of Beer Week members of the SF Brewers Guild put their heads together for a big beer collaboration. This year, it's an homage to the 1906 quake, which damaged or destroyed 14 of the city's 25 breweries. Naturally, then, it's a smoked pale ale made with charred almond wood supplied by Magnolia's Smokestack. At a beer week preview, Brewers Guild Executive Director Brian Stechschulte described its flavor as grilled pineapple thanks to the combo of the smoke and citrusy hops. Available during beer week at Dark Horse Inn, Liquid Gold, La Trappe, Delarosa, Smokestack, Magnolia Pub, Alembic, Social Kitchen, Anchor Brewing, Causwells, Thirsty Bear, Southpaw, Rosamunde (SF and Oakland), Zeitgeist, Beach Chalet, Monk's Kettle, Rose's Cafe, Bartlett Hall
Seven Day Brew: Cervecería / Woods Now at both Oakland's Woods Bar & Brewery and SF's Cervecería de MateVeza, in something of a beer week tradition fans and brewers gather to devise a special fast-fermenting beer that's ready to drink in just a week. Brewed on a Friday and tasted on the next, the recipe is up to you, and the beer has never been fresher. Woods Bar & Brewery, 1701 Telegraph Ave between 18th St & 17th St; Cervecería de MateVeza 3801 18th Street at Church
First Beer Ever: Black Sands That's not what it's really called, but this beer debut from the Lower Haight homebrew pop-up and coming brewpub is exciting because we'll be tasting a bit of SF brewing's future. The guys behind Black Sands are currently in the midst of a huge buildout but are ready to share their hard work in liquid form at Cervecería de MateVeza on the 9th from noon to 10 p.m., and you can also peruse homebrew supplies if the spirit moves you. Cervecería de MateVeza 380118th Street at Church St
Beer Geek Speedway: AleSmith / Mikkeller It's a fiery crash of two popular stouts. Peter Zien of AleSmith and Mikkel Borg Bjergsø of Mikkeller have teamed up to create an imperial oatmeal stout inspired by AleSmith's Speedway Stout and Mikkeller's Beer Geek Breakfast. It's clocking in at 12% ABV and is made with pounds of 100% genuine Kopi Luwak coffee. Get it on the 13th at 6:30 p.m. and — wait for it — you can drink it with Mikkel himself, the mastermind behind Mikkeller, who will be in attendance. It's free, so just show up and drink. 34 Mason St. between Turk and Market Streets.
Pliny the Younger: Russian River Brewing Co. If you're going after the white whale of beer week, you might as well do it for a good cause. That's why the Monk's Kettle is giving proceeds from their Pliny the Younger tasting to La Cocina, the incubator for low-income food entrepreneurs that focuses primarily on women from communities of color. Get there way before the 11 a.m. opening to stand a chance, and be prepared to pay a dollar an ounce for this liquid gold with a 2 pour-per-person limit. February 11th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 3141 16th St between Albion and Valencia Streets
Strong Man Strong Ale: Speakeasy Ales & Lagers Speakeasy is reviving this extremely small batch beer, brewed only once before and now made special for Beer Week: "Once it's gone...it may never return." When you try it you can pick the brain of lead brewer Joe Smith, and at the debut event you'll also find rarer Speakeasy gems like Cement Shoes (dry-hopped strong ale), Old Godfather (barleywine), Bourbon Barrel Aged Scarface (imperial stout), and two secret firkins. Available Saturday, February 7, 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., The Tap Room at Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, 1195 Evans Ave.
Triple IPA: Beryessa Brewing Co. Beryessa out of Winters is stopping by the city to drop off a few new beers and play some video games at Brewcade. On the 11th from 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., you can taste their double and triple IPA releases plus their delicious, just-released second year Cellarmaker collaboration called Fruity Rebels. 2200 Market St between Sanchez and 15th Streets
No. 7 Potrero Hill Sour Mash IPA: Anchor Brewing This Zymaster series brew from Anchor features a sour mash base but isn't a sour. In fact, it's an IPA. It's dry and tart with floral hops and a rye spiciness. The beer takes full advantage of Anchor's distillery, where rye malt mash starts out just like it would for their whiskey. Try it at Anchor's tap takeover on the 13th from 5 to 11 p.m. at 4505 Burgers and BBQ, where you'll also find Anchor classics and a whole hog roasting. February 13th, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., 705 Divisadero Street between Fulton and Grove Streets.
Tangerang: Cellarmaker / The Rare Barrel Get stoked for three dry-hopped sours including the delicious Tangerang all from two of the Bay Area's finest. Yes, it's a collaboration between SoMa's Cellarmaker Brewing Company and Berkeley's sour superstars The Rare Barrel. At the pouring, on Saturday the 7th from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., you can also grab BBQ from the folks at Real Smoked BBQ. 940 Parker St, Berkeley, between 8th and 9th Streets.
Oysterhead Stout: Magnolia It's the 6th annual Magnolia oysters and beer celebration, and it comes with the release of the briny Oysterhead Stout, brewed with 4 bushels of Hog Island oysters. Plus you'll find Hen House's oyster stout on tap, which is a great offering in its own right. You can also pair those oyster beers with more oysters, including a special oyster po' boy. February 10th, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., 1398 Haight Street at Masonic Ave.
Cellared Lower De Boom Barley Wine: 21st Amendment After a while, a fierce barleywine softens and blossoms. So it should be with Lower De Boom from 21A. The brewery will release their cellared version of the stuff along with others like a six year-old Ripple Imperial Chocolate Porter. 563 2nd Street between Brannan and Bryant Streets.
Post Hopocalypse: Drake's Brewing Drake's Hopocalypse, an aromatic hop-bomb, wasn't the end of the world it turns out. Now they'll release a few variations on the brew, such as Post Hopocalypse and a triple IPA Hopocalypse Black Label. The Post Hopocalypse in particular sounds good if you're a fan of sessionable small beers. Where to get these guys? Hopwater Distribution, a new pub with beer-inspired food and 31 all-California draft beers. 850 Bush St between Taylor and Mason Streets.