On not drinking beer at SF Beer Week

If your beer blog post does not contain any beer, is it still a beer blog? An existential question of our time. Regardless, I am here to report on my unique experience of attending the SF Beer Week opening gala without consuming a single drop of beer, because I was on the clock at the Whole Foods booth. I do these things so you don’t have to!


  • With or without beer, it’s hard to top a beautiful, sunny day in San Francisco. It reminds you why we put up with the cost of living and the rich douchebags.
  • I once again confirmed that Whole Foods Market hires some very cool people, many of whom I feel instantly comfortable and social with, which really is an oddity for me.
I still love tourist crap like this

On the train approaching the gala. I still love tourist crap like this


  • Could not consume tasty beverages. Well, many of my colleagues snuck beers anyway, but I’m a goody two shoes. (Cue the Adam Ant song)


  • I didn’t have to care/strategize/stress about which beers to try since I wasn’t trying any of them
  • I got to see a lot of people I don’t see enough of, including some I haven’t seen in months or (!) years.
  • I exercised what I like to call “teacher bladder” (when I was a teacher I wouldn’t pee between 7am and 3pm) and did not have to run the disgusting and time-consuming gauntlet that is the opening gala bathrooms. This is impossible when drinking.
  • I didn’t bother braving the dinner lines, but because I wasn’t drinking it didn’t really matter. Kudos to Betsy from Churchkey and Chad from Benoit-Casper for sneaking me snacks, though :)
This has nothing to do with anything but I admire anyone wearing this contrarian opinion to a beer festival in 201

This has nothing to do with anything but I admire anyone wearing this contrarian opinion to a beer festival in 2017


  • Drunk people are funny when you’re not drunk, until they’re annoying, but then you’re just glad you’re not a bartender anymore and anyway by then it’s almost over.
This was funny to someone after 97 short pours of IPA

This was funny to someone after 97 short pours of IPA


  • I did not wake up in the morning and have to make sure I didn’t lose anything, check outgoing text messages for incriminating evidence, or unsubscribe from Facebook groups I don’t remember joining. I don’t normally drink like that but the opening gala is a burly beast and I know how things usually end.
  • At no point at the event or the next morning did I have to wonder if I sounded stupid or had been stupid or was going to be stupid. That happens even after a beer and a half.
  • Because I was the lone Sober Suzie in a sea of drunkasses I was the one who noticed the dollar bill on the sidewalk on 3rd street, which turned out to be a $100. Protip, if you’re going to an event with unlimited pours of alcohol, don’t just have a hundo in loose in your pocket.


  • Feeling like the odd man out with your water bottle is easy for a night, but I can see how the struggle is real for my friends who have, for health or personal reasons, given up beer entirely.

In short, I still got to socialize, which believe it or not even anxious turds like me can do without alcohol, and it didn’t cost me any money or liver function or shame. I guess I finally understand how people tolerate the free/cheap designated driver option at festivals. Any one of us is capable of buying some good beer and drinking at home, but you go to these things to see your people. And that — no matter how much the cost of living or the rich douchey neighbors may seem to be taking over — is what makes our beer community still worth being part of. Maybe we should all do something without alcohol once in a while, since we don’t actually need it to have fun?

That said, I’m going to go have a beer now :)

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6 Responses to On not drinking beer at SF Beer Week

  1. Betz says:

    Thanks for the shout out! It was great seeing you, Jen!

  2. Jade says:

    Love your articles in general but this one strikes home. Once I started pouring at beerfests I have a different attitude about drunks……only funny when I am one. But they can be fun to play with.

  3. Robt says:

    Your buying next time.

  4. Jack Van Stone says:

    Great to see you out there at the Gala! I even tried to bribe you with beer and you stayed steadfast. I believe the found money is Karma for your diligence :)

  5. Javier Reyes says:

    Hi Jen!

    Great points made in this article, and I definitely agree with your perspective. personally I attended SF Gala night this year for the first time I realized very quickly how FULL a person gets before they even feel a buzz.

    I’m sort of new to the craft beer scene and have absolutely fallen in love with the culture, I was wondering if you could share some of your experiences with me over an email or call?

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