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Friday, February 11, 2011

Beer Week Spotlights Gypsies, Nanobrewers

Posted By on Fri, Feb 11, 2011 at 4:27 PM

click to enlarge A taste of Noe Valley nanobrewer Elizabeth Street Brewery. - SEANOSH/FLICKR
  • seanosh/Flickr
  • A taste of Noe Valley nanobrewer Elizabeth Street Brewery.

Nanobrewers, gypsy brewers: Are they space cadets, nomads? Nah ― they're the future of microbrewing, on display for SF Beer Week.

click to enlarge sfbeerweek_thumb_330x184_thumb_250x139.png

All professional brewers can trace their roots back to a common hobby - homebrewing, the popularity of which continues to swell as the DIY foodie movement spikes. Heck, they're even homebrewing in the White House these days! A nanobrewery is essentially a smaller version of a microbrewery. These tiny, licensed operations produce beer in smaller batches, and often on systems that resemble advanced homebrewing setups. Think of them as the farm league of craft brewing.

Gypsy brewers, on the other hand, produce their foamy creations on existing microbrewery equipment. They take the traditional business startup model and flip it on its head by renting equipment and time on established brewery systems, instead of raising capital to create their own facilities. This isn't as easy as waltzing into Sierra Nevada and asking them to make a beer with your name on it. Gypsy brewers craft the recipes and sweat over the kettles just like any other brewer. The upside of this model? Fewer sunk costs and more batch-to-batch creative flexibility.

SF Beer Week presents numerous opportunities to meet these two classes of up-and-comers. Check them out, then remember to gloat when you find yourself saying that you knew them before they were big shots.

Local Brewing Co.

Throughout Beer Week, Local's brewers are slated to show up at numerous S.F. watering holes to show off their new 1776 India Black Ale, brewed on ThirstyBear's equipment. Complete event schedule here.

Breweries of Tomorrow Nanobrewery Festival

Where: Social Kitchen and Brewery, 1326 Ninth Ave. (at Irving), 681-0330

When: Sun., Feb. 13, 5-9 p.m.

Cost: $15

What: Admission includes a keepsake glass, two Social Kitchen drafts, and samples from a bevy of nanobrewers: 510 Brewing, Beltane Brewing, Bosworth Brewing, Elizabeth Street Brewery, Local Brewing Co., Orange and Black, Pacific Brewing Laboratories, Petaluma Hills Brewing Co., and Van Houten Brewing. Your one-stop shop for nanobrew guzzling.

Gypsy Beers from Near and Far

Where: The Alembic (, 1725 Haight (at Shrader), 666-0822

When: Thu., Feb. 17, 3-7 p.m.

Cost: Pay per drink

What: Sample gypsy brews from around the bay, across the country, and from as far away as Denmark. Brewers include Mikkeller, Stillwater , Odonata , Almanac, High Water, and others. Watch your wallet: After all, they're gypsies.

Follow Jason Henry on Twitter @ JasonHenrySF . Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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