Looking for Best Craft Beer Bars in the Bay Area
I will be in town for a month and would like to visit all Craft/Better beer bars in the bay area. Please help. Thanks
Here's a start off the top of my head:
Toronado (beer bar)
City Beer (beer bar/store)
21st Amendment (brewery/brewpub)
La Trappe (beer bar/restaurant)
Monk's Kettle (beer bar/restaurant)
Pacific Coast Brewery (brewery/brewpub/has guest beers)
Trappist (beer bar)
Beer Revolution (beer bar/store)
Triple Rock (brewery/brewpub)
Marin Brewing Company (brewery/brewpub)
Russian River Brewing Company (brewery/brewpub)
Bear Republic (brewery/brewpub)
re: Robert Lauriston
For SF, I'd skip 21st Amendment, second the recommendations for Toronado and City Beer, and add a recommendation for the Alembic, which is a bar that has a number of great unusual beers on tap and an excellent list by the bottle. Same owners as Magnolia but I like the food and ambiance better; some Magnolia beers show up at the Alembic, but they seem to be a limited set of Magnolia's better beers.
Suppenkuche is _great_ for German beer. It's a zoo at dinner and during weekend Brunch, but I like to go between late afternoon and early evening when it isn't too crowded.
good call, I should have mentioned Alembic. For me, the biggest draw of 21A is that it's near the ballpark. You can usually find a drinkable beer on the board, but I think Speakeasy makes better beer in general and has a party every Friday night that the OP should consider. $3 pints.
re: Robert Lauriston
I was feeling the same way for a while about 21st Amendment, but was impressed by their recent strong beer selections for SF Beer Week and their seasonal beers.
I was using "brewpub" more as shorthand for places that have food and beer.
I agree that Trappist is better than PCB, but a combined trip can work sometimes (esp. if you need food and there are some interesting guest beers on tap).
Also, I have to say that Triple Rock is well-worth a stop these days -- the beers are just getting better and better with the new brewer.
I've been tracking down beer all over the Bay Area for the past few months.
Definitely you should plan to visit Anchor. You have to phone in advance for a tour but it's well worth the effort.
Toronado in the lower Haight has the most taps in the Bay Area, a bit of an attitude
Magnolia is a brewpub in the upper Haight
Zeitgeist is worth a visit
Lucky 13 on Market and in Alameda (I like the Market pub better)
Monk's Kettle in the Mission
Rosamunde Sausages on Mission
City Beer (taps plus bottles)
Rogue Ales Public House in North Beach
Benders Bar and Grill
Pig and Whistle
Thirsty Bear (mostly for the cask conditioned ale)
for stores in addition to City Beer try Whole Foods on market and on potrero and Healthy Spirits on Castro
Some good ones in the East Bay
Ben and Nicks (Oak)
Bobby G's Pizza
the Englander (san leandro)
Rose and Crown
Russian River (santa rosa)
there's probably more
allbrews.blogspot.com has the entire list
I have some problems with Jupiter ... I kind of feel that they don't clean their taps enough.
I wouldn't bother with Ben & Nick's with Barclays so close, unless you are pining for a Pliny and Barclays does not have it on their list that night.
Forgot about Bistro and Cafe Biere - good picks.
I've been loving the Valley stuff lately.
I agree with the recs for SF and the East Bay. I would definitely focus my time in the North Bay, SF, and the East Bay. The Peninsula for the most part is a beer wasteland. There is one good beer bar, the Rose and Crown in Palo Alto, and one good beer store, K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City.
As I do most of my beer drinking in the North Bay, here are my recs. All of these places are focused on locally made beer.
Bear Republic Brewery (Healdsburg): They have a lot of brewery only beers. Racer X frequently is on tap.
Russian River Brewing (Santa Rosa): THE best brewery in the US.
Flavor (Santa Rosa): It is not a brewery, but they always have six beers on tap from Moonlight, a great local brewery.
Bottle Barn (Santa Rosa): Best bottle shop in the North Bay.
Lagunitas (Petaluma): They do a good tour and recently opened up a nice beer garden. Usually have a few brewery only beers on tap.
Taps (Petaluma): Great new beer bar in downtown Petaluma. Have roughly 30 taps.
Mondo (Sonoma): Laid back restaurant with really good taps.
Sonoma Springs Brewery (Sonoma): New brewery that makes some good German style beers. They also make a tasty Rye Pale Ale.
Moylans (Novato):Usually have around 15 of their beers on tap and usually have 2 solid cask offerings. Look for the Wet Hopsickle.
Marin Brewing (Larkspur): Good brewpub that puts out a great DIPA called White Knuckle. Their porter, stout, pale ale, and IPA are all very good.
Iron Springs (Fairfax): Another solid brewpub that makes some tasty ales. I like their stout, coffee porter, and DIPA.
Sadly, your comment about the Peninsula is all too true, and the South Bay isn't much better. I was curious about Marks West in Redwood City. Have you been? The North Bay overall is the best beer producing area, though there are some contenders from the East Bay. And I couldn't agree more about Moonlight and Russian River. Pliny the Elder is a beer sacrament.
Pickins on the peninsula are slim but not non-existent. The Refuge in San Carlos has a good bottle-oriented belgian list. City Pub in RC, Caffe Borrone in MP have fresh norcal IPAs, but with limited selection. BBC in MP has a wider variety, but less fresh taps. Rose and Crown probably has the best selection and freshest taps, but the atmosphere is windowless and depressing. Martin's West has a limited but not unappealing selection - girlfriend got a solid bottle of Draak there last weekend. Not worth a trip - but there's enough here and there. AFAIK, there is no Pliny the Elder.
And between San Carlos and South San Francisco - nothing. Or prove me wrong.
PS to chuckl - no beer list is complete without mention of Lanesplitter's two hand pump casks (one each location). Almost always something usual, too.
PS to OP - in a month you couldn't hit all the bars that have good fresh independant brewers, unless you singlemindedly persued the task as a mission hitting two sites a day.
Again, I can't stress enough that you have to go to Russian River Brewing -- it is a necessary prilgrimage for any beer lover visitng the Bay Area.
Used to live across the street from Moylans and the deal then was that they had the better beer and Marin Brewing had the better food. Now, I give the title on both fronts to Marin Brewing, but Moylans is still a worthwhile stop (still don't think the food is very good though).
I think Iron Springs' beer is getting better and better. Look for seasonal stuff.