SF Beer Week 2013 Review

Golden Gate BrewTours made an appearance at quite a few official SF Beer Week events, including the opening night celebration.  We couldn’t make it to every event, but then again there were over 400 over them!

Opening Night!

sf beer week overview

Welcome to 75 Breweries!

Over 75 breweries attended the SF Beer Week opening night celebration.  While the well established breweries were serving crowd favorites (Russian River, Lagunitas, Anchor), the story of the night was the number of young breweries and gypsy breweries present.  Pine Street, 101 North breweries, and Maverick’s breweries made their debut appearance with a few flagship beers of their own.

SF Beer Week Triple Voodoo

Inception on the left, Kraken Imperial IPA on the right

Maverick’s brewery is the new face of Half Moon Bay Brewing Company.  Pete Slosberg, the craft beer pioneer who founded Pete’s Wicked Ale, is spearheading these new beers to appeal to a more active group of drinkers.

mavericks amber ale

Located right next to the Half Moon Bay pier and beach, these beers may be lighter in alcohol but they hold all the flavor as the best big beers around.  In fact, head brewer at Marin Brew Co, Arne Johnson, has helped Pete create some of these beers.  If you notice a resemblance between Maverick’s dark stouts, it’s because they were inspired by Arne’s famous Chocolate Airporter.

Collaboration Brew

Collaboration Brew

Moving on, gypsy breweries were a big hit.  In case you aren’t familiar with the term, a gypsy brewery is a brewery that does not brew out of it’s own facility, but contract brews out of other facilities.  The most common contract brewery in the area is Devil’s Canyon brewery which is the home to a few other breweries like Triple Voodoo Brewing and Pac Brew Labs.   For SF Beer Week, 8 craft beer brands joined together for a collaboration beer project.  The result was one of my favorite beers of the night, their Belgian Tramp.  This beer is big, sweet, and strong!

Representing Golden Gate BrewTours

Representing Golden Gate BrewTours

Triple Voodoo Brewing was nice enough to invite me to serve beers with them all night.  They had their flagship belgian ale, Inception, and they’re new imperial IPA, Kraken IPA.  These beers were very different so I enjoyed seeing which beer guests would choose.  The Inception is more widely known, but the intrigue of the new imperial IPA influenced many beer drinkers.

SF Beer Bus Shuttle

The next day, Golden Gate BrewTours hosted it’s second annual SF Beer Week beer bus tour with Triple Voodoo’s owner, Greg Kitchen.  Starting in downtown San Francisco, we headed to the Double IPA festival to taste some of the hoppiest beers ever made.  This year was also the second annual triple IPA festival as well, including beer such as Pliny the Younger, Knee Deep’s Simtra IPA, and Drake’s Hopocalypse Black Label.

Welcome to the Double IPA Festival

Welcome to the Double IPA Festival

The scene was wild and crowded as hop heads tasted each beer by asking for it’s number.   In all, there were 82 beers on the list, including Triple Voodoo’s very own Kraken Imperial IPA.  Although the people’s choice award went to Kern River’s Citra Double IPA, judges awarded 1st place to Societe’s Roustabout Double IPA, and 1st place to Russian River’s Pliny the Younger.

Which one should I taste?

Which one should I taste?

Nothing under 10% ABV?  That'll do just fine.

Nothing under 10% ABV? That’ll do just fine.

We made our way back over the Bay Bridge to the Foodtruck Picnic where Pac Brew Labs and Magnolia had their beers on tap.  We enjoyed live music and food while drinking Pac Brew Lab’s collaboration beers.

Beer, Bus, and a view like this.

Beer, Bus, and a view like this.

Our third stop was to check out the opening of the new Speakeasy tap room!  Definitely worth checking out if you can make it down to that area.  Golden Gate BrewTours plans on visiting Speakeasy more regularly given this recent installment of a bar.  Given that we had been drinking double IPA all afternoon, I enjoyed Speakeasy’s ligher White Lightning.

The New Speakeasy Tap Room!

The New Speakeasy Tap Room!

On the wall to the left it says, "Sshhh"

On the wall to the left it says, “Sshhh”

Our final stop was in North Beach at Church Key for Triple Voodoo’s 2nd anniversary party!  All of their beers were on tap and the turn out was strong with friends, old fans, and new fans of Triple Voodoo.  I’ve always enjoyed Triple Voodoo’s Inception so it was hard to pass up that opportunity.

Heading to Triple Voodoo's Party

Heading to Triple Voodoo’s Party

Triple Voodoo Logo

What a weekend!  Now back to more tours and upcoming beer events.  Drink local and keep an eye out for new breweries opening up soon in SF!


About brewtours

Golden Gate BrewTours strives to be the premium craft beer educational service in the industry by providing an intimate, educational, and engaging touring experience that explores local craft breweries in the SF Bay Area.
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