Looking to get sloshed for a good cause with thousands of your new best friends? Look no further than the yearly SF International Beer Festival,
which has been happening at Fort Mason for 32 years now. All proceeds from the Fest benefit the Telegraph Hill Co-op Nursery School, and it’s organized and staffed largely by parents of students, but mostly it's by and for people who can't get enough (high quality) beer.
This craft beer enthusiast found some great stuff last Saturday. San Leandro's Cleophus Quealy Beer Co
. brought their wonderfully tart and refreshing Batch 3 Weiss, Pine Street Brewery
poured their chocolaty dessert-like Black Bay Milk Stout, and the mulled Chaucer’s Mead was something different to break up all the beer and make you reminisce about the holidays for just a moment.
Other notables included Anchor, Speakeasy, Lagunitas, E.J. Phair, 10 Barrel, 21A, Chimay, Brasserie d'Achouffe, Drake's, Green Flash, Half Moon Bay, and Sierra Nevada, among many others. On the food side, highlights included the burger from Mission Bowling Club and the beer sausages and fries from the inestimable Rosamunde Sausage Grill. Baller beer lovers who could swing the pricey “Brewmaster” tickets got two hours of early entry to feast and drink all they wanted in the lead-up to when the masses enter at 7:00.
The most amazing moment, every year, is when the organizers pack guests at the front of the line into a giant pen near the doors. They open the pen at 7:00 on the dot, resulting in a cheering stampede of very excited and soon-to-get-their-drink-on party people.
Without the generosity of many beer companies, this baby would never happen. Like all beer fests, regardless of how seriously they take themselves, the SF International Beer Festival results in a crowd of tipsy and very happy attendees. Cheers!
Chris Cohen is a Certified Cicerone, a certified BJCP beer judge, and author of the Beer Scholar Study Guide for the Certified Cicerone Exam. He is opening a bar, Old Devil Moon, in Bernal Heights in late 2015.