San Francisco Beer Trip

Discussion in 'Pacific' started by msanborn, Aug 14, 2014.

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  1. msanborn

    msanborn Initiate (0) Jul 2, 2013 Texas

    So, I'm a Texan and I'm flying to visit a good friend in San Francisco in about a week, then we're driving back to San Antonio. I'm already planning on picking up two cases from Russian River, but I'd like some advice on where else to go to get some good beer to bring back to the Lone Star state. I've heard good things about 21st Amendment and I think we're going to swing by Firestone on the way down to I-10, but what else is a must have from California? Is it worth the trip to Chico to go to SN? We're only going to be there for about a week before we hit the road. Any suggestions would be wonderful. Thanks.
  2. ironchefkook

    ironchefkook Initiate (0) Nov 5, 2013 California

    Considering Northern California: Lagunitas is less than 15 minute drive away from Russian River. Also, If you enjoy sours, definitely stop by The Rare Barrel. Their tasting room is open only on the weekends. While you're in Berkeley you can also visit Sierra Nevada's Torpedo Room (saves the trip all the way to Chico). Visiting Anchor Brewing in SF would be fun as well since its less than 10 minutes away from 21st Amendment. Toronado SF/SD if you want the full experience. Hope this start you off on a good path.
    msanborn and costanzo_mike like this.
  3. halo3one

    halo3one Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2014 Georgia

    Cellarmaker in SF. Don't miss. Sante Adarius is just south of San Jose. Pick me up a West Ashley
    Vivified, ONovoMexicano and msanborn like this.
  4. halo3one

    halo3one Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2014 Georgia

    Best Craft Bars:
    Toronado - had Alpine Nelson and Hoppy Birthday when I was there
    Monk's Kettle - great list, lot's of vintage stuff too
    ONovoMexicano and JAntony345 like this.
  5. deford

    deford Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2013 California

    I second Sante Adarius...great little place. I'd hit Firestone Walker Barrelworks in Buelton if you get that far'll get to taste some beers not available anywhere else.
  6. costanzo_mike

    costanzo_mike Initiate (0) Jul 17, 2014 Massachusetts

    As previous folks have said, make sure to get to Toronado - incredible selection. There's also a fantastic sausage place next door called Rosamunde. You can go into Rosamunde, place an order and they will actually bring it over to you at Toronado when it's ready! Very efficient - they realize there's no time to waste with the Toronado selection.
  7. HoppyDazed

    HoppyDazed Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2014 California

    the Mikkeller Bar in S.F. is supposed to be cool (haven't made there yet myself) and check out Drakes in San Leandro
  8. skelliott

    skelliott Initiate (63) Jul 2, 2013 California

    Make sure you call it The 10, instead of I-10, while you're here.
  9. Oakhtar

    Oakhtar Initiate (0) Jul 6, 2013 California

    Bear Republic and Lagunitas are short drives from Santa Rosa. In SF/Bay Area, be sure to go to Rare Barrel (if they are selling bottles get them) and Cellarmaker. As for bars, City Beer Store, Toronado and Mikkeller all offer great selection of beers. Sante Adarius is must. And you are aware that Firestone is about 3.5 hours south of SF? Bottleworks is another 45 min southwest of Paso Robles. You will be closer to LA than to SF at that point....may as well go down there too.
    jakecattleco and ONovoMexicano like this.
  10. rmdownward

    rmdownward Initiate (143) Feb 10, 2007 California

    Be advised, Toronado is cash only.

    This is a good site for the bay area

    Beer Rev has a great selection as does the newly opened Good Hop in Oakland
  11. GlassHound

    GlassHound Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2014 California

    I was just up in Santa Rosa and SF over the weekend. Wanted to stop by Tornado but didn't have time.
    I went to Russian River three days in a row because like you said, I wanted to pickup some cases... but they limit Blind Pig and Pliny to 6 bottles a person, so I had to come back for more.

    Drakes is also really sweet and real close to SF. They got Aroma Coma flowing now.
    Bear Republic and Lagunitas are also real close and awesome in their own ways

    * actually RR did sell me 12 bottles of pig one night
  12. ONovoMexicano

    ONovoMexicano Initiate (0) Jun 14, 2012 New Mexico

    Also be advised that Toronado's servers are generally misanthropes that will treat you brusquely. Don't take it personally.

    I agree with Cellarmaker, Toronado and Mikeller, and do feel that 21st Amendment is worth a visit (especially for that Hog Island Oyster Stout, Lower De Boom, and the Farmer's Daughter saison on tap). I really enjoyed Magnolia for food and beer (though expensive) and found Monk's Kettle's selection to be outstanding.

    Firestone Walker should be a must hit in Paso Robles and with the a new brewery 5 minutes west, visit there too (forget the name but I think it's Barrelworks or something like that).
  13. msanborn

    msanborn Initiate (0) Jul 2, 2013 Texas

    Do they limit their sours?
  14. Dil_thebeerdrinking_do

    Dil_thebeerdrinking_do Initiate (0) Jan 21, 2014 Georgia

    To answer the OP question regarding SN. the answer is yes. period. go.
  15. VashonGuy

    VashonGuy Meyvn (1,152) Mar 7, 2013 Washington

    Toronado is a wonderful bar ... I've never had trouble with the servers. They do half pours of all their taps, which allows you to sample more of their lineup, while still getting servings that are heftier than 4 ounce tasters.
  16. ChangSing

    ChangSing Initiate (151) May 5, 2013 Illinois

    Mikkelar is a great place. I was there last October. It does get pretty slammed though since it's right off Market St...They do have a bar in the basement dedicated to just sours though that opens at 6PM Thurs-Sun.

    Russian River is also really busy. I've found going there in the week about 130ish is the best.

    Southern Pacific in San Francisco is a really cool place as's in the old engine yard for the Southern Pacific rail company.

    Rogue in SF: I know people here in general can't stand Rogue, but they do have a nice bar with outdoor seating about a 3 block walk from the Wharf. I like having a pint there when I"m in town.

    There's a bar called The Willows in San Francisco that can have really good beer on tap.

    City Beer Store is a great stop as well as Zeitgeist, more bottle shop/bar type places.

    There's also some great places over in Oakland (a belgian bar I can't think of right now..) as well as some breweries in Berkely etc.
  17. FrogOut69

    FrogOut69 Devotee (487) Sep 24, 2013 California

    Try searching.
  18. bouncepass

    bouncepass Devotee (426) Oct 3, 2006 California


    I agree with the suggestions for Cellarmaker, Rare Barrel, and Sante Adairius. Be warned that unless you get lucky and Sante or Rare Barrel has one of their occaisional bottles for sale, then these places are limited to growler fills on certain beers. RB doesn't even offer growler fills, I believe. These three plus RRBC are a tier above the other Bay Area places IMO.

    Bear Republic and Lagunitas are also good suggestions, but to be honest, I'd rather hang out at RRBC for a few more beers (and walk to my hotel afterwards). I'm not a fan of 21A. Drake's has some good stuff to my taste. Look for

    Places to drink:

    My favorite SF places are City Beer Store (great bottle shop too), Toronado, Monk's Kettle, Abbot's Cellar, Mikkeller Bar. In the East Bay, The Trappist, Trappist Provisions, Barclay's, and Beer Revolution. There are lots and lots of other great places too.

    If you happen to swing into Santa Cruz to visit Sante, check out Lupulo Craft Beer House downtown. Almost always a few really interesting things on tap. They sell bottles to-go as well.

    FYI, Alpine is thankfully starting to become fairly easily found on tap all over the Bay Area. I'd seek out Nelson, Hoppy Birthday, etc. while you're in the area, assuming you're not going to LA. Other SoCal breweries to look out for are Societe (some excellent IPAs) and Beachwood (still pretty rare).

    Bottle shops:

    City Beer Store is my go-to in SF. In Berkeley, I like Ledger's Liquors. Certain Whole Foods carry good stuff. Used to be a pretty reliable place to get Pliny.

    Enjoy your visit!
  19. TheQuest300

    TheQuest300 Initiate (0) Jan 29, 2013 California

    Def hit up City Beer Store and Mikeller Bar since they’re only a few blocks from each other. Toronado is plain awesome and so it Zeitgeist if you’re looking for craft beer-garden.

    Russian River is of course great, if you go during a weekday I’ve been able to score cases of Pliny and plenty of sours.

    If you do get down to the Central Coast Barrelworks in Buellton is a must. They have a lot of Firestone's regular (non wild/sour) beers as well.
  20. danscott

    danscott Initiate (0) Jul 15, 2006 California

    When people ask this question, I generally say no.

    Six hour round trip from SF to/from Chico (and that's without Bay Area traffic) through some of the shittiest parts of NorCal during one of the hottest times of year. Sure, it is one of the best and most legendary breweries in the US, but a visit to one brewery is going to eat an entire day of your trip. There are so many amazing places to roadtrip if you are an out-of-stater visiting NorCal. You can hit a half dozen great breweries in that time, if that's all you are interested in doing while visiting us. Although, rumor has it, Northern California has interesting things to see and so besides visit breweries. :slight_smile:
    rmdownward likes this.
  21. rmdownward

    rmdownward Initiate (143) Feb 10, 2007 California

    Agrees with Danscott, it's a long drive in the heat. Torpedo Room has great stuff, much of it you can't get outside the brewery.
  22. kpacedo

    kpacedo Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2009 California

    City beer had alpine Nelson as of earlier this week. Trill.
  23. msanborn

    msanborn Initiate (0) Jul 2, 2013 Texas

    I'm not sure I believe you...?
  24. atpca

    atpca Initiate (0) Jun 10, 2013 California

    12 per person, 24 per table
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  25. Rzzzzz

    Rzzzzz Devotee (406) Nov 10, 2007 California

    OP is looking for bottles, people.

    City Beer Store is the place to start. Sierra-Nevada's Torpedo Room saves you the long trek to Chico. 21st Amendment is a good spot, but unless you're looking for growlers you can find their stuff for less at Whole Foods Market or BevMo. BevMo will have a huge selection of shelf beers at pretty good prices, if you're just looking for regional stuff that doesn't make it to Texas.

    Sante Adarius may be worth a trip, but as far as I've been able to ascertain they rarely have bottles available. Growler fills are limited and if you don't bring your own you may be out of luck. I'm told they WILL fill growlers from other breweries though, which sets them apart from most CA places, it seems.

    Toronado is a sittin' and drinkin' place. They do have some bottles on the menu (at bar prices) but I'm not sure if you can get 'em to go. Same story with Mikkeler Bar.

    Drake's Barrel House is a pretty good suggestion.
    msanborn likes this.
  26. corgistout

    corgistout Initiate (0) May 8, 2014 California

    I bought fresh Pliny from Toronado for $6 a bottle to go. Not sure what else they have though.
  27. danscott

    danscott Initiate (0) Jul 15, 2006 California

    Toronado's bottles are sometimes cheaper than bottle shops, always cheaper than "bar/restaurant prices" and they frequently have vintage bottles. If they are not busy and being cool and you are being cool, they might let you know if they have something you are seeking that is not on the menu. I have found some seriously rare things while poking around in the cellar (the for sale section, not Dave's completely insane private collection).

    Yes, they sell to go.
    Rzzzzz likes this.
  28. msanborn

    msanborn Initiate (0) Jul 2, 2013 Texas

    So far we've hit up Russian River, Cellarmaker, Torpedo room, and the obligatory bevmo run for a little poker game. Heading out tomorrow for home. Firestone Barrelworks is the perfect lunchtime stop as it's 5 hours from where my buddy lives, but does anyone know of any decent place in Phoenix to drop into?
  29. danscott

    danscott Initiate (0) Jul 15, 2006 California

    Phoenix = Papago Brewing
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  30. chcfan

    chcfan Initiate (0) Oct 29, 2008 California

    I thought Barrelworks is only open on the weekend, no? The restaurant side will be open, but I don't think you can go into BW and drink all the walez. They should have one or two on tap on the other side, though.
  31. danscott

    danscott Initiate (0) Jul 15, 2006 California

    Barrelworks is open Friday through Sunday from Noon to 7 and now on Monday from 2-7.
  32. Rzzzzz

    Rzzzzz Devotee (406) Nov 10, 2007 California

    Papago, yes. And I enjoyed Four Peaks last time I was there.
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