On my list of things to do this year was attend San Francisco Beer Week. I couldn’t do the whole week but along with my Ale Club buddy Andrew, I was able to come up for the final weekend.
We flew up from LA this morning (Saturday) and after checking in to our hotel, we hailed a cab and headed immediately for Haight-Asbury and the Magnolia Pub for their Pre-Barleywine Brunch, in reference to Toronado’s Barleywine Festival. We filled up on some seriously good food with a build your own English breakfast and enjoyed a few tasty beers of course. My favorite in name was definitely the Old Thunder Pussy Barleywine from Magnolia. It was very tasty too! The Twist of Fate from Moonlight Brewing was also very good.
After that we headed down the street to attend the Barleywine Festival which I was really looking forward to. Barleywines are my favorite style and I heard they were going to have a vertical of Sisyphus from Real Ale in Texas. When we got there though, we realized that this was a VERY popular event and that some people had even arrived 2 hours early to stake their table. It was absolutely packed when we got there. I made my way in but it was literally so crowded that moving through it was impossibly difficult and ordering a beer? Fuhgedddabotit.
We did manage to grab a couple of sausages from Rosamunde next door but after realizing how hopeless our mission was at Toronado, we headed across the street to another place called Molotav’s. Turns out, it was a good choice. They had some nice brews on tap and I ran into Mitch Steele from Stone and Mark Silva, who created RealBeer.com. We hung out there for a little bit and then headed down the street to a little place called Noc Noc. They were hosting a Speakeasy event called the St. Valentine’s Mobster Massacre and had some nice Speakeasy brews on tap including one of my favorite IPAs, the Big Daddy and the former Black Daddy now known as the Scarface Stout. And I ran into Meg Gill, the wonder-woman sales manager for Speakeasy. She is a fireball to be sure and had been very busy helping to organize SF Beer Week along with promoting Speakeasy at various events.
After that, we were feeling pretty good and along with having to get up as early as we did for the flight, it was time for a nap back at the hotel before the revelry continued later.
And continue it did. We headed to Churchkey for their Elysian Brewing night. I didn’t know much about them but I discovered one of my new favorite beers in the world… the Bye-Bye Frost Double IPA. It was soooo excellent that I had three! I also had a chance to meet Mike & Lisa Hinkley from Green Flash Brewing and enjoyed a great conversation with them, as well as a few Green Flash brews. Ashley Routson, aka The Beer Wench, also showed up with a friend of hers named Catherine and Tyler King, the brewer at the Bruery and Matt Salie from Big Sky Brewing made appearances as well. It was a pretty cool group and we all had a good time.
But the one thing we were missing was food. We wanted to head to Rogue but didn’t get that far as someone suggested a great Italian restaurant (I think called Ristorante Ideale) that was nearby. So Andrew, Catherine, myself and other person headed over there. They were closing up but let us in anyway and I’m so glad they did. We had some really good food, from the bread, to the Caesar salad and most importantly, the absolute best ravioli I have ever had in my life. It had lobster in it and was bathed in a wonderful tomato and brandy sauce that I could not get enough of. I WILL go back there when I visit SF again.
We had a great meal and for some reason felt the need to order a bottle of wine, which we did not finish. By the time that meal was done, so was our group. It had been a loooonnngggg but really good day and it was time to head back to the hotel and call it a night.