SF Beer Week: Long Lines, Little Glasses

We like brunch and puns and beer, so beerunch sounded perfect. The line was long but the beerjitos (yes) were bubbly and the plates had little slots cut into them to hold a wine glass like a sidecar while you schmoozed. Our friend Jim brews Mateveza and he hosted the party. He also wrote poetic descriptions of the beer-and-food pairings on offer. These were often more satisfying than the food. We filled our glass-plate hybrids with fennel-cured salmon on mini bagels and Russian River‘s sour, currant-infused Consecration; mushroom and gruyere popovers and Moonlight‘s Toast; chocolaty bread pudding and Deschutes‘s bourbon-barrel aged Abyss. We read about “harrowing collisions of flavors.” We schmoozed. Bear Republic‘s IPA, Racer X, with a watery endive salad, made the best pairing, even though the salad was weak. Like a perfect pun, the whole was greater than its parts.

That night, sobered and cold from a change in the weather, we trekked west to the Social Kitchen to taste beer from local nano-brewers. That is, homebrewers who’ve almost outgrown their homes. We encountered the biggest line yet, and had to warm up down the street with a whiskey and (spilled) Guinness while we waited it out. Finally inside, a packed crowd and rich glasses of stout from Elizabeth Street and Local Brewing helped. An open door to the breezy upstairs balcony did not. From our perch above the fray, we were amazed we didn’t recognize anyone from previous beer week events. Especially since the fashion on display (top hats, cargo shorts-and-calf-warmers, nano-suspenders) is pretty iconic. I guess nano-brewing attracts a certain crowd. Sunday night in the Richmond, too.