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San Francisco Brewcraft

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

13 Ratings
Ratings: 13
Reviews: 11
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: n/a
[ Homebrew Store ]

1550 Clement Avenue
San Francisco, California, 94118
United States
phone: (415) 751-9338

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

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(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 13 | Reviews: 11 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Jess_sour_girl
5/5  rDev +22.5%

Photo of atpca
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of MexicanSkittel
4.64/5  rDev +13.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

So I may have to update this post at a later date.

Today was first brewing experience. So we went SF homebrew. It was a learning experience day but I have to say the service atthe shop was on point! I have ALL the equipment, but no experience. They guys there were very open to my questions, with tips answers and additional questions for me.

From what I saw as I looked around the selection looked wide, not in space but in options. Equipment, ingredients, bottles, name it they had it.

I can't wait to bottle my first pale ale, start my next batch and continue my shopping here.

Photo of DaveHS
3.36/5  rDev -17.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4

If you live in San Francisco, this is pretty much your only choice for homebrew supplies, unless you have a car or want to order stuff online.

The store is small, cramped and dusty, but that's part of its charm. Decent selection of ingredients, but not always the freshest. Moderate selection of dry and liquid yeast in the refrigerator near the door.

The owner Grizz can write you beer recipes from memory, which is awesome. However, be prepared to be talked down to. He will assess what he feels is your brewing knowledge with one glance and then refuse to sell you the recipe you want, because he feels you can't handle it. He has a lot of strong opinions, which he will be happy to share with you. This makes shopping a less than pleasant experience sometimes.

Prices are average. You can put together most basic recipes for thirty to forty bucks if you have all the equipment.

I strongly suggest you double check that they have given you everything you need for your recipe before leaving the store. I have been in the middle of brewing and found that I was missing something vital. A few reviews on Yelp say similar things.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

Stopped in here for the first time yesterday with my girlfriend and her father. Neither one of them has brewed before, so I'm going to show them the ropes.

I was expecting San Francisco's lone homebrew shop to be massive one-stop-shop of sorts. It was not. In fact, San Francisco Brewcraft is the tiniest homebrew shops I've ever been to. So it goes I guess. Luckily, they seemed to carry all of the basic ingredients and supplies. They also stocked some oddball additions typically used beer: juniper berries, cardamom, clove, etc. This was a nice touch; something my LHBS (Doc's Cellar in San Luis Obispo) doesn't do.

Sitting in the back corner of the room was the legendary man they call "Griz". While obviously past his prime, Griz was talkative and jovial with his customers and employees. Going off of my friend's advice, I showed up to San Francisco Brewcraft without a recipe. I told Griz that we were looking to brew a partial grain west coast-style amber - similar to Red Seal Ale - and he quickly responded, "I've got just the thing." As he drew up the recipe for "Shiver Me Timbers Amber Ale," he gave us a brief rundown of this beer's history, inspiration, and accolades. He then handed the completed recipe to one of his staff, who began filling the order. Griz continued to chat with us until it was time to check out.

The man who filled our order was very quick, friendly, and informative. He offered my party samples of some of the specialty grains going into "Shiver Me Timbers," which I know my girlfriend and her father really appreciated (I liked the gesture too). He also told me where I could find more info about local homebrew clubs and competitions.

After about twenty minutes, we were on our way home with a bag of supplies. Great service, decent selection; a worthwhile stop for homebrewers on the peninsula!

EDIT (09-14-2010): After stopping in here a few more times, I take back what I said about the selection. San Francisco Brewcraft actually carries a wide variety of malts, equipment, and other brewing supplies. I recently bought two 3 gallon glass carboys for $27 a piece, and I'm considering buying an all-grain kit they're selling for $89.

As hinted at above, SF Brewcraft offers very competitive prices on all of their of items. My girlfriend's father recently bought his first home brewing kit. It came with all of the essentials (minus a thermometer, which was odd) plus a 5 gallon glass carboy and a complimentary first batch. The total cost was a mere $158.

Photo of joedon
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%

Located in a very old building in a semi-residential neighborhood. The store is very cramped, dark and sort of disorganized. You'll definitely need help from staff to find what you need. They are helpful and knowledgeable.

Did not see any books or magazines for sale. Good selection of grains which they will grind for you. White labs yeast selection but was decent but I found a couple of vials that were about 6 months past freshness date. Saw very little equipment on display or for sale

An OK place for brewing supplies. I'm spoiled living near Northern Brewer which is the best in the nation.

Photo of BrewerB
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%

Well, as much as love to support my local homebrew shop, I don't necessarily stick to that rule with San Francisco's Brewcraft.

Now, before you think I'm ripping the place, I'm not. The staff is friendly, the materials, equipment, etc are easy to find. They'll even weigh your grains out if you ask nicely.

What gets me is their attitude towards brewing. It's a bit lackadaisical for my tastes. For rexample, last time I was it was to obtain ingredients for a Belgian Golden Strong Ale with an OG around 1.072. I inquired about making a yeast starter "Should I be using Dried Pilsner Malt instead of regular old DME"? A bit surprised when he told me to just use the one vial. Uhm?? No! For a 1.070 beer? One vial of yeast?

Anyway - in a pinch, these guys are great. And for a lot of the laid-back, relax-have-a-homebrew crowd, live in richmond/sunset crowd, this place works. But I tend to by my stuff from B3 in Concord.

Photo of Gilmango
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Given the size of the store the selection is quite impressive. I think that they do things well with the space they have too, for instance, they stock White Labs but not Wyeast, but that allows them to keep darn near every White Labs yeast in stock and generally fresh. Another example, they only sell one type of liquid malt extract, but it is the right one (light / pale) and as a result it is always fresh. They somehow cram about 80 different types of grains in their small store. They did an amazing job keeping hops in stock during the shortage, especially if you were flexible enough about using pellets, plug or whole hops.

Other good things, they always offer to grind your malts for free and their grinder setting is a good one. They also let you buy your base malts by the sack but take only what you need, e.g., you pay a discounted price up front for you 50# sack of 2 row, and take home 14# of it, milled for you the first day with your specialty grain, your remaining 36# are waiting for you from the freshest delivery when you come back. Free classes for beginners or brewers moving from extract to all grain. They also really encourage extract/steep brewers to do partial mashes, which also opens doors to all grain brewing - or simply improves your extract brew.

Good and bad, lots of opinions offered. If you know what you are doing or are looking for guidance I'd say the advice is genrally good albeit opinionated. If you are somewhere in between it may seem over the top when coming from the owner. Yes, Griz is a character, but his bark is worse than his bite. His wife and the hired clerks are helpful without offering up strong opinions unless pressed.

Photo of isaac
4.65/5  rDev +14%

i'm brewing! i'm brewing!

these guys are great, helpful, and infinitely knowledgable about homebrewing. they have a very informative class for novice brewer (for free) and you can even call them up to ask questions about your beer, which they will happily answer.
personally, i'm now in the secondary stages of brewing an all cascade IPA and, though i'm a little scared i messed it up, i'm going to take the advice i learned from the guys at this store and relax. brewing, it seems, is a creative process and, just like painting, you probably won't create a masterpiece the first time around. sorry, getting off subject there...
but i guess that's part of the review for this store - you learn stuff about beer and, in turn, you learn stuff about yourself through the process.

Photo of Xian24
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%

This place is fantastic. Griz is for sure a character. He and his staff will answer any stupid homebrewing rookie question you could ask without beer snobbery or attitude. I know, i've asked them all. His prices are fantastic, especially when compared to other places in the Bay area and on the web. Unless he doesnt carry it, I get everything from SFBrewcraft.

Here is an article from the SF Chronicle about Griz

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2006/09/20/charstud.DTL&hw=larry+gallagher&sn=004&sc=426

Photo of clickpush
4/5  rDev -2%

I've known about this location for some time. I wandered in several months ago and was greeted warmly and given a tour of the store and the run down on how to start brewing at home. After sitting on the idea for a while, I decided it was time to take action and buy myself the necessary equipment for home brewing.

I stopped in a couple days ago, and though they were getting ready to close the store, both clerks took about 20 minutes to explain their start-up deals, help me pick a recipe and supplies, and offered me a beer while we were chatting.

Although I don't know anything, yet, about home brewing, the selection of this place seemed impressive. About 100 kinds of yeast, 30 kinds of barley, and seemingly all the hardware one would need to get their feet off the ground (and into the brew).

For about $98 I was given everything I would need to create my first batch, including ingredients, primary & secondary fermentation tanks, bottle brushes, etc... I had to spend nearly $50 on a 5 gallon saucepan, but it's worth it to me just to have it in the kitchen.

My feelings were hurt (slightly) when I asked for a porter recipe and was told I couldn't do that on my first batch because it was too difficult. Because I don't know anything about homebrewing, I was ready to argue... but the difference was not adequately explained to me and I left feeling slightly jaded.

But, I will continue shopping here for all my beer making needs.

Photo of PeatReek
3.25/5  rDev -20.3%

Pretty decent hop selection, pretty decent yeast selection, all the equipment you'll ever need, and quite a remarkable selection of grains. 80 different grains, as they're fond of telling you over and over. You walk in, hand Griz your grainbill, and he has a guy go get it, blend it, and mill it for you.

That said, Griz is generally insufferable. I have no doubt that he is a complete brewing expert, and once you've been here a while he's a "character" and "part of the scene" and whatever, but in the meantime it's just frustrating. Be prepared to have your recipe torn apart, because you're using the wrong extract, and you're asking for this adjunct when you really should use that one, etc. I can see why so many people end up at Oak Barrel even though the selection pales in comparison.

Photo of donnebaby
4/5  rDev -2%

This is the first homebrew shop I've patroned, due to it being the nearest one to my current home as I homebrew. I like it. It's small and well stocked with all the basics for homebrewing. They offer several starter kits for beginners and have a large stock of free recipes free for the taking, as well as literature for the perusing. A free brewing class each monday nite at 6:30 or thereabouts.

The whole place possesses an atmosphere of a carpenter's workroom or something.

They'll auger your malt for you, which is nice.

Griz, the main worker (owner?) is always an essential and ridiculous part of any visit to SF Brewcraft. He seems like Jerry Garcia from an alternate universe and is fully of strong, and often crude opinions on everything.

Don't have any overt complaints about this shop, but I don't have anything to compare it to either.

San Francisco Brewcraft in San Francisco, CA
91 out of 100 based on 13 ratings.