So, we did it. We visited every brewery in San Francisco, except for Anchor, which we knew we couldn't get into beforehand. We even hit one more on the way down, just for practice. Just a note, our tasting notes weren't always completely lucid, so I present them as they are written down with no apologies. :)
Thursday night we left Santa Rosa around 5 pm and headed down towards the city. We decided to stop at Moylan's for dinner since we hadn't been there before and had no agenda for the evening. I LOVE their Hopsickle Double IPA, but we wanted to try beers we hadn't had before, so we had:
- IPA - tart/sour
- ESB - insipid/tenuous flavor
- Triple IPA - sweet, not very hoppy, whiskey flavor(from cask aging?), long malty finish
After dinner we continued down to the Castro, where we were renting a room from a nice, little old woman I found on Craigslist. The room was comfy, if snug, but you can't beat $75 for your own mini-flat with its own street entrance. As soon as we dropped our bags we headed back out to go to Kennedy's in North Beach to hang out with Jeff and his Yelper buddies. Had a good time there before heading over to see Jeff's friend's band at Grant and Green(Shan and I had been here on one of our recent trips which is where we saw the Spazmatics.) Afterwards we headed back to the Castro where we contemplated going out some more, but we decided not to, considering our hectic schedule in the next couple days.
Friday we were up at the crack of dawn(10 am) and we headed out, despite the torrential downpours to Beach Chalet. This is a great place to have breakfast, their crab benedict is very high on both Shan's and my lists. Their beers are pretty good too. 10:40 AM:
- IPA - citrus nose, mild hop flavor, lots of lacing on glass, tastes great!
- Frostbite Spice Ale - (7% ABV) strong, dark ale, sweet coffee flavor, roasted malt in both nose and taste
- California Kind - Amber ale/IPA, thick creamy head, hoppy, spicy
- Ocean Beach Oktoberfest - Yummy! Malty, fruity, nicely balanced
We left around noon or so to head over to Magnolia, in the Haight, where the very cute bartender Kim works.
We also had a surprise visit from Jeff!
- Cole Porter - Really good! Foamy brown head, full bodied, surprising for a medium gravity beer, notes of coffee, wood, citrus, smoke. Hops definitely noticeable. I could drink this all day.
- Lunatic Lager(guest brew, Moonlight Brewing) - sweet, honey, yeasty, lemon, pine, tart finish
- Kalifornia Kolsch - light, clean, buttery popcorn, sour, well carbonated
- X - Belgian style, malty, smooth, nice sweetness, lambic flavors
- Bonnie Lee's Bitter - smooth and yummy, buttery, tart
- Big Cypress Brown - nutty, malty, sweet, burnt toast
- Spooky Tooth Stout - creamy, chocolate milk, rich, smooth
Wunder Beer, 2:40 pm. I had been following this brewery's progress for quite a while, and I'd been pretty excited because the name originated from an old time brewery in SF from before prohibition and the partners who opened it sounded pretty cool. Anyway, it's not in the greatest location, so they haven't had much exposure, but I think they have lots of potential. The beer and staff are definitely dialed in. We even got an impromptu tour of their brewery by the head chef(Tom)!
- Chili Ale - sweet then tart, chili flavor comes on slowly over the course of the beer, yeasty nose, vegetal flavors
- Stout - Robust flavor, though clean. Thick, back of the throat finish with malty character, malt nose malt flavor malt finish(malt bomb?)
- Brown - malty aroma, crisp, well balanced
- Wheat - (served w/ lemon), honey and yeasty
- Barleywine - sweet and strong, caramel, oaty, toasty, honey
After Wunder we headed over to Jeff's house where we were joined by Heidi. Jeff drove us to Speakeasy, which is just the coolest place to go. Sucks that it's in BFE.
- Big Daddy - Perfect IPA execution. great balance, lots of hop flavor
- Double Daddy - HOP BOMB! Amazing. Best buddies with Pliny the Elder and Dogfish Head 120 Minute
Sometimes after 8 pm and shortly after me mildly spraining my ankle, we arrived at Pizza Orgasmica. We were pretty toasty by this time, so the tasting notes didn't come out, nor would they have been much use. I remember going outside to smoke a lot and talking to a homeless guy. And, I remember, THE ALAMO!
This is Chris, the nice bartender who let the crazy guy take his picture.
Oh god, SHOTS, noooooooooo!
Ok, my memory is a little hazy here, but I THINK we went to the the 540 club..and then a place called Buckshot(I think I lost my ATM card here) and then...
This is what everything looked like to me by the time we made it to Lucky 13
And that's all I have to say about that.
Saturday! New day! What to do, what to do?
12:45 PM, Rogue Ales Public House. Not really a brewery, but an excellent tap room from a great brewery, with awesome food to boot and a cool bartender.
- American Amber - sweet, nutty, some caramel and malt, smooth
- Dead Guy Ale - sweet
- Brutal Bitter - crisp and tasty, refreshing, good match w/ gator gumbo
- Tracktown IPA(guest brew, Eugene City) - good!
Next on the agenda was San Francisco Brewing Company(2:05 pm). The bartender here, Ryan, was totally cool. He chatted us up the whole time we were there and had us cracking up quite a bit. I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of SF Brewing's beers, but it's a cool place to hang out and actually I found out I do like one quite a bit, enough to stay to drink another of the same(Anniversary Ale).
- ShainghaI.P.A. - sweet, smooth, malt-caramel flavors. Didn't finish this beer, too sweet!
- Anniversary Ale - nutty, clean VERY good!
- Emperor Norton Lager - malty and caramel(I think Shannon wrote down malty for every beer she drank. I think I need to learn her that beer is made out of malt.) nice and clean, some sweetness
- Bitter Lumberjack - like a barleywine
SF Brewing has a "spittoon" trough under the bar. Apparently people used to piss in this in the olden times. :o
Next stop, Gordon Biersch(4:15pm). LOLZ! This place was filled with rednecks who were there to attend the Motocross show. It was packed to the brim with mullets, shirts with the sleeves and necks torn out and flannel, as far as the eye could see. Their beers are very "production", meaning not a whole lot of character, but they are miles ahead of things like Miller, Bud, etc. The beers we had were good, just not amazing.
- Pilsner - smooth and clean, a little lemon, refreshing, light
- Marzen - light malty flavor, clean and crisp
From there we WALKED to Thirsty Bear(5:30pm), but only because we could not find a cab. Thisty Bear does not hold a high place in our hearts, but we went there out of a sense of duty to complete the task at hand. If we wouldn't have had to walk, I would have considered it worth it. Here's a nice scene from along the way...
- Howard Street IPA - pretty good! Like Lagunitas
- Golden Vanilla - neat! yummy, smells like a cookie, a cookie in a beer!(this is obviously Shan's review)
6:55 pm, 21st Amendment. We met up with Jeff here. note: they don't seat until the whole party is there...I hate that! The beers were good, but we were more concerned with the food at that point, heh.
- South Park Blonde - very light, crisp and clean, easy drinker, buttery
- West Coast IPA - good standard IPA, nice hops concentration
Well the notes end there, but luckily the pictures don't, so I can still reconstruct what happened next! With our task heroically completed, there was only one thing to do: Celebrate! We headed over to see our buddy Craig at City Beer Store.
I can't remember what I had, but I think it was good. Afterwards we headed to some place in the Sunset to watch Jeff's friends do karaoke(they're really good, and funny). We took the bus back to the Castro and then spent like two surreal hours trying to get food before passing out.
More pictures are at Flickr.