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The country’s premier Beer Week is held in San Francisco, where craft beer — and American IPA — was born. San Francisco Beer Week was born in 2003 as Beerapalooza. Now boasting over 600 events, this festival offers a chance to savor the rarest and most sought after crafts, attend delicious beer dinners prepared by culinary experts and become immersed in one of the best beer cultures in the nation. February was traditionally  the slowest month for beer sales now Beer Week can be the best weeks of the year when many craft breweries debut their most anticipated releases.

Locally, you should stop by The Monk’s Kettle (3141 16th St) for an American Sour/Funk Fest and to talk shop or chopp and peruse their world renowned offerings.

"Here we have 100 brewers chasing the same corners of the beer palate.”

That is, as we consider the state of local craft brewing for Beer Week 2018, which four beers are the region’s most important, iconic, influential and delicious?It’s a question that sparked much debate in our office, and hopefully will be a fun conversation for you, too. Share your four picks and join the discussion on social media with the hashtag #FourBayBeers.

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2018 SF Beer Week Articles:

The 10 Unmissable Events For SF Beer Week

Beer in the Bay: San Francisco Beer Week begins!


16th Street BART

  • The Monk’s Kettle (Beer Bar/Restaurant) 3141 16th St @ Albion St (415) 865-9523

  • Standard Deviant Brewing (Brewery/Tap Room) 280 14th St @ Mission (415) 590-2550  (New 2016)

  • Southpaw BBQ 2170 Mission St b/t Sycamore St & 18th St (415) 934-9300 (Brewpub/Restaurant )  

  • Crafty Fox Ale House 1700 Mission St @Division (415) 416-6602 (Beer Bar/ Restaurant) 

  • Zeitgeist 199 Valencia St San Francisco, CA 94103 at Duboce Ave (415) 431-6891 (Bar/Beer garden) 

  • Cervecería de MateVeza 3801 18th St@ Church St (415) 212-8412 (Nano-Brewpub)  

  • Southern Pacific Brewing 620 Treat Ave b/t 19th St (415) 341-0152 (Brewpub )

24th Street BART

  • Rosamunde Sausage Grill 2832 Mission St @ 24th St (415) 970-9015 Bar) 

  • Almanac Beer Taproom 2704 24th St @ Potrero Ave (415) 932-6531 (Tap Room/Restaurant  (New 2016)

  • Pi Bar 1432 Valencia St b/t 26th St & 25th St (415) 970-9670 (Beer Bar/Restaurant) 

  • Shotwell’s 3349 20th St @ Shotwell St (415) 648-4104 (Beer Bar) 

  • Alamo Drafthouse/Bear vs. Bull 2550 Mission St b/t 21st St & 22nd St (Bar) 

  • Amnesia 853 Valencia St b/t 20th St & 19th St (Beer Bar/ Performance Venue) 

  • Bare Bottle Brewing  1525 Cortland Ave (415) 926-8617 Room)   (New 2016)

  • Bel 3215 Mission St b/t Valencia St & Fair Ave (415) 206-1000 (Restaurant/Beer Bar) 

  • Old Bus Tavern 3193 Mission St b/t Valencia St & Powers Ave (415) 843-1938 (Brewpub) 

  • Old Devil Moon 3472 Mission St @ Cortland Ave (Beer Bar/Cocktails/Restaurant) (New 2016)

Register to create your own itinerary at


Esther Mobley, Chronicle wine, beer & spirits writer: 
"Russian River Brewing Pliny the Younger. I was tempted to say Pliny the Elder, the more democratic of Russian River Brewing Co.’s ancient Roman-inspired IPAs. But what single beer could capture the contemporary sense of the craft-brewing craze better than Younger, the ultra-hoppy triple IPA that draws thousands of people to wait in line for hours (days!) at the Santa Rosa brewery every February? It encapsulates “cult” as no other California beer can."

Paolo Lucchesi, Chronicle food editor:

"Lagunitas IPA. Even though Heineken owns half of the company these days, there must still be a spot reserved for Lagunitas (Laguneiken? Heinekinitas?). And given the city’s ongoing, fervent love affair with IPA, IPA still rules the city. So there needs to be one IPA on the list. Bear Republic’s Racer 5, Speakeasy’s Big Daddy and Lagunitas IPA all brought that beer style into our mainstream, but more importantly, they were part of the generation that really helped propel craft beer to the San Francisco masses — not just fancy breweries, but normal corner bars. And in pure volume, Lagunitas still easily leads the way for all Northern California brewers not named Sierra." 

Maggie Hoffman, Bay Area beer writer:

"Anchor Liberty Ale. Sure, Steam has been around much longer, but in 1975, Liberty was the beer that changed it all, that in many ways launched the identity of the hop head. Maybe some other small brewer would have come along to popularize dry-hopping with copious (for the time) quantities of Cascade hops and convinced us to embrace deliciously bitter beer — the iconic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale arrived on the scene soon after — but Anchor’s Liberty took that first step, and for that, we should be thankful. (Though Lagunitas IPA is a pretty good call, too.)"

Tim O’Rourke, Chronicle assistant managing editor:

"Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA. Yes, we know. This list is getting a little hop heavy for the refined tastes of the Bay Area. Still, there’s no denying the region’s impact on the global interpretation of the indefatigable India pale ale, no matter how oversaturated the market. With apologies to Lagunitas, Drake’s, Fieldwork and Faction, Bear Republic’s standard-bearer has defined the floral-accented flavor profile of the Bay Area IPA better than any of its rivals."


The conventional wisdom was: Interest rates are low, the market is growing, there’s room for craft beer to take market share,” said Nico Freccia, co-founder of 21st Amendment Brewery, which also expanded its brewing operations significantly in 2015, building a $30 million facility in San Leandro meant to quintuple production. “But when there’s a market downturn, there are costs you can’t anticipate. You can get in over your head quickly.”

Since 2015, beer sales have slowed — not just for Speakeasy, but for craft beer nationally. “Sales are still growing,” said Lester Jones, chief economist for the National Beer Wholesalers Association. “But we’re talking single-digit growth versus double-digit growth.”

The costly expansion raised the stakes for Speakeasy. “We missed the numbers,” said the brewery’s owner and founder, Forest Gray   “We just didn’t perform to where we had been.”