Snapshot – Beer + Food
FOLLOW THAT FOOD: PAIRING CREATIVITY
The SF Bay Area has shaken the world’s culinary assumptions ever since Chef Alice Waters famously led the charge for local, seasonal cuisine at Chez Panisse in Berkeley starting in 1971. To this day the region is known for a broad range of dining excellence, from beloved neighborhood taquerias to Michelin-starred restaurants.
The best strategy for notable food experiences during beer week—poised between simple comforts and upscale dazzle—is to watch the SF Beer Week site for destination beer dinners and food-centric events—some of which require reservations or advance tickets with many quick to sell out—then fill in additional beer week meals by dropping in on places where good food meets good beer all year round.
ThirstyBear Organic Brewery throws annual tasting events and ticketed beer dinners, including a feast built around beers accompanied by dishes infused with matching hops, dusted with sweet, organic malted grains and otherwise tied profoundly to the origins of those very beers [See event: Beyond Beer Batter].
Another ThirstyBear session—a nod to SF’s strong local chocolate-making tradition and Valentines Day’s presence smack in the middle of the SF Beer Week schedule—features a beer-themed chocolatier class helmed by brewing and cocoa legend “Wicked Pete” Slosberg [See event: Chocolate Making & Beer Pairing].
Beerunch, a creation of Woods Beer Co., is one of many brunch options that extend flavor matchmaking artistry with elegant beers into the daylight hours. Playful pairings marry malty flavors with crispy waffles or reference the beer flavor notes that breakfast foods love, from citrus to coffee.
Cheese and beer events are a fixture. Whether hosted by a brewery, restaurant or cheese monger, the casual format creates a party as taste buds go on an intellectual expedition. What happens when British cheese styles meet German beer traditions? Do blue cheeses always flatter an IPA? Or more appropriately, how does that type of IPA play with a salty Stilton versus a creamy Point Reyes Blue?
Drop in on the following places where good food meets good beer all year round—strategically outside of the hours of their SF Beer Week events. (Check reservation availability.)
- Quality beer and seafood are both enjoyed very fresh at Anchor and Hope, a compelling fine dining restaurant in SF with a well-curated draft and bottle list, including cask beer. Another favorite seafood and craft beer destination in the City is Bar Crudo.
- Sessions, a spacious craft-beer centric restaurant in the Presidio, keeps a focus on interesting beers with lower alcohol so you can enjoy more than one with their inventive dishes. Bonuses: Nearby find the statue of Yoda and views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Hog’s Apothecary in Oakland offers meaty fare and a thoughtful, extensive tap list. In contrast, Millennium, relocated from SF to Oakland, offers select craft beer options with their acclaimed vegetarian dishes.
- The Monk’s Kettle is an intimate bar restaurant that throws sought-after dinners and crowded tasting events, but you will find exciting beers and pleasing dishes available outside the scheduled offerings. Bonus: The kitchen is usually open until 1 am. For an idea of their elevated offerings, see this stellar 8-course Blackberry Farms & Evil Twin Beer Dinner.
- Belga offers critically acclaimed Belgian-inspired comfort foods and select beers from near and far, joining La Trappe and BEL in the local culinary quest for neighborhood places that recreate some of the food and beer epiphanies of a Belgian beer vacation. When’s the next time you’ll be in Belgium? [See event: Chocolate Making & Beer Pairing].
- Local breweries with their own restaurants are another source of mealtime satisfaction. SF’s Old Bus Tavern and Black Sands Brewery serve up creative dishes and house-brewed beers in the Mission and Haight districts, respectively. Magnolia’s Gastropub also on Haight and Smokestack BBQ in Dogpatch provide hearty fare with many brews to choose from.