City Beer Store


197 Reviews
City Beer StoreCity Beer Store

Type: Bar, Store

1168 Folsom St
San Francisco, California, 94103-6027
United States

(415) 503-1033 | map

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Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-08-2006

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Reviews: 197 | Ratings: 327
Photo of bboven
4.09/5  rDev -7.5%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4

The building itself is kind of cold and impersonal with little in the way of decor. There are a couple of lonely looking tables and a cement floor and plain walls. This is the only bad part of this place.

The duo that run the store are husband and wife and serve three or four beers on tap in the store by special license. You can also buy a cold bottle and drink it there for $1 charge. Hey, they've got to pay the fridge bills. Kudos to them for having this setup, as they are the only store in CA with taps and a drink-in-house option. Very entrepreneurial.

Small but great selection of beers. I managed to blow $100 or so and not buy any doubles. There's great conversation to be had and it's definitely cool to be sipping an awesome micro while you're deciding how many bombers you can afford.

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Photo of jp11801
4.65/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

stopped by on a lazy Sunday afternoon to find a great selection,particularly of Belgians. Craig was friendly and knowledgeable. Try the cheese plate when you stop by. You could put together a great belgian and mico selection for your home from here.
overall the atmosphere was plain but comfortabe with a bar and a couch.
the quality was top notch with many Belgians, German and micros there.
Prices were fair and about what you would expect from a highend beer store.
I would recommend this place to locals that need a great source for beer or for the traveling beer fan

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Photo of Onibubba
4.36/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Here comes another glowing review for City Beer. A highlight of my trip to SF was the fact that my friends live right next door to City Beer. Kismet. Out of the 5 kegs tapped, 3 were beers I had been hoping to try. Selection is not large, but the quality is impeccable. I got to try no less than 4 Russian River selections, and they had special ordered a case of Saison Dupont for me in advance. They will special order kegs as well - We got a keg of Hoegaarden for the weekend. Friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful - The Trifecta. I wish more businesses were run in this manner.

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Photo of chelovek
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

What a wonderful place this is! Small and compact but packs a punch with the good stuff. Two large coolers, two dry shelves, three beers on tap, three tables, a couch and a man behind the serving area that is as friendly as can be. The selection was great considering everything they had was of high quality (in my opinion and taste that is). I came in on a Saturday afternoon when it was a little busy but still received attention and answers to all of my questions I tossed his way. The woman behind the bar area also put together a great cheese sampler platter. With only a dollar "corkage" fee the prices were really reasonable to sit and have a beer on the spot. This place is abundant in quality and I will be back many a time.

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Photo of drseamus
4.58/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I had the same worry as the previous reviewer, that it was way too small to have good beer. I was wrong. They really pack in a really big variety into the tiny little place. They have a big selection of all the local beers and a pretty decent selection of the San Diego beers considering they have to drive them up themselves. The owner couldn't be more helpful if he tried. He gave me all the info he had on beers and when they would be arriving so I could come get them. When I asked for beers he didn't have in stock any more, he even suggested other beer stores around the area. In my opinion, that demonstrates the level of service. Definitely the best in the area.

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Photo of Lothore
3.94/5  rDev -10.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Walked into City Beer and was a little disappointed at how small it was thinking that it couldn't possibly have a good selection being so small ... I was wrong. They had quite a few offerings however I was particularly happy with their selection of Russian river and pizza port brews. The owner seemed to be really friendly and attentive to any questions I had. If I had more time I would have enjoyed some beers on tap but it looked like the people who were drinking there were enjoying it. A top notch beer store that I will certainly return to.

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Photo of trevorwideman
4.51/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

City Beer is an amazing store in SOMA that is a required stop on your beer tour of SF. Atmosphere is a little dank and industrial, and smaller than I imagined from the reviews. The quality of the selection cannot be underestimated, and the Owner has a great knowledge of the selections as well. He was very helpful in making my choices a bit easier. You can open any beer in the store and drink it there, which is cool. I took home 6 bottles to share and 2 to take home to Winnipeg, and walked away spending less than $40, even with 2 Russian River bottles in the mix. A great beer shopping experience.

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Photo of Flyer
4.66/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4

Basically a basement, with a bare concrete floor and concrete block walls (though it's only half a flight down, so it does have windows). I point this out only to make the case that a place's "atmosphere" has a lot more to do with the attitude, the people, and of course great beer than it does with the physical surroundings, and the atmsophere here is great. This was the best beer bar experience I had in San Francisco. A fairly good-sized and discerning collection of beers, most in coolers for on- or off-premise drinking, plus a few great choices on tap. My drinking companion was new to world of craft beer, and he came away genuinely excited by the friendliness of Craig and all the patrons, and the non-intimidating way they answered all his questions. I'm going to make it a point to visit City Beer every time I go to SF.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.41/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Great place to pick up beer in San Francisco. I used to tavel out to the Bay Area once a month from Atlanta and I still make it out that way ocassionally. I'm pretty familiar with the local beer scene and availability of rarer local brews. Imo, City Beer Store and Ledgers in Berkeley are the places to go to get a dependable supply of the good local stuff. They almost always have the most recent Russian River offerings, rarer Lagunitas stuff like Hop Stoopid, and various hard to find botttlings from people like Drake's. More importantly to me, this store and Ledgers are two of the only stores in the Bay Area to carry many of the San Diego brews like Alesmith, Ballast Point, Greenflash, Lost Coast/Port Brewing, and even an occasional Alpine brew. Unlike Ledgers, this place will let you drink a beer on premise- something not even remotely possible in Georgia. As others have mentioned, there is a very reasonable $1 bottling charge, or you can have something on tap. I'd like to see something a little more killer on tap, but what was on was fine. They have a decent collection of Belgians as well, but I can get all of those and more at home- When I travel I wantt the local or regional stuff. The place is tiny, but open and airy feeling despite being slightly below street level. About 1/2 the beer is refrigerated, the rest on the shelf, but most of what is on the shelf duplicates what is in the cooler. The owner and his wife weren't there when I visited- an extremely rare occurrence apparently- since they were on vacation. Instead I was hosted by the owner's parents who had come out from Indiana to visit and watch their shop and apartment while they vacationed. They may not jhave known a lot about beer, but they were extremely friendly, great people whom I enjoyed talking with. I also was flabbergasted that they would help out to the degreee that they did- just shows you the caliber of people associated with this business. A wonderful place to hang out for a couple of hours or just pick up some brew. I'll be back next time I'm in town.

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Photo of 0tt0
4.43/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Visited on a recent trip to San Francisco for the purpose of stocking up on brews I can't find in Georgia. In this regard, City Beer Store did not disappoint. Coolers are broken down according to style, with many beers I've never laid eyes on.

Craig, the owner, and his wife Beth were extremelly friendly, helpful, and eager to please. Craig mentions they are working on shipping beers in the future, which would work very nicely for out-of-towners like me.

There were four taps in the building, which can be enjoyed at the tiny bar area or the three small tables. You can drink your purchases on site for a $1 corking fee per bottle (they give you the glass).

I would not hesitate to visit this establishment again. Great people to deal with...

A note on food: City Beer was offering a small selection of cheese, bread, and marinated olives on the day I visited. Cheese was outstanding.

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Photo of largadeer
4.6/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

City Beer Store is a staple in the San Francisco craft beer scene. Small, cozy, occasionally extremely cramped, they're overdue for expansion but do a decent job of keeping the atmosphere pleasant. Craig and Beth, the owners, are pretty friendly and helpful whenever I come by. While the tap selection is limited (usually 5 or 6 beers), the quality more than makes up for it. Largely comprised of local specialty beer, I've drank many a glass of world-class beer here. Excellent stuff that isn't commonly found on tap. In addition to this, there's an absolutely enormous variety of bottles beers, which you can either open and drink there or bring home to enjoy. The variety of rare and unique beers is nothing short of impressive. Prices are somewhat high, especially on the draft beers, but the selection can't be faulted.

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Photo of ctdfalconer
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Yep, it's a store that sells beer, sure enough. When one stops to consider this, one realizes what a rare treasure this is. There are an awful lot of places that sell lot of beer, some with great selections, but it's extremely rare to find a place that only sells beer (ok, I saw a cider) and deliberately accumulates as wide a selection as possible. I like the fact that they've also consciously excluded stuff that you can get at any grocery store, bodega, liquor mart or 7-11. They cater to beer connoisseurs, aficionados, and curious beventurers (Yes, you heard it here first. Tell all your friends!). The owner was enthusiastic and was open to requests and suggestions. The nondescript storefront is nonetheless airy and bright with its big windows (where most of the beer is, they keep it dark). A wee bar and a little sitting area encourages lingering over a glass for some serious beer talk. I would be here fairly often if I lived in SF.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

This is my #1 spot for beer in the city, hands down, i've known Craig since he opened this place last year and in all honesty, it just keeps getting better and better...The atmosphere is great, nuevo-chic with a nice tasting bar and tables and very comfy black chairs. Craig always has something nice playing from his ipod on the speakers laced throughout the store. The quality of the beers is always exceptional with many beers being available cold or warm depending on the style and what mood you are in. Craig and his wife honestly run this place pretty flawlessly and as such the service has always been exceptional. The little wine and cheese plates are always fresh and made with local products from local and sustainable merchants which is another big plus in my book...The selection is arguable, and in my opinion definately, the best in the city with many one offs and rarities showing up regularly from the bay area breweries and beyond (LA area, San Diego area, etc) ...this is just the best place to go for rare alesmith, pizza port, russian river, cantillon, and the list could go on forever and ever, Craig has really done an excellent job with this place and I wish him luck in every aspect.

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Photo of Maerzen
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Thanks to all of the BAs that recommended this place. What a great selection of many different styles. Hip little store on Folsom in SoMa. It was quite busy and a bit difficult to get around as many people were taking their time and discussing possible selections with the knowledgeable staff. I felt a little bad for the patrons who were sitting at the bar as it is also where the cash register is. I would feel a little cramped sitting there. The only downside is that I think it is a bit pricey. I understand that they are providing products that are difficult to find. However, $5+ for a 12 oz. bottle equals $30+ for a sixpack. It makes me ask the question - Is the beer really worth that much, or are you pricing it to be that much so that I will think that it's worth it?

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Photo of illidurit
4.74/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Through beermail communication with Matt at Healthy Spirits I was elated to discover that there was a place in northern California that had AleSmith! City Beer Store, unassuming from the outside, packs a lot of excellence into not a lot of real estate. As I had to drive home afterwards, I was unable to take advantage of the really cool idea of sampling a beer (for a $1 corkage fee) before buying it, nor did I get to see what was on tap. However I made sure to get 6 750s, as I'd heard that 6 of a kind (750s, bombers or 12 oz bottles) gets you a 10% discount. The 6 comprised 3 Alesmiths, 2 Allagashes, and a Russian River, if that gives you any indication of the superb selection.

It was a bit busy and so I didn't really get a chance to have any extended conversation with the owner Craig, but he was friendly and knowledgable, and upon seeing me choose AleSmith's Speedway Stout and Grand Cru, he said he'd go in the back and get me the Wee Heavy, since there were no more on the shelf. I would have missed that epic beer without his attentiveness. I also saw him go over to a table and refill two customers' glasses of Celebrator doppelbock, what service!

I really liked this place and I'll be back again someday.

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Photo of willjschmidt
4.58/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

A store that only sells beer and offers top notch selections and service as well. They also always have several beers on tap. I couldn't stay long during my visit so I couldn't sample the draft beers but this is a fantastic concept. There are a couple of coaches out as well for the patrons to chill.

Even though it's on the small side the selection here is top notch. Lots of stuff that you can probably only find in a small handful of Bay Area stores. Only a few beers are kept in a small cooler, the rest are out on the shelves. They also let you break six-packs or buy singles which allows you to try a lot more beers.

The best part is the service. The guy working when I went in was incredibly helpful, offering suggestions and just bs-ing about beer. I would highly recommend this place.

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Photo of Denali
4.34/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4

My first thought after going into City Beer Store was "groundbreaking". Here is a beer store that has 4 taps for patrons to drink on premesis, and also allows patrons to drink bottle beers on premesis as well. They will also sell singles from 6 packs.

What does this all mean? Well, you can hang out and sample beers before purchasing an entire 6 pack, and can also have a few beers on tap as well. And what did they have on tap? How about Triple Karmeliet for starters? A few Sudwerk beers were on as well.

The place has a few tables and couches for a good number of people to come in and try a few beers. The selection is very good, and the prices are reasonable. Craig is also very helpful in making helpful suggestions.

All beer styles are well represented.

Located on Folsom between 7th and 8th streets.

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Photo of sloejams
4.58/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Just a few blocks from the Moscone Convention Center, this made for an easy escape from the drones of the seminar speakers. Craig, the owner / proprietor and as he informed me, “only employee” was stocking the shelves when I walked in. The shop isn’t huge but the space is used well: the front area is kind of a lounge while the back is entirely lined with bottles. There’s a small bar on the opposite side with 4 active drafts and a well-stocked refrigerator just beyond that. The shop is half store / half bar with the benefits of both.

Looking over the taps, I cross one I’ve not had before: Presidio IPA. So I order it. While pouring it the keg kicks, so I move on to my 2nd choice: Deschutes Jubelale. While I sip this, I talk beer with Craig while he cleans the draft line formerly occupied by the Presidio. I wish other places would have this diligence about keeping their draft lines clean. I peruse the bottle shelf and the fridge. There’s a well thought out selection ranging the whole spectrum: tons of great local offerings, the better end of American beers and plenty from the UK and EU (as expected, the majority from the Belgians and Germans). Another great thing: for only $1 corkage fee, you can have at any of the bottles while at the shop.

Craig clearly knows his beers and his love shines throughout the shop. I really wish there was something like this in Los Angeles. The beer lovers down here are starving for something like City Beer Store.

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Photo of mateobmc
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I don't know how, but it took me until 2 months after this place opened to find out about it (to be fair to myself, I was in Germany for one of those months).

Hands down, Toronado included, this is THE BEST PLACE TO DRINK BEER IN SAN FRANCISCO.

An amazing concept for a beer store: providing a great variety of common and exotic brews, both chilled and on the shelf, that you can either buy, or, for a $1 corkage, open at the bar and drink. 6 rotating draught beers are kept at the bar, and you can sample any of these for free. Craig, the owner, really brings this concept together by providing the perfect comfortable atmosphere. His themed flights that change each day are a great way to improve your beer knowledge. He takes requests, and will make them happen if he can. Kegs are also available for order. He also just began serving fine cheeses, meats and bread that you can enjoy with your beer.

Never too crowded, most I've seen is a dozen people there on a Thursday night, and half of them were Craig's wife Beth's friends playing scrabble at the table. Everyone there is just a regular beer geek like ourselves, enjoying the beautiful beverage. Craig knows his shit, and he'll take the time to answer any question you have on a beer he sells. He knows them very well, but he's also not afraid to tell you when he hasn't had one, yet.

As popularity for this place has grown, the selection has followed suit. Updated almost weekly, it's fun to go down and see what new surprises are in store. The store's weekly emails usually go out on Thursday, and they typically have me running down there after work to grab some new arrivals.

A couple of stories that I feel exemplify the type of place this is:

I was picking up some 6 packs for a BBQ on a Saturday afternoon with a friend, and we were the only people in the store. Craig had to run down the street for a minute, and he asked us if we'd watch the store for him. We said of course, and he left us alone in the store for a little while. I had only been there twice at that point, and had just been getting to know the guy.

Last night, about half a dozen of us hanging around talking, and another regular stops in. Man has two Belgian bombers, beers I've never heard of before. He offers em up to everyone to sample and enjoy. So Craig pours em into a glass for each of us, and we sip and talk about the beer.

If you live in SF and you love beer, you owe it to yourself to shop here. Craig makes you feel more like a friend than a customer, and that says a lot. He's also a guy who's excited about beer, and I'll support that.

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Photo of Goldorak
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

After a few pints at Toronado, Francis, Kevin and I hopped a crackhead infested bus to SoMa to check out City Beer store. With a name like that, I sort of expected more of a Quickie Mart-like convenience store feel, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Lighting was dim and décor was dark and comfortable but with a slick, urban feel. A little chill out sofa corner to the right (looks like a great spot to review a Beer), a 4-5 stool bar to the left, with a kitchen counter behind it. The Beer was in the back, with a line of coolers and a few shelves. A quartet of interesting tap handles, so we had a taster while shopping around. How cool is that?! Reminds me a bit of Beermania in Brussels, where you could sample a Beer on the spot before deciding if it’s worthy of taking some home or not.

A good variety of indigenous and regional brews could be found, if I remember correctly I grabbed a Moylan’s Hopsicle and Lagunitas Freak-out among others. Nice foreign selections too, Germans I don’t see very often in the east and a couple a Belgians. The prices, for the locals at least, seemed pretty fair.

Our bartender/checkout guy/owner was cool, we talked shop a little and sampled some of the cold cut and sausage platter, great stuff.

I really like the concept of this store that so many higher-end wine shops have implemented successfully. Considering that more and more people are getting turned on to craft Beer I have to give kudos to the owner for catering to this niche market. I would recommend it to anyone, be it a local looking for that new offering or the drunken tourist like yours truly who wants to see a good cross-section of the native flavors. It’s a terrific place to shop for Beer in a relaxed, upscale (compared to Toronado, this place is the Ritz), but not uptight atmosphere.

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

Great place on Folsom Street in the SoMa district of San Francisco. The atmosphere is really good as there are four beers on tap in the store that you can sample while you browse. The quality is quite good. I opened two beers from the store tonight and both were top quality. The service was great. The owner was very friendly and we talked craft beer for a bit. He wanted some recommendations on some East Coast brews to sample on his trip to the Great American Beer Festival, which I was all too happy to give. He was knowledgable on his craft brews, especially West Coast ones, and gave some good recommendations. The selection was very good. I picked up a couple bombers of Stone 10th Anniversary, which I was thrilled to find, a bomber of Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, and bottle of Russian River Damnation. Other than Stone (including 3L Oaked Bastard), Russian River, and Bear Republic, the store had lots of Moylan's, Drake's, Rogue, Lagunitas (including Freak Out), Marin, and lots of other West Coast micros. Lots of beers that I've wanted to try so bad, but don't have enough time left out here to drink. I found the prices to be very reasonable...mixed 6-packs were 10% off as well. Overall, I can't imagine a better beer source here in San Fran. It is great to see a store completely dedicated to beer and nothing else. The owner is a great guy and I hope this store makes it. Highly recommended!

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

Nice little store with a great vibe!

It's a wonderful concept: a beer tasting bar. They can pour you 6 oz from their 4 taps (we got Damnation and Drake's Imperial Stout, I forgot the other 2 but all high quality). Also, you can buy a single bottle and drink it there for a $1 corkage fee. I'm surprised more stores don't do this and I think it's absolutely wonderful!

Small to mid sized bottle selection, but very good quality. All styles of beer well represented. Hopefully the small stock means they will moved beer fast, ensuring freshness. Friendly staff, very knowledgeable. Also, cheers to a store that sells only beer, which is pretty ballsy but shows how far craft beer has come.

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Photo of benito
4.58/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

City Beer recently opened, and it still has a very new and clean feel to it. If the quality of my visit is indicative of where this place is going though, expect it to become the premier beer store (sorry Plumpjack) in San Francisco proper.

Craig, the owner, is incredibly helpful and knowledgeable about his selection. He's excited to help his customers and talk up beer. His enthusiasm alone will carry this place far.

All the beers are organized by style, a novel concept that I've seen work really well at Bottleworks in Seattle, as it allows for newbies to find beers similar to those that they already like and for beer geeks to check out the full range of offerings within a given style that the store has. Better yet, you can split six packs and buy singles of any of the store's brews, getting a 10% discount for each new six pack. A great boon for those of us who don't live in the area and want to buy a broad sampling of brews without breaking the bank.

As other reviewers have mentioned, there's also a quality beer bar in the store with bar seating and some larger, comfy chairs. I can imagine this place becoming a good center for craft brew connosieurs to come, buy, talk, and taste all in one sitting.

Kudos to this wonderful new store! Highly recommended.

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Photo of weefisheads
4.41/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I was looking for a one stop shop place to pick up some great CA / Bay Area beers, and the owner Craig saw my post on BA and invited me to visit. How could I refuse a fellow BA?!

First and foremost, I should mention that I visited May 27th, which was less than a month after opening. I mention this because the place looked...almost unfinished, but more about that later.

The store was not too difficult to find, although I all I had was a street number and didn't see one on the outside nor was there a visible store name (that I saw). However, it would be hard to walk by the place and miss it as iit was the shelves and shelves of beer and the 4 taps are visible from the street (although you're actually looking down). For those not familiar with SFO and considering walking to the place from, say, Union Square, I'd highly discourage this because you have to go to a rather dodgey part of town to get there. SOMA's a real interesting part of town, but I wouldn't get there walking through the Tenderloin neighborhood unless being solicited for drugs is your thing or you're really keen on the stench of urine. Ugh.

The interior was...spartan and clean, and while I attribute much of this to the fact that the place has only been open for less than a month, it certainly highlighted the presence of all the beer! The set up inside consists of a few coolers along two walls, a couple of shelves brimming with bottles, a few tables and tall charis, and a rather small bar area with 4 taps.

Even there were a few folks sitting and chatting with Craig, the owner, when I entered, Craig was eager to greet and very hospitable. I was looking for something very specific and had a few quesions and Craig was helpful and very knowledgeable.

Now to the beer...

As previously mentioned, I was looking for something specific and was on a mission to be in and out as quick as possible, so I didn't get a chance to try any of the beers on tap. However, the selection of bottled beer was mighty impressive - lots from CA and tons and tons from Belgium and Germany. He even though he wasn't willing to part with any, he showed me a beer I'd never seen before (Brother Thelonious) that is rare indeed. I also really liked that mixing and matching was not a problem because most other places in town won't let you break sixers, which is a real pisser. However, even though there is a discount if you get a certain number of beers, some of the bottles were a tad pricey.

Overall, City Beer Store is well worth the visit. It may not compare to the selection and/or price of a BevMo, but from the minute you walk into the place it's obvious that our man Craig is passionate about beer. I can't wait to go back next time in town to see what Craig has done once he's been a round for a while.


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Photo of oggg
4.21/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Stopped in today to check out this unique new place on Folsom. It's between 7th and 8th and it's on the north side of the street. You can miss it easily because the current sign is a wooden sign that sits out on the sidewalk. The store is located halfway below ground level and the windows don't give much hint that a beer gem lies inside. The store is on the ground floor of a nice looking apartment complex. Across the street are a couple eateries including the Basil Thai restaurant which had excellent Pad Thai.

The decor is pretty spartan at the moment. Soft lighting complements a clean minimalist look. 2 bartables with 4 modern stools and 2 nice lounge chairs are present. A beautiful if lonely set of 4 taps sits on the main table. A modest selection of beer glasses fills one shelf. There are 2 huge shelves of room temp bottled beer and 2 huge coolers full of cold bottles.

Craig, the owner, is a better beer enthusiast, homebrewer, and genuine nice guy. We went in the early afternoon and it was pretty empty, but around 4pm it started to get a little busier.

The selection is quite large. There were a surprising number of fizzy yellow lagers, including PBR. I even saw a beer from Phuket. The California section emphasizes Northern California, with choices from Anchor, Anderson Valley, Speakeasy, El Toro, English Ales Brewery, Moylan, Marin, and more. Unlike Bevmo, he doesn't have each brewery's entire lineup, just a select few -- for example, I picked up Anchor Bock and English Ales Black Prince Porter. Stone had a few bottles as well. There were a couple Oregon favorites like Full Sail Pale Ale, Bridgeport IPA, and some from Deschutes and Rogue. New Belgium had a good showing, including a black beer and Skinny Dip. I remember several German imports like Hofbrau Maibock, Hacker-Pschorr Weiss, Aventinus, etc. The Belgian selection was pretty good, lacking Westy but he had Rochefort, Westmalle, Duvel, Orval, Unibroue, Grimbergen, Cantillon, and more.

His beer license allows him to serve 6oz servings at a time. That's 6oz a pour from the taps, but you can keep getting more. If you have a friend, you can split a 12oz bottle (pay $1 corkage), so we shared English Ales Dragon Slayer IPA and Speakeasy Double Daddy DIPA. Single bottles are mostly in the 1.69 to 1.89 range, with the rare or strong stuff much higher. The sixpack thing as mentioned in other reviews is a nice perk (BevMo doesn't let you break sixers), although it's only a 10% discount. I'd agree that some of the larger bottles seem to be marked up disproportionately. Most of my focus was on the 12ozers as I put together a nice sixpack to take back with me.

I'd love to see some even rarer stuff start to show up here. If he can generate a decent beer enthusiast following, rare beers would really draw them in. Seems like you could save some shelf space for these by carrying fewer fizzy yellow drinks. Add in some cheese or pretzels, maybe a water cooler. I'm on the fence about adding a TV. Oh and definitely a website updated daily with current beers on tap...

Currently on tap: Trumer Pils, Kronenberg, New Belgium Skinny Dip, and Delirium Tremens.

Overall: This place has a ton of potential and it will be interesting to come back and see how it turns out.

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City Beer Store in San Francisco, CA
4.42 out of 5 based on 327 ratings.
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