San Francisco Beer Week has very much become Northern California Beer Week over the years, with breweries from as far north as Mendocino and the Sierra joining in, and as far south as Carmel. And this year they're dividing up the kickoff events by subregion.
After two years of no big SF Beer Week kickoff galas (the 2020 event happened, since it was in February, pre-lockdown), Beer Week is back in its normal, sprawling shape, with something like 100 events spread over 10 days and in many, many locales. It's not meant to be the type of event that anyone can see all of, but it's a chance for brewers in the region to celebrate each other, and for beer fans, hopefully, to discover some new breweries.
The tradition of one big grand tasting kickoff event in San Francisco may be going by the wayside though — it was, admittedly, getting pretty chaotic by 2020, with a pier warehouse full of 80 or more brewery booths and often lengthy lines for tasting pours. This year, the Bay Area Brewers Guild has divided itself up by chapter, and each regional chapter is hosting its own kickoff.
On Friday, the East Bay brewers will all gather at 21st Amendment's San Leandro Brewery for the East Bay kickoff party. And brewers in the North Bay chapter will all be pouring their beers at Pond Farm Brewing Co. in San Rafael at the North Bay kickoff. The East Bay party starts at 6 p.m., and the North Bay one kicks off earlier, at 4:30 p.m. for VIP entry. General admission for both events is $65.
On Saturday, the SF chapter will have its kickoff party in Salesforce Park, atop the transit center — though things could be pretty wet, though, with a 40% chance of rain predicted after noon on Saturday. The event is technically being hosted at Barebottle Brewing's new kiosk in the park — and it's sold out.
The Silicon Valley and Coast chapters will have their kickoff events on Saturday as well, with the latter being in Seaside, just outside Monterey — a two-and-a-half-hour drive from San Francisco, but not so bad if you live in the South Bay.
San Francisco-based fans of Russian River Brewing's cult-favorite Pliny the Younger can seek out this year's batch in multiple spots — the first of which will be The Crafty Fox, the Division Street brewpub, which will be tapping a keg of Pliny on Friday (2/10) starting at 5 p.m., along with showcasing beers from Boston's Trillium Brewing Co.
Woods Beer & Wine Co., meanwhile, will be doing release parties for several new beers throughout the week at all of its locations in SF and on Treasure Island, including a beer-wine hybrid called Orange Wine Fuzz IPA. "We added Sauvignon Blanc juice and thiol-heavy hops on day 4 of fermentation for maximum stonefruit character," they say. Woods will also be doing their perennially popular Girl Scout Cookie beer pairing thing on February 16, featuring their Peanut Butter Cookie Beer, an imperial stout brewed with peanut butter and cocoa nibs.
SF's own Fort Point Beer Co. is doing a cioppino party on Saturday that is sold out, but their popular beer-and-dim-sum brunch is happening next weekend, on February 18, at Hong Kong Lounge in the Richmond, and tickets are still available.
And Barebottle Brewing, after hosting the Saturday kickoff downtown, will be throwing a Super Bowl watch party at their Cortland Ave. taproom, complete with game-day food and Micheladas.
Check out all the rest of the events, which are sortable by SF, East Bay, etc., here at the SF Beer Week website.