SF Beer Week (the little I saw of it)

That’s it. Stick a fork in SF Beer Week. I had some good times and some good beers, and I also worked harder than I have in a long time to serve up beery delights to the masses. I didn’t have a lot of time or energy to explore, but I do work at a beer bar and have an Internet connection, so I have some observations nonetheless. Here’s what I saw from on the clock and on my phone…

The eastward suburbs are thirsty: I thought SF Beer Week might not be so crazed for me because I work all the way out in Walnut Creek — nope. I had some of the most hectic shifts of my life last week. Maureen over at The Pig and the Pickle, Ale Industries’ new Concord taproom (holy cow, it’s open! yay!) says it was nuts over there too. The opening of new places like Hop Grenade and Sunol Ridge (more on those soon) and the continued popularity of the BN Winter Brews fest in Concord will only push things further along. There is life outside SF and Oakland, and it’s getting beerier all the time.

Iron Springs is now a rock star brewery: I’ve been complaining forever that one of my favorite local breweries, Iron Springs, is criminally underrated. I went to an Iron Springs event at Barclay’s last year that looked like a normal Tuesday. Those days are at least temporarily gone since Iron Springs Compulsory took first place in a blind judging of triple IPAs at the Bistro DIPA fest this month. Have you seen people frantically gathering around the bar half an hour before the event asking when you’re tapping the Iron Springs beers? I have, and you will. It’s about time.

Obligatory boring brewer-with-the-tanks pic

Obligatory boring brewer-with-the-tanks pic

Cellarmaker is still killing it: Have you been to visit these boys in SF yet? Go now. Solid line-up all around. IPAs, sours, funky brett saisons, dark and roasty beers — all on point. A little something for almost everyone and not a loser in the bunch. They’re raising the bar for what to expect from a new brewery.

Barrel-aged Calicraft beers? Barrel-aged Calicraft beers. I’ve got barrel-aging fatigue, but sauvingnon blanc-aged Buzzerkeley was my favorite of Calicraft’s tap takeover on Saturday. C’mon and open that Walnut Creek taproom, Blaine…

Free at noon? Go to Triple Rock: I went to Triple Rock at lunchtime two days last week, once for an event and once just to drink some Dimmer Switch, and it was lively but not insane. Jesse and Kurt ran a tight ship as always. If you dismiss this place because it’s near Cal or you had a bad beer there in 1989 or whatever bogus reason some of you apparently still have for dismissing it, you’re missing out.

Good morning sunshines

Good morning sunshines

This Pliny the Younger shit is seriously out of control: I know, I know. It’s been out of control for years. But you used to be able to go up to the pub in Santa Rosa on, say, 11:30am on a Monday for lunch and a beer without waiting in line stretching down the block. Based on what I heard this year, those days are gone. Russian River is a favorite brewery of mine and always will be, but enough already. Wake me when it’s safe to go back there.

On the other hand, I feel like this year saw the full release of “Pliny the Backlash.” I’m guilty because I’ll be the first to say I’m not going to wait in that kind of line for beer. Apparently if you’re *really* cool, the thing to do is say the Younger sucks this year. (For extra beer hipster points, say it’s always sucked or that Russian River sucks.) Dude, it’s Russian River…I’m sure it’s delicious. But as I like to say, NO beer is THAT good.

Coming out of SFBW without a single hangover is weird: SF Beer Week is over — I’m ready to drink some beer! ;) The rest of you, enjoy SF Water Week. Cheers.

If your Wii Fit looks like this during SF Beer Week, you may be a bartender...

If your Wii Fit looks like this during SF Beer Week, you may be a bartender…

Disclosures: I work part-time for Ale Industries, and my biased love of all things Triple Rock and Iron Springs is not news to anyone.

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3 Responses to SF Beer Week (the little I saw of it)

  1. Deano says:

    Geez, Jen. Thanks for letting the cat out of the bag. My wife and I are hitting Iron Springs for dinner after work tomorrow. We were hoping to do so in relative peace, but not anymore. Probably won’t be any Compulsary left, either. Way to go.

    Re: PtY, as I said in my last post, I feel lucky as hell I got to try it, but I wasn’t ever planning on it. It is amazing, and I can honestly say I’ve loved RRBC since the Korbel days back on Lake Sonoma, and will continue to do so. Vinnie is, as the kids like to say, the shit.

    But I’m with you, no beer is worth that insanity. My life hasn’t changed (unfortunately) since I had it. Well, knowing I was able to get a glass without packing like the Griswalds does make me smile a bit.

  2. Jen says:

    You overestimate my ability to pack a bar…though it would be a nice superpower to have during slow shifts at work…

  3. Pingback: Good times at the SF Beer Week opening gala | East Bay Beer

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