There’s a daunting number of breweries popping up these days.
Case in point? Tickets for SF Beer Week’s Opening Gala are now for sale, and a whopping 120 breweries will be in attendance.
“Hoppy, aromatic IPAs”, “stiff stouts”, “adventurous ales” … All the options start to sound the same.
We’re here to help. We’ve carefully chosen five must-stop Bay Area breweries — one for each neighborhood repping at Beer Week — along with a beer to try, and a place you’re going to grab eats after.
That’s assuming you didn’t stuff yourself on pretzels.
Located in Dogpatch — SF’s bayside shipyard turned eatery Eden — Harmonic Brewing’s got a laidback space and a bevy of classics and seasonal brews to choose from.
Beer to try: The Season 2017 Chocolate Stout (Nitro) … 6% ABV, with Dandelion Chocolate Ecuadorean cacao nibs.
Grub you’re grabbing after: Hard Knox Cafe for some Southern Style fried chicken.
The ultimate good feels neighborhood spot in Temsecal, Oakland. Cotton candy-colored cans, outdoor seating and a staff that’ll let ya bring in food or fill up a growler for the road.
Beer to try: Dreamer Pils … 4.8%, crisp and refreshing, ideal for throwing a few back under the sun.
Grub you’re grabbing after: Cholita Linda for Latin-American street food-esque dishes.
Mad Fritz Beer
Napa Valley beer? Sure, right after my ski trip to Florida! Actually, it’s definitely worth making an appointment to this unique spot up in St. Helena. Mad Fritz barrel-ages its wacky backstory beers and packages them like wine bottles.
Beer to try: The Bear and the Bees … 5.6%, an ale made with foraged honey from wild beehives around Napa Valley.
Grub you’re grabbing after: Gott’s Roadside (the original!) for picnic burgers and tacos.
Humble Sea Brewing Co.
Just two years old, this Santa Cruz taproom’s got 16 beers on tap, an outdoor beer garden and very, very chill seaside vibes.
Beer to try: Barrel Aged Playa Grande … 9%, Mexican IPL left to marinate in tequila barrels from local distillery Venus Spirits.
Grub you’re grabbing after: Surfrider Cafe for American pub fare and a few extra Teddy Bruschi’s.
Hop Dogma Brewing Co.
Head down the coast to El Granada for a local haunt that effortlessly mixes handcrafted brews with relaxing ocean views.
Beer to try: Spooky Doings … 10%, a Stranger Things-inspired collab with EJ Phair Brewing Co.
Grub you’re grabbing after: Sam’s Chowder House for fresh seafood.