It's Beer Week in the Bay Area, and while the massive list of events throughout the region has us hastily scheduling functioning alcoholism onto our calendars, the 2018 incarnation of this festival reads to us here at The Six Fifty like a victory lap for craft brewing culture on the Peninsula.
Not only did we find so many events within our own area code that we couldn't fit them all on this list, but the lineup of what the 6-5-0 has to showcase this year is notably diverse, quality driven and competitive with any other area of the Bay. And yes, Beer Week is technically a San Francisco-oriented event, but Peninsula brewers have increasingly established themselves as formidable purveyors of the craft.
So while there are a lot of quality offerings around the greater Bay Area, we're staying within the confines of the six fifty and drinking our way around the Peninsula with boozy pride for how impressively our local beer-making culture has ascended.
Start your Beer Week off bright and early with the always popular Wake and Break(fast) at Taplands, where they'll be featuring a variety of different coffee beers and hearty breakfast brews to match with their—wait for it—doughnut sandwiches!
Other events include a variety of tap takeovers showcasing first-rate craft beer makers, including Breakside Brewery of Portland, Oregon.
If you make it to Taplands this week be sure to also check out their well-stocked Bottle Shop, which boasts such an impressive array of rare craft selections that my liver hurts just thinking about it. (Oh wait...it might be the doughnut sandwich.)
1171 Homestead Road, Santa Clara (408) 709-2990 www.Taplands.com
Clocking in as the George Harrison of Peninsula brewing, Alpha Acid has been quietly making some of the most creative beers on the Peninsula, from sour ales to barrel-aged specialties (with a whole spectrum of nuanced IPAs in between).
Their Beer Week events reflect this compelling repertoire, starting with Barrel Constrictor Day, in which these Belmont brewers will showcase a highly limited (as in—arrive early) selection of their top-notch imperial stout aged in a variety of different barrels (Caribbean Rum, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Old World Spirits Brandy). This will be followed by IPA Day (which includes the can release of their 650 IPA), before closing out the week with a showcase of their sour ales on tap. It's just like the Beatles said—Happiness is a Cold Beer.
121 Industrial Rd #11, Belmont (650) 394-4728 www.AlphaAcidBrewing.com
One of the hottest tickets to Beer Week this year has been the Women's Only Beer Tasting and Appreciation event at Devil's Canyon with brewery owner Kristiann Garret. Last we checked, there were only a few spots left, so make haste, ladies!
But don't worry guys, their other event is a marquee draw as well—the 5th Annual West Coast Craft Can Invitational, which features the likes of Big Sky Brewing (the Montana makers of Moose Drool), Founders Brewing Co. (whose Breakfast Stout is a Six Fifty favorite) and Green Flash (West Coast IPA!), to name just a few of the 20 breweries that will be showcasing their canned magic. (Better yet, admission includes all the Devil's Canyon root beer you can drink.)
Of course, every Friday feels like Beer Week at Devil's Canyon during their weekly Beer Garden event at the brewery, so don't be too discouraged if you find these featured events sold out.
935 Washington St, San Carlos (650) 592-2739 www.DevilsCanyon.com
The launch of Beer Week 2018 just so happens to coincide with the one-year anniversary of Blue Oak Brewing in San Carlos. We suspect that their (free) birthday party might get a bit rowdy by the time the South Bay Dub All Stars take the stage, so plan (well...pace) accordingly.
Happy Birthday, Blue Oak!
821 Cherry Lane, San Carlos (415) 273-9676 www.BlueOakBrewing.com
What is Beer Week without your Firkin Friends?
Freewheel Brewing Co. applies their English-pub sensibilities to that concern with their Firkin Friends Fest, in which they host a lively mini Cask Ale festival with nine other regional breweries, including Hop Dogma, South City Ciderworks and Barebottle Brewing Company.
Or, for a more hands on brewing experience this week, register for Freewheel's 3rd Annual Battle of Brew Clubs, where the winners will get to brew their recipe on Freewheel's in-house system.
With all that said, don't sleep on getting acquainted with their beers. Since 2012, Freewheel has been producing highly refined (non-trendy) brews, like their London Calling Bitter (...RIP Joe Strummer) and—our favorite—Wenlock Stout.
3736 Florence St, Redwood City (650) 365-2337 www.FreeWheelBrewing.com
If you check out a new location for Beer Week this year, we highly recommend making it out to Sacrilege Brewing on Main Street in Half Moon Bay. Easily one of our favorite taprooms in the Bay Area, Sacrilege turns out a great menu of food (make sure to get the Burrata Poutine) alongside a diverse list of regularly rotating beers, from pilsner to pale ale.
For Beer Week, Sacrilege is hosting a Sierra Nevada Beer Brunch, as well as a trio of events showcasing a variety of offerings from Firestone Walker Brewing Company, including a prix fixe Mardi Gras Beer Dinner and a Sour Valentine's Day party.
730 Main Street, Half Moon Bay (650) 276-7029 www.SacrilegeBrewing.com
Armstrong Brewing of San Francisco isn't messing around for Beer Week this year, boasting a packed schedule that has them surfacing in various locations around the Bay.
Best of all, conclude your Beer Week with Armstrong's Annual Mystery Night. All we know is that it involves a surprise and a beer.
415 Grand Ave, Suite #103, South San Francisco (650) 989-8447 www.ArmstrongBrewing.com
Also worth noting around the Peninsula:
- Seismic Brewing Tap Takeover at Devil's Slide Brewery in Pacifica (2/10)
- Blind Barrel-Aged Beer Takeover at Harry's Hofbrau in Redwood City (2/10)
- Special Bottle Saturday at Jane's Beer Store in Mountain View (2/10)
- Beers around the Bay at Steins Beer Garden in Mountain View (2/13)
- IPA Showcase at The Refuge in Menlo Park (2/15)
- Dogfish Head Night at Armadillo Willy's BBQ in Santa Clara (2/16)
- Peninsula Brewery Tap Takeover at 47 Hills Brewery in South San Francisco (2/18)
The Six Fifty is a new local blog covering food, arts and ideas on the Peninsula.