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Jan 27, 2009 05:52 PM

Local beer for a wedding?

I thought I posted this a couple days ago, but it doesn't seem to have shown up. Here's take 2; apologies if it's a dup.

My brother is getting married in SF in July, and he has asked me to help him select the beer for the reception. But my tastes tend to run to high-alcohol Belgians, which are probably not the kind of thing he wants to serve at a wedding half-full of macrobrew-drinkers. Furthermore, I'm in Los Angeles, so I don't really know of any good Bay-Area microbreweries. So I'm turning to my fellow hounds for help.

Can anybody recommend a local beer and/or brewery? I'd like to find two to three beers that are interesting and tasty, but won't totally put off drinkers who are accustomed to Corona and Heineken. Preferably something that's not marketed nationally. Maybe one beer that's light and summery, and two more with a bit more body. Also, if you recommend something hard to find, I'd appreciate the name of a bar in SF or Berkeley where he can taste the beers prior to making a decision.

Bonus points if the brewery is organic, or has made at least some effort towards sustainability. Thanks!

edit: Okay, I suppose *one* of the selections could be something that's totally inappropriate for macrobrew-drinkers. I mean, if you know of a fantastic locally-made trippel, I certainly don't want to discourage you from telling me about it.

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  1. I'm a fan of Devil's Canyon in Belmont. They open their doors to the public the last Friday of each month (it's quite a party, complete with food and musical entertainment), so your brother can come by and taste several flavors then. My personal favorite is their Hades Habanero beer - real spicy kick and aftertaste!

    2 Replies
    1. re: alina555

      Yeah, I'd say Devil's Canyon all the way. They have a fantastic variety of beers that will please the macros and the micros, and they do regularly source organic ingredients for some clients. They deliver to several restaurants in San Francisco, and are a really professional operation. They've been here for eight or so years and I, too, frequent their Beer Friday.

      1. re: orezscu


        Devils Canyon Brewing Co
        111 Industrial Way # 7, Belmont, CA

    2. Check out Half Moon Bay Brewery, Speakeasy or 21st Amendment.

      All delicious microbrews!!!!

      2 Replies
      1. re: jdinsf

        half moon bay brewery's beer is just terrible. absolutely terrible on every level. sorry..!

        1. re: johnrybak

          Hello johnrybak,
          What don't you like about it?

      2. Try City Beer and see what you like.

        City Beer Store
        1168 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103

        1 Reply
        1. re: wolfe

          I would highly highly recommend City Beer for this project. The owner is immensely knowledgeable about beer, and consistently gets interesting and obscure beer from around the country. I know he's ordered kegs for clients before, and am convinced he could recommend and source something for the wedding.

        2. Bear Republic Brewery in Healdsburg makes some of the best beers in the Bay Area--there are a wide variety. Also, Moonlight make a half dozen different beers depending on the season. BR's Racer 5 is awesome and during the summer, Moonlight's Reality Czech is pretty light a flavorful. The Toronado on Haight has many of both breweries offerings as do Lucky 13 and Jupiter in the Berkel...

          3 Replies
          1. re: hankstramm

            I second Bear Republic and will add in Mendocino Brewing Company (Red Tail Ale, etc.). They're smoother than Anchor Steam, which was too bitter for me.

            Bear Republic Brewing Co
            345 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448

            Mendocino Brewing Co
            1601 Airport Rd, Ukiah, CA

            1. re: Caralien

              I saw mixed cases (an assortment of four different beers) from Mendocino Brewing Co. at Costco today.

            2. re: hankstramm

              I strongly third the vote for Bear Republic! Their Racer 5 is unbeatable, one of the best IPAs around. They also make 2 hefeweizens if OP wants something low alcohol. I ordered a keg of the Racer 5 for a party I gave last summer and people went crazy for it. Picked it up at New Star-Ell on Divisadero.

              New Star Liquor
              501 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA

            3. Anchor Steam is in SF proper, the first real microbrew beer in the US. I'm a fan of Sierra Nevada because it's widely available in NorCal but it's nothing special. If you go to the Toranado (pub) you'll be able to sample quite a few local beers on tap. .

              Toronado Pub
              547 Haight St, San Francisco, CA