San Francisco's beervolution
I am working on a story about San Francisco beer because in a city surrounded by vineyards, it is all too easy to fall in to the frame of thinking that the most delicious local adult beverages come from grapes. The fact is, San Francisco has a well established and growing brewing industry that aims to prove that barley, grains, and hops can create equal pleasure for the 21-plus-year-old palate.
As Dave McLean, owner of Magnolia Pub and Brewery on Haight Street told me, “San Francisco has been a great brewing city throughout its entire history.” Brewing in the city started in the Gold Rush era. Anchor Brewery Company, the city’s brewing longevity champion, began beer making well before prohibition in 1898.
Fast forward to 2011 and San Francisco’s reputation as a beer town appears ready to springboard. McLean is looking to open a new Magnolia location in the Dogpatch neighborhood. Meanwhile, fledgling Local Brewing Company has teamed up with Thirsty Bear Brewery to brew 500 gallons of their Glen Park Pale Ale as they attempt to familiarize more people with their beer and raise enough funds to open up their own brewery and tap room in the city.
Local Brewing co-founder Regan Long says what makes the company unique is that it is really embracing the locavore movement. “We try to use local ingredients whenever possible, we also have local vendors,” she says. “Our sweatshirts that we have for our rewards for kickstarter are made in California, our one-liter stainless steal growlers, are made by a vendor here in San Francisco called Earthlust, so we try to keep it local in every way.
For those of us who like to take a more hands on approach to beer making, Beer Craft is an easy to use guide that explains how to brew in your own kitchen, even if it is only slightly larger than a shoe box. Mission-based authors William Bostwick and Jessi Rymill explore different ingredients, offer a trouble shooting section, and even describe the best way to make beer labels.
The San Francisco Brewers Guild website has all sorts of interesting information about craft beer in the city, where to find it, and how to meet some of San Francisco’s finest beer makers.