SF Beer Week Pours Into North Beach

Annual Beer Event Showcasing Bay Area Craft Breweries Returns To North Beach

By Joe Bonadio

It’s hard to believe it’s already mid-February, but the calendar doesn’t lie, and neither does the thermometer: It’s 68 degrees as I write this, and in North Beach there’s nary a cloud in the sky. While it may be strangely summery, the timing couldn’t be more perfect for one of San Francisco’s favorite annual events: SF Beer Week.

SF Beer Week is celebrating its 10th year, and the festivities run from February 10th-19th this time around, with events spanning from the North Bay all the way down to Santa Cruz. There are fully 800 different events planned, 440 of them in San Francisco alone. There’s truly something for everybody, with events including food pairings, tap takeovers, tastings, special beer releases, collaborative brews, panel discussions–you name it. 

In a city with such a rich brewing history and so many craft producers, it should come as no surprise that one of our biggest celebrations surrounds the beloved beverage. According to the latest numbers, California is home to more than 900 craft breweries, more than any other state in the U.S.; over 100 of these opened in 2017 alone. 

San Francisco is widely credited as the birthplace of the craft beer boom. The first of the modern microbreweries, Anchor Brewing started the ball rolling with their steam beer back in 1965 (they were around before that, but their beer was lousy until brewing champion Fritz Maytag bought them out). Anchor’s success inspired dozens of smaller San Francisco brewers to throw their hats into the ring, and before you knew it, the craft beer trend was nationwide.

Here in North Beach, for the last nine years we’ve done our part by hosting the 7x7 North Beach Beerfest. Eight of our best bars will participate in this year’s festival, to take place Saturday, February 17th, and feature tap takeovers from eight different San Francisco breweries. Every venue hosts its own local brewer, and each brewer will pour three unique beers, guaranteeing a huge selection of local brews. Depending on the venue there will be special food pairings, along with music and other entertainment.

Tickets are just $12 ($15 on the day of the event). That gets you an event map and a wristband for discounted tastings–and the first 300 lucky attendees get a commemorative North Beach Beerfest t-shirt. Come for the crowd or come for the beer, you’re sure to have a great time! And it’s a great way to support Muttville, a local nonprofit that helps to find good homes for older dogs. 

Here’s a list of our participating bars, and the brewers they will be hosting:

Belle Cora - 565 Green Street - Fort Point
Boardroom - 1609 Powell Street - Fieldwork
Church Key - 1402 Grant Avenue - Social Kitchen & Brewery
Columbus Cafe - 562 Green Street - Lagunitas
Northstar Cafe - 1560 Powell Street - Drakes
Rogue Ales - 673 Union Street  - Bare Bottle
Tope - 1326 Grant Avenue - Calicraft
Tupelo - 1337 Grant Avenue - Laughing Monk

You can get tickets for this Saturday's event here.

We spoke with Nils Marthinsen of Belle Cora about the event, which he’s participating in for the third year in a row. “I’m featuring Fort Point Brewery, which is located down at Crissy Field in one of the old abandoned airplane hangars. What I think is really cool abut the event is not only are we hosting a brewery, and showcasing a number of their beers, but we also have people from the brewery that are going to be on-site. Kind of like beer ambassadors, they’re friendly, and just excited to talk about beer.” 

Fort Point will be pouring four brews at Belle Cora this Saturday: their KSA Kolsch, which is normally on tap at the bar, as well as Villager IPA, Mosaic Park and Animal IPA. Marthinsen is a craft beer advocate, and looks forward to this event. “It’s great that you can be exposed to so many different brewers and so many different beers, without having to order a pint every time.”

Meanwhile, today is Mardi Gras, and in North Beach we tend to take these things seriously. In case you doubt us on this, consider the following video of our very own North Beach Brass Band. Every year around this time, they do a New Orleans-style walkabout of the Beach, just to ensure no one can escape the general roguishness and conviviality of the holiday. It’s a tradition that we love. Make sure to check it out below, and don’t forget to come out to see us for the 7X7 North Beach Beerfest on Saturday February 17th starting at 2:00. See you then!