Dog Friendly Brewery Series – San Francisco

I love good beer. I also love enjoying good beer with my wife and dog. I therefore really love doing both together. Unfortunately, that is not always possible (unless done at home). Hence, the following series.

be

Sara likes herself a good IPA too…

 

I cannot profess to know every single dog friendly brewery in the state, but I do believe I have a pretty good grip of the best ones in a few different areas, namely SF, the Bay Area and north, and the Central Coast. This series will pass along my knowledge on this ever so important topic.

Naturally, the first in this series will focus on dog-friendly breweries in my backyard, San Francisco.  These are in no particular order, just how they came to mind.

(this post got longer than anticipated, which I guess is a good thing as it means there are plenty of dog friendly breweries in the City…)

EDIT – Since writing this blog, a few more dog friendly breweries have opened, including Harmonic Brewing in the Dogpatch and Black Hammer in SOMA, reviews on these to come in the immediate future.

Southern Pacific

I was pretty pumped when I first learned Southern Pacific was opening. New brewery? Score. Patio? Double score. Fish and chips and bar food. Boom.

Southern Pacific is in a cool old warehouse that has been converted into a fairly huge brewery, restaurant, bar. Located at Treat and 19th in the Mission.

We go to Southern Pacific pretty often. On a nice day, sitting on the patio with the dog is tough to beat, but it can get busy.

Pros, great food. Fish and chips are bomb, veggie burger and sage fries are solid. Mac and cheese, rotating salads, most everything has been good if not great.

It is also a pretty fun place if you are just trying to get a little hammed. Good hard alcohol options and pitchers. A few birthday parties/gatherings have been memorable, at least according to those who remember them.

Water bowls for dogs and side chicken breasts keep the pup occupied.

Cons, the beer they brew is not great. The IPA is ok, but I usually get the pale. However, it is pretty cheap. Even better, they usually have several other options (read, other breweries) on tap. Last time, they had Tricerahops. Can’t complain.

http://www.southernpacificbrewing.com

Beach/Park Chalet

Beach Chalet is another perfect good weather day/dog boozing spot. Go for a cruise on the beach, get the dog exhausted, then kick back a few.  Beach Chalet is across from the main parking lot at Ocean beach and at the base of Golden Gate park. The beach across the way is super dog friendly and you can even walk all the way to Fort Funston to really earn the beers.

The dog friendly area is out back in the lawn (which is actually Park Chalet, Beach Chalet is the fancier spot inside upstairs). It is self seating, and there are servers. Getting a seat can be a little tough at times. Servers sometimes are swamped, and getting beers for yourself tends to be easier.

The beers are pretty decent, not going to blow your mind but certainly good enough.

Food is the same. Nothing special, but consistent, decent pub grub. Crab sandwich is my favorite thing. Wife likes the veggie burger and Caesar.

There are always a ton of dogs here, chilling in the grass. Plenty places to quickly take them for a walk if they get cranky.

Biggest con, it is a trek to get out there from our end of town.

http://www.parkchalet.com

Smokestack

Smokestack is the new kid in the dog friendly pack.  Smokestack is in the Dogpatch on 3rd and 22nd.   It seemed to take forever to open, with countless delays, but now we get to enjoy it.

Smokestack is part of Magnolia, and I have only seen the Magnolia beers on tap.  They also have a pretty solid cocktail selection.  Beer is solid, rotating Magnolia options.

Smokestack on its face does not seem like a dog friendly bar.  There is no obvious patio.  However, in the brewery dock along 22nd you can have the pup.  The website says this is “sometimes” open, but everytime we have gone during the DAY, it has been open.  Last time I was there at night it may not have been open, but bringing the dog is more of a day drinking thing anyway.

We have actually never eaten here, but people tell me the BBQ is good, although pricey.  The meat is sold by weight and seems to change often.

PS. After Smokestack you can go across the street to the Dogpatch Saloon, which allows dogs inside, for a good beer and whiskey selection.  PPS.  Go grab a pizza from Longbridge first and bring that to the saloon.

smoke

Sara in the brewery dock, awaiting a bite of Smokestack’s jerky…

http://www.magnoliasmokestack.com/

Rogue

I am including Rogue on this list because they have a taproom (or as they call it, a “meeting hall”) in North Beach that has a big dog friendly patio.  It is not technically a brewery IMO as they do not brew in SF, but this is my blog and I say it counts.

Rogue always has interesting beers on tap.  At the SF location, there is no shortage of options.  I try to try something new every time I go.

The dog friendly area is the big patio out back.  Full service, and can get pretty busy.  But, this is a good “drinking with the dog at night” spot.

Food is pretty decent, tots are always a good choice.

We do not make it over here all that often as it is a trek with the dog.  We can walk there, but then typically will want to get a cab/Uber home, which can be a little more difficult with the pooch.

http://www.rogue.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Menu-SFO.pdf

Triple Voodoo

As I write this I am a bit surprised I have only been to Triple Voodoo once.  A dog friendly brewery that is a ten minute walk from home?  You would think I would be there every week.  However, dog friendly boozing tends to be better outside for me, and Triple Voodoo only has indoor seating.  At they do allow dogs indoors.

Triple Voodoo does not have food, hence the dogs are allowed, but you can get food from the Mexican spot next door.

Their beers seems to be getting better to me, as when they first opened there was not much I liked.  The Anarchy IPA is pretty good right now.  They only have beer, so be warned if you bring a wine-o or cocktail fiend.

One thing that is really cool about Triple Voodoo is they seem to have rescue dog events on a fairly regular occasion.  Drinking for a good cause is always great.

http://triplevoodoo.com

21st Amendment (sometimes)

21st is one of my favorite spots in the city. Great beer, solid food, and I can walk there and stumble home. Like it so much we had our wedding rehearsal dinner there. Open bar of course (think they lost money that night).

 On occasion, 21st uses De Boom Street (yes that is the name) as an outdoor seating area.  When they do this is somewhat of a mystery to me, so we never know if we can go unless we call or walk over.  During baseball season, it is often open, but is very crowded, making it tough for the dog.  However during the off season or non game days, it is a great choice.

Sometimes there are servers, other times you need to order at the bar inside.

21st always has interesting and good beers, in addition to the usual suspects (Brew Free or Die IPA is always a reliable option).

Food is good, mostly typical bar food like burgers, fish tacos and pizza.  Nothing really particular stands out, just depends what I am in the mood for.

They also have a TV outside, but there is only one, and it is a little small and hard to see with the glare.

Live music happens a handful of times of year, which is great.  Apparently they want to do it more but it is inanely expensive to get the City approval yaddy yaddy yada.

http://21st-amendment.com/

Anchor Steam/The Yard at Mission Rock

I wrote a good chunk of this blog over the last week or two, but now there is a new one to add!  The Yard at Mission Rock is a cool pop-up village across McCovey Cove from AT&T.  The biggest draw, by far, is the Anchor beer garden.  A decent sized beer garden with 13 (!) Anchor brews on tap.

anchor

The beer garden is a preview of what is to come in this area, with Anchor expanding to have a new brewery, restaurant etc. over here that is supposed to quadruple their production.  The people at the beer garden tell me they will try and have all the new releases and harder to get beers here.

The Yard is made up of mostly shipping containers, with a few food trucks, a wine bus, and a coffee cart.   “Whole Beast” shares the beer garden and has a decent selection of food.  You can also grab food from one of the food trucks and bring it into the beer garden.

There is no wine or hard alcohol in the beer garden area, and there are a ton of signs that say you cannot bring outside beverages in.  This is not ideal for the wife, who wanted to have some wine.  Hopefully this will change.

In any event, I see myself here often.  Super close, Anchor makes great beer, and great bay views.  They also have a couple TVs outside, which is dangerous.  Beer, dog, wife, outside, AND basketball games?  Uh oh.

http://www.theyardsf.com

Am I missing any?  Let me know in the comments!

Advertisements

SF Beer Week Recap – Part 3

The last post is kind of a beer week post, but mostly a Pliny the Younger post.  It is quite convenient that Beer Week and PTY time overlap, further adding to the craziness (PS. I am pretty surprised to still see PTY showing up and Toronado and City Beer Store this week).

PTY releases are announced, subtly or not, at some places, and others are unannounced.  Naturally, the unannounced ones are a zoo, and require significant free time to make happen.

The announced releases in SF had lines building up for hours, with hundred of people in queue.  I cannot say I am surprised.  This is San Francisco, and I am fairly certain 90% of people do not actually work.  Releases at Monks, Toronado etc. were never going to happen for me.  I was confident I would get it somewhere unannounced or not in the City.  My confidence began to dwindle, however, as the week went on.

First Attempt

Rose and Crown had IPA day Wednesday, and explicitly informed of the PTY release (on an aside, Wednesday was chock full of events, that and Thursday would have been the best days to take off, as Thursday would be a recuperation day).

I “snuck” away from work around 1050 am to get to there.  Stupidly, I figured there would not be that long of a line on a Wednesday morning in Palo Alto, as i assumed most Peninsula folk were working (that only happens in SF right? – WRONG). With only a 5 gallon keg, I figured I did not have much of a shot, but wanted to see anyway.  I was there and I was not going to give up that easily.

After waiting a little over an hour and a half I fell about 10 people short.  To be honest, i was surprised I was that close.  It turns out they were doing 6 oz. pours, but it still lasted longer than the line seemed to indicate.  Defeated, I instead got a Pliny the Elder (*note, I was shocked to see how many people left after they announced the PTY was out.  You just waited in line an hour plus, you have earned a beer, and there were plenty of great options on tap).

I have never historically fallen into the Pliny obsession.  I enjoy the beer, but do not fully embrace the craze of getting it (and I actually probably like Blind Pig better than Pliny, and there are a bunch of DIPAs out there that are just as good or better).  That being said, Russian River has done a masterful job of getting people hooked and the limited releases make the hunt almost more exciting than the beer.  After getting denied the Younger I was determined to get it.

However, something about being in line on a killer, sunny Wednesday morning and talking to strangers about beer, while waiting to get a beer, was a really fun experience.  Certainly not something you do too often, and probably only something you can do in a place like the Bay Area in February.  Even though I did not score the Younger that day, I learned about some new beers, an insider tip on where PTY would be the next day unadvertised (and I could not go down to Hayward to next day to get it, but the tip was right), and got to have a Pliny the Elder for lunch.  In the end, the hunt and wait, although deflating, was pretty damn fun.

So, the hunt continued.

 How Not to Get It

After several more days of trying to find Pliny in the new “high tech” way (Taplist, Twitter, Instagram…), and several near misses, a realization I have had in many facets of my life re-emerged.  Sometimes getting things the old fashioned way works best.

Just like connecting with old friends, getting new business, and apparently getting Pliny the Younger, apps and Twitter and the Internet are not the best solution. After missing out at Rose and Crown, I found myself frantically checking Twitter, Untapped, Taplist etc. trying to smell out the next Pliny pour. I messaged bars that I knew were going to get it and did not have much luck. Eventually the Marriot Marquis was nice enough to mention me in a tweet when they were tapping theirs, but I was 30 miles away. A lifetime in Pliny season.

After many near misses that are not worth chronicling, I realized I should just hit the pavement and ask a “friend” at the closest bar to us that regularly gets the Pliny. We frequent this particular spot fairly regularly, and thus are friendly with many of the people that work there and that is all it took.  While enjoying a different beer specially created for SF Beer Week, I asked and I received, PTY on tap the next morning.  With the scoop in hand, the next day I was enjoying several Plinys with little to no wait.

So, How Was It?

I was fearful, and assuming, the Younger would not live up to the hype. How could it? People waiting in line 8 hours at the brewery?!  People camping out in front of Toronado? Me obsessively refreshing my Twitter feed (ok, not that big of a commitment, but still, I was getting anxious thinking I would miss it).

To my pleasant surprise, it was pretty damn good. So good, my wife, who I do not think has ever liked an IPA I have given her, even liked it.

PTY pours a fairly translucent golden orange.  Minimal head, nice lacing.

pliny one

I got enough in my first order to tide me over for an hour or so…

pliny 2

I invited a couple friends, who made sure to get enough to last them as well.  The picture below shows the nice lacing.

MmmMmm

MmmMmm

Nice citrus and tropical fruit notes are present on the nose.  Some light floral tones as well.

Alcohol content is somewhere between 10 and 11.5%, but there is no boozyness in Mr. Younger.

The one thing that is unmistakable about this beer is its balance.  Less malty than the Elder, dare I say perfect bitterness and hops, and smooth as you could imagine.  Crisp and juicy citrus flavors.  Incredibly drinkable.  Does not feel like a Triple IPA as it is not a “hop bomb.”

My personal favorite part, perfectly clean finish with no aftertaste.

99/100 – my highest review ever.  I did not expect this to happen, but it was so damn smooth I had no choice.

Conclusion

Beer week was a hell of a time.  I cannot imagine any city putting on a better one, just because of the size of our city and the plethora of breweries close to home.  Next year mandates that I take a few days off to fully enjoy the entire event.  I definitely need to attend the Opening Gala, and probably the DIPA fest in Hayward.

I am already looking forward to next year, and must thank all the hard working people from the SF Brewer’s Guild for an incredible week.