Social Kitchen Brewery is open and hopping

The newest brewpub in town was all ready to go…

Downstairs front common table
Downstairs, front common table
Bar section converted to a common table
Bar section converted to a downstairs common table

Happily, the N-Judah street car goes by right in front, as do all kinds of shoppers and Golden Gate Park visitors.

The layout of the Social Kitchen looks good empty, with strong curved lines and two dining levels. However, the place is much better packed with happy diners sipping the delicious fresh beers from the tap.

Social Kitchen in the afternoon
Social Kitchen happiness in the late afternoon

Fans of Rich Higgins’ brewing at Thirsty Bear previously, or of his job convening and communicating the wonder that was SF Beer Week 2010, will be interested in what he will do as brewmaster here. Higgins has five beers on tap, created upstairs on a 15-barrel system, and all made to be accessible and good with food.

Rich Higgings
Brewer Rich Higgins

His beers are Social Kölsch, A German-inspired light colored and delicate ale; Old Time Alt, a dry and drinkable brown ale that you will be able to enjoy several pints of due to its modest 4.5 percent ABV; Rapscallion, something like a Belgian monk’s abbey single with its easy-going 4.5 percent ABV, and the stronger but very drinkable and floral Easy IPA. There is one biggie, the L’Enfant Terrible at 8.0 percent, something like a tripel and something like a Belgian strong golden ale, with a clean pleasant flavor that goes down all too easily.

Social Kitchen for socializing or enjoying a book
Social Kitchen for socializing or enjoying a book

Higgins knows a lot about being social, and a lot about beer education. There’s talk of special tastings, tours, and food pairing events at this new venue, and he has the knowledge and the social savvy to convene them so that they are don’t-miss events.

The word spread swiftly and people have been showing up in droves since the first night the doors quietly opened.

lights made out of bottles
Lights made from bottles

The food we tried was a pleasure. An all-vegetable chowder was a favorite, and it showed toasted barley grains as a garnish. The lights — made of cut bottles — are also great.

We think this place is going to be a keeper. May as well get out there and support your newest local brewery while it’s still new.

Here’s how to get there on the N line from BART downtown.

Explore Beer By BART; see our list of the San Francisco Bay Area’s best beer places with detailed transit info, so you can get out there to enjoy without driving.

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