What started in a humble twelve-ounce can has bubbled over the brim and flooded the world — and even SF Beer Week can no longer contain the excitement generated by American craft beer. The celebration, which runs February 11-20, will be spilling into all corners of the Bay Area this year while soaking the bars, pubs, and breweries of the East Bay with some of most anticipated of events — and some of the most commendable beers in the world.
For day one, pick your kickoff — perhaps at The Englander in San Leandro where ten beers from Drake's Brewing Company will be served on tap. Or venture east to the Hop Yard American Ale House and Grill in Pleasanton, where the 31 taps will be pouring Bay Area-made brews all week.
On Saturday, February 12, confirm, debunk, or debate the current rumor that Lagunitas Brewing Company has made the bitterest beer on Earth when that beast goes on tap along with sixty other tongue-scorchers at The Bistro's annual Double IPA Festival. That same evening, Solano Cellars in Albany, always up to something brainy with fermented things, will host a "Transatlantic Beer Flights" guided tasting. For $15, participants will develop a brisk buzz while tasting the differences that the Atlantic Ocean has carved between American and European interpretations of the same beer styles.
Also on February 12, Triple Rock will put on tap a boozy imperial stout called Keyser Soze that spent several months locked in a bourbon barrel. Drinkers will also get to sample a freshly released version that the brewers have warned could weigh in at 13 percent alcohol or more. But Beer Week's beers get even bigger, and two of the biggest in America are coming to Beer Revolution on February 13 when Dogfish Head Craft Ales of Delaware unleashes its Olde School Barleywine and World Wide Stout — the latter an 18 percent head-spinner. In the same venue on the same evening, Anchor Brewing Company reps will serve their more modest and gentlemanly barleywine, Old Foghorn, and guide guests through a vertical tasting of the Potrero Hill brewery's annual Christmas ale.
Oakland's Commonwealth Cafe and Pub will be pairing British beers with British cheeses on February 13. On the 15th, Wine Thieves in Lafayette will echo the theme when it pairs strong beers with smelly cheeses. On February 16 at The Churchward Pub, our homegrown Bison Brewing Company's Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Imperial Brown will make its inaugural voyage down the public gullet. On the 19th, the 2nd Annual Chocolate and Beer Festival Fundraiser pairs local suds to chocolate and fudge at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond.
From start to finish, 315 beer-heavy events will come and go. Visit SFBeerWeek.org, set your course, and pace yourself. After all, SF Beer Week is ten days long.