Friday, February 10, 2012 marked the beginning of SF Beer Week with the Opening Celebration and it started off with a bang. This festival expanded on the previous years to become one of the best beer festivals I have attended.
The highlight of this festival was the strong presence of over 50 (likely close to 65) breweries from the San Francisco Bay Area and neighboring counties. Not only were they pouring some of their favorites but each brewery brought special and rare releases of beer. I’ve never been to a festival with such a high percentage and variety of special, seasonal, or limited release offerings. The Barrel-Aged Beer Festival at The Bistro in Hayward comes close but all of that beer is barrel aged. The Great American Beer Festival has a large number of special releases but the breweries are also their to show off and compete with their everyday selections. It was fantastic to be able to try Drake’s Hopocalypse Black Label Triple IPA, Triple Rock’s Rodger’s Last Stand, Russian River’s Pliny the Younger and Beatification, and more. The stand out beer of the evening, for me, was Speakeasy’s Massacre, a black wheat wine made with cherries and aged in bourbon barrels.
On top of great beer there was great food at reasonable prices (for a beer festival). I tried options from both Rosamunde Sausage Grill and TomKat Asian Street Food. The food was great and the price was about what I would expect if I went directly to the food vendor.
One great thing about the Opening Celebration is that the organizers listened to and learned from the feedback from the Opening Gala last year. This year there was plenty of water, tons of food options, and a large open space. The only problem this year was the lack of bathrooms, which can even be a problem at the Great American Beer Festival.
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View all Beer 47 SF Beer Week photos on Flickr.
A special thanks goes out to Dom and Brian from Uber. They were curious about my photography and posed for a couple of great photos. They were nice enough to offer me a complementary ride home on Uber, which I shared with some fellow Bay Area Beer Bloggers (John Heylin and Dave McAcoy), at the end of the evening. Uber is not cheap but if you have the means, I highly recommend using their car service during SF Beer Week.