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San Francisco Beer Week 2019 | Opening Gala Recap

San Francisco Beer Week 2019

San Francisco Beer Week is in full swing and our Pacific team got a great head start by attending the Opening Night Gala. Over 125 breweries converged at Pier 35 in San Francisco to showcase their tasty wares – 400 plus beers, food trucks, and craft beer lovers galore.

Photo by Gail (SFBW staff) – assist due to Media not being allowed in the Brewers lounge area.

Tasty Beers

There were literally so many beers at the Gala that one person couldn’t have tried every single one (especially if you are trying to remain sober-ish to cover the event LOL). Some of the stand-out beers our team came across are:

  • Double Haole Punch from Alvarado Street Brewery. A kettle sour with passion fruit, orange, and guava that packs a punch at 8% ABV. The guava notes really stood out and the tartness masked the alcohol content a little too well.
  • Let’s get Fizzical from Black Hammer Brewing. A Brut IPA hopped and dry-hopped with El Dorado, Simcoe, and Amarillo, giving this 6.7% ABV brew hints of fresh, tart pineapple with a bone dry finish.
  • Bigfoot 2010 from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. A 9.6% Barleywine brimming with bold flavors of bittersweet malt and heaps of aggressive whole-cone Pacific Northwest hops. This one was from 2010, aged for 8 years!
  • Cloverdale Ale from Cloverdale Ale Co. An Amber that combines caramel malt tones with just enough Cascade hop kick, coming in at 5.8% ABV.
  • Big Chicken from HenHouse Brewing Company. A highly anticipated super fresh Double IPA with all the hops!
Photo by Jaclyn Menendez

Ah-Dang Moments

  • The earliest tap-out of the night was 7:10 pm and belonged to Rare Barrel, which is no surprise given their worldwide popularity. Just one hour into the event, Rare Barrel was completely out of all their offerings and hung up a hastily scrawled “SOLD OUT” banner.
  • Russian River had a separate line just for Pliny the Younger, and the line never slowed down until the keg was tapped. It wrapped around a good chunk of the booths in the back half of the event, but as you know, it was worth it to try one of the rarest and most coveted beers in California.
  • Finding out Cloverdale Ale Co. didn’t have a big social media presence, even though they were among some big hitters in the Northern California brewery game! You can find them on Facebook and Twitter though.
Photo by Justin Carter

Denver writers first SFBW!

Our Pacific Team had the pleasure of having one of our Denver writers to join our Gala coverage this year. I’ll leave you with her thoughts on the Gala.

This event was an extremely fun way to dive headfirst into the California beer scene. It not only captured the beer trends that are hottest right now, it showcased some of the classic reasons that San Fran has a seat at the craft table. On a more personal note, it also gave great insight into the people themselves—San Fran may have some highly sophisticated brews, but the people are all here for a good time. It was one of the friendliest and more laid-back events I’ve ever been to. I definitely went for the beer, but I stayed for the crowd (and, okay, the beer). – Jaclyn Menendez

Photo by Justin Carter

There is also plenty of SFBW events left to attend – check out our Can’t-Miss events here.

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