Five Parties To Usher In Beer Week

Photo: The SFBW letters lit up for Beer Week

SF Beer Week is back. It’s coming up soon, running February 11-20, 2022.  Here at Beer by BART, that feels like a harbinger of health and normalcy. That sounds odd since Beer Week has always been much better than the already excellent day-to-day beer scene of the Bay Area. Better than normal. The most wonderful time of the year and an exhausting community holiday full of abundance and FOMO. Yes, go ahead and fear freely: you will have to miss out on something. The week that was is back, strong enough to bring many things to miss.

SFBW was started in 2009 to formalize a cluster of popular February beer events already taking place annually here in the birthplace of what was at first the microbrewery movement back in the 1970s, 80s, and onward. Over the years, beer week grew to hundreds of activities from festivals to educational tastings, beer dinners to food pairings, new beer releases, and more fun. The SF Brewers Guild, now the expanded Bay Area Brewers Guild, adopted the ad hoc week and grew this much-loved tradition over the years. Last year a statewide virtual celebration was subbed in for most of the face-to-face. 

One significant change for 2022 is the lack of a big unifying Opening Gala, where brewers, the core beer community, and the beer curious all got together to launch the wonderful week. It offered a happy spirit of reunion and a massive pouring session. In place of the giant event on the covered pier, you’ll discover five smaller, cozier opening night Kick-Off parties to grace five parts of the region, San Francisco, East Bay, North Bay, Silicon Valley, and Coast.

[SFBW event at original City Beer Store circa 2009]

Each of the Kick-Off celebrations will debut a collaboration made by members of their local Guild chapter – as well as other special beers from local brewers and samples of all other four chapters’ collabs. 

San Francisco gathers at Harmonic Thrive City, part of the Chase Center, where Harmonic Brewing is hosting the breweries of the City. Among the beers pouring will be the designated official SFBW collaboration beer for SF, created this year at Barebottle Brewing Co., following a recipe created by brewers at Local Brewing and Woods Beer.

San Rafael’s Pond Farm Brewing hosts the craft beer brewers of the North Bay. The North Bay collab was made by Cooperage Brewing following a new recipe designed by Adobe Creek Brewing and Parliament Brewing to create “Hop Drip,” a sour Fruited IPA brewed with apricots and strawberries.   

In San Leandro, 21st Amendment Brewery – a big venue with plenty of room for local guest brewers – the East Bay community will come together. Its collab, “Intrinsic,” was brewed by Oakland’s Temescal Brewing with a recipe designed by Del Cielo Brewing and Headlands Brewing, described as an enhanced West Coast IPA.

Other Brother Beer Co. in Seaside hosts fellow coastal breweries and debuts the Coast chapter collab, brewed at Santa Cruz’s Woodhouse Blending & Brewing.  “Juxtapose,” is a double dry-hopped West Coast IPA, from a new recipe by Highway 1 Brewing and New Bohemia Brewing.

For the South Bay gathering, head to Sunnyvale for the Kick Off event at Off the Rails Brewery & Restaurant. The Silicon Valley brew, “Pure Harmony,” a Cold IPA brewed with local honey from Belmont’s Wings of Nature, comes out of Devil’s Canyon Brewing following a recipe written by ShaKa Brewing, just one of the Bay Area new breweries that launched during the pandemic, in collaboration with Brewing With Brothas, an eagerly awaited brewery in planning.

Admiral Maltings of Alameda contributed artisanal malt for all the recipes, and will also have the beers available at their pub, The Rake, during the week. 

Tickets and guest brewery lists for these five Feb. 11 gatherings are on the SFBeerWeek.org Kick-Off page.  

[Always room outdoors at The Bistro DIPA Fest]

Other classic Beer Week events will return in familiar form, perhaps with an outdoor option. The calendar at https://sfbeerweek.org/activities is filling now, at the last minute. Many favorite events, like The Bistro’s original Double IPA Festival, are back. Outdoors rain or shine, the Double and Triple IPAs will pour in Hayward on Saturday, Feb. 12.  Events like the Old Devil Moon Sour Shitstorm and a handful of anniversary parties for breweries that rushed to open for SFBW on one of the past Februaries will look familiar to Beer Week veterans. There are many more…  

2022 Adjustments and Memories

We’ll miss Cask and Queso, a classic food pairing party thrown every year since the first SFBW by the now-shuttered Thirsty Bear Organic Brewery. (Carnivores have an option: A BBQ and cask event produced by Admiral Malting is designed to be its successor.) The annual Celebration of Craft — originally the Celebrator Beerapalooza party, and eventually a benefit for the California Craft Beer Association, will not take place at Trumer Brewery as in years past. It will take place virtually as a curated 10-pack of California beers available for shipment anywhere in the state along with other offers at sfbeerweek.org/promotions

During each February, the primary site to bookmark is SFBeerWeek.org  The website changes each year. Sign up for its newsletter for the duration if you want to get email updates. 

A preachy note: Please be kind and respectful to all the servers, brewers and other pub and brewery employees. They have had a very hard two years. It’s only because they have hung in there that makes these events possible. Let them know you appreciate their work and TIP WELL. 

Finally, please play it safe out there. Carry your mask and vax card. Be mindful of each other’s risk tolerance. It may be different from yours. 

Disclaimer:  Gail of Beer By BART is doing media outreach for the Guild this year. Just sayin’, we don’t believe that there is any conflict of interest here – we have plugged, participated in, and written about Beer Week enthusiastically on our website and in other publications with and without pay since its inception. We love beer and continue to sincerely encourage people to check out what’s going on this year at SF Beer Week.  

Happy Beer Week!

PS:  Geekier info?  Sure. Here are expanded stats for the Collab beers.

San Francisco Brewers collab:

“Red Whale” Tropical Red IPA

7.0% ABV

Brewed at Barebottle Brewing Co.

Recipe created by Local Brewing Co. with Woods Beer Co.

Brewing yeast strain: WLP 001

Hops: Citra, Citra Cryo, Strata, Galaxy

Grain bill: Best Malt Red X, Admiral Feldblume, Simpsons Red Rye

Notes: “Very tropical, very red”

——————-

North Bay Brewers collab:

“Hop Drip” Sour Fruit IPA

6.5% ABV

Brewed at Cooperage Brewing Co.

Recipe created by Adobe Creek Brewing Co.with Parliament Brewing Co.

Brewing yeast strain: LalBREW Sourvisiae

Hops: Galaxy & Mosaic

Grain bill: 330# Admiral Oats

Extras: Apricot & Strawberry – Oregon Fruit CO.

Notes: “Sour, hoppy, fruity, delicious”

——————-

East Bay Brewers collab:

“Intrinsic” Enhanced West Coast IPA

6.8% ABV

Brewed at Temescal Brewing

Recipe created by Del Cielo Brewing Co. with Headlands Brewing Co.  

Brewing yeast strain: Berkeley Yeast DF Chico / Tropics

Hops: HBC 586, Mosaic Cryo, Motueka, Vic Secret, Saaz

Grain bill: Admiral Pils

Extras: Phantasm (a powder derived from New Zealand Marlborough Sauv Blanc grapes & rich in natural thiol precursors known for boosting tropical fruit aromas)

Notes: “Crisp, tropical IPA featuring cryo hops and phantasm for intense aromatics”

——————-

Silicon Valley Brewers collab:

“Pure Harmony” Honey Cold IPA

5.9% ABV

Brewed at Devil’s Canyon Brewing Co.

Recipe created by ShaKa Brewing Co. with Brewing With Brothas (brewery in planning)

Brewing yeast strain: White Labs WLP810 San Francisco Lager

Hops: CTZ, Zappa, Galaxy, Sabro

Grain bill: Pilsen Malt – Admiral Honey Malt – Gambrinus

Extras: Local Honey from Wings of Nature (Belmont, CA.)

Notes: “Crisp, juicy, refreshing… with a touch of honey”

——————-

Coast Brewers collab:

“Juxtapose” DDH West Coast IPA

6.2% ABV

Brewed at Woodhouse Blending & Brewing

Recipe created by Highway 1 Brewing Co. with New Bohemia Brewing Co.

Brewing yeast strain: White Labs Cal Ale

Hops: Galaxy, Strata, Citra, Mosaic, Cascade

Grain bill: Admiral Gallagher’s Best

Notes: “A West Coast Double Dry Hopped crusher”

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