SF Beer Week was a 10 day celebration of craft beer that took place from February 6-16, 2009. The events were not only held in the original craft beer city of San Francisco but also throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, from Santa Rosa to Santa Cruz and everything in between. This year, 2009, was the first year in which this celebration was held. Judging by this and the three others events that I attended, SF Beer Week seemed like a success.
I kicked off my participation in SF Beer Week by attending the City Beer Store Bottle Tasting with AleSmith Brewing Company. City Beer Store is a great beer store and bar in San Francisco where you can buy beer to take home or you can drink it right there in the store. AleSmith Brewing Company was started in 1995 by Peter Zien, a hombrewer who “always wanted to own a brewery.” According to the website, AleSmith beers have won over 400 medals and honors. It also appears that most of the AleSmith employees are also homebrewers.
I arrived at City Beer store about an hour after the start of the event and discovered that they were at capacity and there was a wait to get in. We got our numbers and waited and after about 20 minutes they stopped giving out numbers altogether. Finally, after a 30 minute wait we were in. This small store was wall to wall people enjoying some great beer. In addition to all of their regular offerings at the store, for the price of the event tasting (I think it was $15) you received 5 tasting tickets and a small tasting glass.
The AleSmith beers that were offered on tap were: AleSmtih X, Wee Heavy, YuleSmith, and I believe Speedway Stout but the stout was all gone by the time we got into the event. I sampled each one, except for the stout, of course.
The AleSmith X is what they call an Extra Pale Ale and it had a very nice citrus hop bouquet.
I had two samples of the Wee Heavy, a Scotch ale that was very malty, sweet, complex, wonderful, and warm with 10% alcohol by volume. It is a great beer and I felt that two samples added up to enough beer to review it so keep an eye out for a review of this beer coming soon.
Finally, I had two samples of YuleSmith and this time I had it in a larger glass. YuleSmith is AleSmith’s holiday beer of which they have two versions, one for winter and one for summer. I had the winter version and it had great hop and malt characterists and also had a nice warming sensation with 9.5% alcohol by volume. I wrote a more extensive review of this beer as well, which I will post soon.
After sampling these great beers I was feeling a little claustrophobic and ready to move on to the next SF Beer Week event at the Jug Shop where I would sample great beers from a can.