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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

SF Beer Week In Review: Part 1

San Francisco Beer Week is hard to describe, as it's not 100%  about San Francisco beer, nor is the time limited to one singular week.  It's more like a collection of small beer festivals scattered around what is a very loose definition of the SF Bay Area.  I think it's a huge testament to the love for craft beer that we have in this state, and it's pretty neat that there are even enough venues around to hold this many events!

Each year, SF Beer week gets a bit larger, with the number of events this year topping 500!  I was determined to attend a small number of them in order to bring a portion of what we go through to you, the folks at home.  I suffer for you, I really do.

Anchor Brewing
The first event we went to was more of a pre-opener at the Anchor Brewery as they unveiled their newest beer, California Lager, which is a re-release of the beer they brewed last year for their Zymaster Series, but are shifting it into full-time production this year. The beer is a nod to the very first lager brewed in California by the obviously now-defunct Boca Brewing, up near the Truckee River.  The label that Anchor designed took several elements from the old Boca Brewing labels, and brings back the heritage of this beer.  Looking at it, you get a sense of history.  Or it could have been the beer in my head.  For more info on this beer, hit up the Anchor Blog.

I thought the beer was great.  I got some nice, spicy / sweet notes, along with some good fruity esters (green apricots).  Very much reminded me of a Mexican Lager, but with more body.  If that makes any sense.  Grab some, you'll like it!

The Boca Brewing Label
I love this label!
If you are into the whole outdoors thing, Anchor is donating a portion of the sales of the California Lager to the California State Parks in order to preserve the places that snakes and bugs and spiders call home, and where regular folks like you and me get lost.  And eaten.  By animals.  But don't let the fact that you are just staving off a parking lot or an IKEA prevent you from buying this beer - it's fantastic!

We got to interview Keith Greggor, the CEO of Anchor, about the new beer, which was a real pleasure.  Keith said the partnership beween Anchor and the State Parks was a "natural one, and much more meaningful than a sponsorship", which is a great quote.

Anchor puts on an event like no other - tons of food, and the beer flows and flows.  Lots more photos of the event on The Brewing Network Facebok page ...

SF Beer Week Opening Non-Gala
After it's demotion from Gala to simply Opening Event, the official kickoff to the Week (that's not really a week) began two days after the Anchor event.  In a hall full of craft beer from around the state (didn't I tell you it was more than just SF beer?), people lined up by the hundreds to get in.  Of course, since I'm media, I got to walk around and try all the beers first.  And they were great!  Once the general public were let in, a great chunk of them made a bee-line to ... Pliny the Younger!  Look, its a good beer and all, but that hall was packed with great beers from new breweries and old ones alike, and after waiting for 2 hours outside, then 30 min inside, why on Planet Earth would you want to wait an additional 30 min just to drink a beer?  I'll never understand that.

Another year, another great event!

For me, there were a couple of standouts.  One of which was Tree Beer - a collaboration between Drakes Brewing and my close, personal friend Mr. Rodger Davis and his new brewery, Faction.  It was brewed with Grand Fir leaves (like the tree.  Get it?) And that beer had a wonderful pine / sap aftertaste that just made me smile.  It was like getting drunk off of Christmas itself!

The most plentiful thing I saw at the fest was ... The Ironic HandleBar Moustache, in all of it's twisted, curvy glory.  Which, by the way, is no longer ironic.  It's just a moustache.  Like a joke that has gone on too long, or a houseguest that has overstayed his welcome, guys were wandering around the hall, drinking IPAs and twisting their wispy face hair in a vain attempt to stand out in the crowd.  It really made me hate going to The City, and I wish I never had to again.   More pics at The Brewing Network Facebok page ...

Part 2 in a few days ...

1 comment:

  1. JP, how did you ever learn what green apricots taste like? Were they part of a sensory class you took? I'm not sure how I'd even go about finding a green apricot unless I came across a tree in the neighborhood