Letter from the Editor: Bay Area Craft Beer is on Hiatus

Obligatory “Into the Sunset” Goodbye Photo

Dear Readers, Supporters, Silent Observers & Industry Folk Who Actually Noticed this Website,

In the last few months you may have noticed how lifeless this website has become. At its peak, two to three new blog posts were popping up each week and the calendar of events was quite full. The site was even redesigned this summer, web traffic was at an all time high, and followers on social media were rapidly increasing. So what the hell happened? Well, instead of documenting the industry, I decided in August to join its ranks as Executive Director of the San Francisco Brewers Guild. As of today, Bay Area Craft Beer will no longer be updated in the foreseeable future.

As much as I want to continue updating the calendar and producing in-depth local coverage about craft beer that’s hard to find, both online and in print, I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the tremendous amount of time and energy it required. When I wasn’t working in beer, the prospect of gathering material from breweries, writing stories, or editing photos for up to five hours after an 8 hour work day, was something I looked forward to doing. Okay, not all the time. Sometimes it was a grind, but for the most part I enjoyed the process even though I was logging 10 to 25 hours per week working on the site.

Now, I do a lot of those tasks, and far more, during the day and it’s harder to motivate myself beyond the workday. The prospect of decompressing with a good book or magazine, having the time to meet a friend, or simply attending a beer event and not “covering” it, is much more appealing. In addition to recouping lost free time, I also want to focus my energy on the new job, it’s challenges, and future.

I certainly have mixed feelings about letting this site go dormant. For many people the calendar portion was a useful tool. Instead of having to visit 20 different websites or scrolling through a ton of social media feeds to find events, people could find a good chunk of that info all in one place. My apologies for letting it slip into oblivion. That dilemma actually drove me to create the site in the first place, other than having an interest in producing stories and photos about craft beer that I could hardly find elsewhere. I will still continue to write, take photos and share them when I have the time and energy, but they’ll appear on AllOverBeer.com, my first beer blog.

Before signing off, I want to profusely thank a few people who contributed to the website or kept me motivated when I was ready to call it quits. Kelsey Williams, John Heylin, Jen Muehlbauer, Dave McAvoy, Matt Amaral and Fred Abercrombie gave the site unique material and a voice I couldn’t offer. I’m grateful for the time and energy they devoted to their stories, reviews and cartoons. I also want to thank Ken Weaver for a series of pep talks over beers that boosted my confidence and desire to keep going when it was sorely needed. Finally, thanks to all of you who visited the site, read the material, commented, or provided me with content. In many ways, without you, this site wouldn’t have lasted as long as it did. Cheers!


Brian Stechschulte


Beer Lands Experience Coming to the Outside Lands Music Festival

A good thing keeps getting better with today’s news that Outside Lands organizers will be unveiling a new Beer Lands component to the music festival this August 10-12. Although beer has always been available at the event, it’s never been featured with such prominence, since it began in 2008.

The music festival leaned on Dave McLean, owner and brewmaster at Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery, to help them develop the concept. Together they’ve invited 16 breweries, primarily from California, to pour over 30 different beers.

I reached out to McLean earlier today for some perspective and here’s how he described the process and his selections:

“It was a challenging task, with so many amazing California craft breweries out there, to come up with a short list that represented a current snapshot of great beer in the state. The list tilts a little toward the Bay Area and Northern California, as it should for an SF festival, but we have beers from as far south as Orange County (The Bruery) and as far north as Humboldt (Mad River). Within that, there are the pioneers of the modern craft beer movement and also the smallest and newest up and coming torchbearers for California beer. Over a quarter of the participants are from San Francisco itself, keeping with the spirit of Outside Lands in promoting local art and culture. Each brewery will send two beers, with some sending the only beers they currently produce, while one, Sierra Nevada, is sending a special Outside Lands Saison just for the occasion.”

Beer Lands should be a nice addition to the festival, in case you needed another reason to attend. This Friday, July 20th, they’ll be releasing a limited amount of single day tickets at $95 per day for general audience and $210 per day for VIP. Here’s the most important part: “A significant portion of every ticket sold will directly benefit San Francisco’s Recreation and Park Department.”

Here’s the list of attending breweries:

21st Amendment
Anchor Brewing
Bear Republic Brewery
Drake’s Brewing
Firestone Walker
Heineken USA
Iron Springs Brewery
Linden Street Brewery
Lost Coast Brewery
Mad River Brewing Company
Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery
North Coast Brewing Company
Pacific Brewing Laboratory
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
The Bruery

Beer of the Month Clubs Gaining Popularity in San Francisco

Photo © Brian Stechschulte

Remember when your uncle bought you that beer of the month club membership for Christmas a few years back? You eagerly waited for the first delivery and tore into the box when it arrived, only to find a bunch of random dusty bottles from unknown breweries. Beer of the month clubs don’t exactly have a stellar reputation. The selection can be boring and the cost of shipping is a hefty sum over several months. Four bottle shops in San Francisco offer an alternative to this mail order dice roll. Healthy Spirits and Plumpjack Wines have long established clubs, while Ales Unlimited and the Jug Shop just announced their club opportunities this month.

Each shop takes a slightly different approach and the cost can vary depending on the style and scarcity of the beer you want. None of them have membership fees and you can simply pick the beer up when it’s available. Of course the devil is in the details, which are outlined below for comparison.

Beer of the month clubs aren’t for everyone, but they can be useful for acquiring hard to find beer, convenience, and if you tend to get overwhelmed by unlimited choice or are new to craft beer, then this might be a good option for you. Before signing up for any club, visit the store, check out the selection and ask questions.

The club details below were culled from each store’s website and are subject to change without notice. Please visit them for more specifics and contact information.

If any readers have experience with the following clubs, please comment about your experience below.

Healthy Spirits

Neighborhood: Castro
2299 15th Street
(415) 255-0610

  • 3 to 5 beers per month at a discount
  • In depth tasting notes
  • In store discount card
  • Special perks and access to limited releases
  • Cost of beer each month usually runs around $55


Plumpjack Wines

Neighborhood: Noe Valley
4011 24th Street
Club details and prior selections

  • Approximately $25 per month
  • Two different selection of beers each month (number of bottles vary)
  • Detailed notes on brewery history, description of the brewing process for each beer, tasting notes, serving suggestions and food pairings
  • 10% discount on all non-allocated beers


Ales Unlimited

Neighborhood: Pacific Heights
2398 Webster
(415) 346-6849
Club details

  • Varying choices and price levels
  • Cost covers the actual beer prices
  • Month to month options and discounted upfront options available
  • Club members receive 10% discount on any beers and wines purchased in store that aren’t already discounted.

Level 1: Limited Releases and Exclusive Beers

10 memberships currently available due to limitation of the ales provided.
This membership provides access to the rarest and most exclusive ales we get each month. Barrel aged beers, limited production, and rare releases ales. You love rare? This is a must for you.

Members of this level will receive 2-3 12.7oz, 22oz and/or 25oz bottles.

$50 per month
$275 six (6) months
$525 twelve (12) months

Level 2: Sour Beer, Farmhouse, Saison and Wild Ales

This is the choice for lovers of funky and sour beers. This membership will contain at least one hard to find barrel aged sour beer and one brettanomyces based ale.

Members of this level will receive 2-3 12.7oz, 22oz and/or 25oz bottles.

$50 per month
$275 six (6) months
$525 twelve (12) months

Level 3: New Domestic Craft Beer releases

This level includes only ales from local microbrews and consists of 3-5 12oz, 22oz or 25oz bottles. We will only include craft beer from brewers located throughout the United States. This level will focus on new releases and seasonal offerings.

$30 per month
$175 six (6) months
$325 twelve (12) months

Level 4: New Import Craft Beers releases

This level is similar to level 3 however we only include ales from craft brewers outside the USA. Example countries would be Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

$45 per month
$250 six (6) months
$450 twelve (12) months

Level 5: Multi Mix Pack

We thought long and hard about this level. This level is for the adventurer in you. Can’t decide? Bored to always drink the same ales over and over. This is the level for you. You will receive between 6-10 ales during the month. We will mix from each level, as they are available. During your selected club length you will never receive an ale twice (unless you request it via e-mail and it is available e.g. limited releases)

$75 per month
$425 six (6) months


Jug Shop

Neighborhood: Russian Hill
1590 Pacific Avenue
(415) 885-2922
Club details

  • Varying choices and price levels
  • Offer shipping

Tier 1: Exclusive Beers

6 memberships initially available.
Provides access to the rarest and most exclusive beers each month. This is the program for fans of barrel-aged beers and those looking for the rarest of the rare. As the program grows and members are added, a choice between different sets will be made available.
Shipments will include 2-3 750ml bottles or 22oz bottles.

$220/6 Months
$440/12 Months

Tier 2: Sour Beer and Wild Ales

6 memberships initially available.
If you love funky and sour beer as much as we do, this is the beer of the month club for you. Each shipment will contain at least one hard to find barrel aged sour beer and one Brettanomyces spiked Saison or other wild ale.
As the program grows and members are added, a choice between different sets will be made available.
Shipments will include 2-3 750ml bottles or 22oz bottles.
$220/6 Months
$440/12 Month

Tier 3: New Domestic Craft Beers

Shipments will consist of 3-5 22oz bottles of craft beer from brewers located throughout the United States. This tier will focus on new releases and seasonal offerings.

$140/6 Months
$275/12 Months

Tier 4: New Import Craft Beers

Shipments will consist of 2-4 bottles of beer from craft brewers from around the world. This tier will focus on the amazing brewers of Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, France, Italy, Japan, The Czech Republic and England.

$140/6 Months
$275/12 Months

Tier 5: American Craft Beer Case a Month

Shipments will consist of one 24 bottle mix case of American craft beer with at least 4 different selections and no repeats in the course of one year. This is a great option for people who would like to explore the world of craft beer and keep their beer fridge stocked at the same time.

$200/6 Months
$396/12 Months


Abbot’s Cellar Opening in San Francisco this Summer

Hype and anticipation has been building ever since the team over at Monk’s Kettle announced their intentions for Abbot’s Cellar in San Francisco’s Mission District. It looks like it’s just a matter of time before the doors open. Co-Owners Christian Albertson and celebrated chef Adam Dulye have finished transforming a worn out garage space located at 742 Valencia Street, into what they hope will be a mecca for craft beer paired with fine dining. Judging by the details, they just might meet those expectations.

Here’s what they have planned:

  • 120 plus beer list
  • 20 beers on draft and two hand pumps
  • Daily seasonal à la carte menu with all dishes under $30
  • 3-course and 5-course Prix fixe tasting menus with specific beer pairings
  • Prior to dinner, each guest will receive an amuse bouche with beer pairing
  • Open kitchen and stone oven
  • Beer-by-the-glass program poured from 750 ml bottles
  • Beer and wine will be served at ideal temperatures
  • Two-story stone-encased beer cellar holding 500 cases of beer

According to Adam Dulye, “We want guests to come and explore pairings on their own, or let us guide them to the ideal beer and food pairing.” Dulye will be collaborating on these pairings with Albertson and Co-Beer Director Mike Reis. Dulye said, “Sometimes it will be me leading off with an ingredient I got at the market or from a rancher that’s about to come into season. Other times it will be us tasting through beers and determining what is ready to drink.”

The 3,000 square foot space with 20-foot ceilings and room for 100 guests was designed in partnership with Lundberg Design, whose other notable projects include The Moss Room and The Slanted Door. The overall theme of the space is geared towards an Old World Monastery. Details include reclaimed barn wood flooring, bulb pendants, custom walnut tables featuring a pull out shelf to store the beverage list, a concrete bar and several skylights. Head over to the Abbot’s Cellar website for pictures.

Dinner will be available from Sunday through Thursday from 5:00pm to 11:00pm and Friday and Saturday from 5:00pm to 12:00am.

Stay tuned for a specific opening date.


Bay Area Breweries Collect Over One Hundred Fifty State Fair Awards

For some Californians, summer doesn’t truly arrive until the onset of the State Fair in Sacramento, where thousands of people flock to the Magical Midway, Livestock Pavilion, Giant Slide and drool over sugar laden elephant ears. While these visitors are getting an overdose of fatty food and carnival rides, some people are in the throws of serious competition. There are animals, art and technology exhibits, just to name a few, being judged and awarded.

Breweries from around the state also vie for awards and bragging rights during the commercial craft brew competition, which takes place before the Tilt-A-Whirl’s inaugural spin. Brewers send in their best samples to be judged in numerous categories according to the Beer Judge Certification Program Style Guidelines. The results were recently announced and Bay Area breweries collectively received 162 awards. That’s quite an accomplishment and some people might be surprised by the results.

It should be noted that some breweries don’t participate and the number of sample submissions varies greatly between brewers. As for specifics, unfortunately the number of submission and participating breweries isn’t available. A wine competition press release was issued, but not for beer (Grrrr…).

The following list is organized alphabetically by brewery. If you would like to see the results in their entirety, head over to the California State Fair website.

Congratulations to the winners!


21st Amendment Brewery

  • 2nd, Gold, Drunken Monk, Belgian Strong Light Color
  • Silver, Mr.Poom’s Thai’d House Ale, Spice Herb Vegetable/Winter Beer
  • Silver, Red Giant, Wood Aged Beer
  • Silver, Amber Waves, American Pale Ale
  • Silver, Gigantes IPA, American IPA
  • Bronze, Hendrick’s Imperial Stout, Russian Imperial Stout


Bear Republic Brewing Company

  • Gold, Hop Rod Rye, Specialty Beers
  • 3rd, Silver, XP Pale Ale, American Pale Ale
  • Silver, Red Rocket Ale, American Amber Ale
  • Silver, Peter Brown Tribute Ale, American Brown Ale
  • Silver, Racer 5 IPA, American IPA
  • Silver, Racer X Double IPA, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, Big Bear Black Stout, Stout – Dry, Sweet, Foreign & American


Blue Frog Grog & Grill

  • Gold, Blonde, Blonde Ale
  • Silver, DIPA, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, IPA, American IPA


Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company

  • Gold, Silicon Blonde Ale, Blonde Ale
  • Honorable Mention, Gold, Deadicated Amber Ale, American Amber Ale
  • 2nd, Silver, Full Boar Scotch Ale, Scottish Ales
  • Silver, California Sunshine Rye IPA, American IPA
  • Silver, Lager Diabla, Light Lagers
  • Bronze, Kaleidoscope Black Ale, Specialty Beers


Drake’s Brewing Company

  • Honorable Mention, Best of Show, Gold, Drakonic, Russian Imperial Stout
  • 1st, Gold, Drakonic, Russian Imperial Stout
  • 3rd, Gold, Denogginizer, Imperial IPA
  • Gold, Drake’s IPA, American IPA
  • Silver, Drake’s 1500, American Pale Ale


El Toro Brewing Company

  • 2nd, Gold, El Toro Yo Barleywine, Barleywine
  • 3rd, Silver, El Toro Poppy Jasper Amber Ale, English Brown Ale
  • Silver, El Toro India Pale Ale, American IPA
  • Silver, El Toro Deuce Imperial IPA, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, El Toro Oro Golden Ale, English Pale Ale
  • Bronze, El Toro Negro Oatmeal Stout, Stout – Oatmeal


Faultline Brewing Company

  • 1st, Gold, Stout, Stout – Oatmeal
  • 2nd, Silver, Kolsch, Kolsch & Cream Ale
  • 2nd, Silver, Hefeweizen, German Wheat & Rye
  • 2nd, Silver, Oktoberfest, Euro Amber Lager
  • 2nd, Silver, Doppelbock, Bock
  • 2nd, Silver, Belgian Blonde, Belgian Strong Light Color
  • Silver, Best Bitter, English Pale Ale
  • Silver, Dunkleweizen, German Wheat & Rye
  • Silver, Pale Ale, English Pale Ale
  • Silver, India Pale Ale, American IPA
  • Silver, Belgian Abbey, Belgian Strong Dark Color
  • Silver, Irish Red, Irish Red Ale
  • Bronze, Golden, Blonde Ale
  • Bronze, London Porter, Porter – Robust/Baltic
  • Bronze, Belgian Tripel, Belgian Strong Light Color


Heretic Brewing Company

  • Honorable Mention, Best of Show, Gold, One Nut In The Grave, Specialty Beers
  • 1st, Gold, One Nut In The Grave, Specialty Beers
  • Gold, Evil Cousin, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, Worry, Wood Aged Beer
  • Silver, Evil Twin, American Amber Ale
  • Silver, Shallow Grave, Porter – Robust/Baltic


Hermitage Brewing Company

  • Gold, Citra Single Hop IPA, American IPA
  • Silver, Maltopia, Scottish Ales
  • Silver, Hoptopia, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, Ahtanum Single Hop IPA, American IPA
  • Silver, Coastal Fog IPA, American IPA
  • Silver, One Door Sour Ale, Sour Beers
  • Bronze, Ale of the 2Tun, Russian Imperial Stout
  • Bronze, Ale of the Imp, Imperial IPA
  • Bronze, Coastal Fog Pale Ale, American Pale Ale
  • Bronze, Coastal Fog Amber Ale, American Brown Ale
  • Bronze, Ale des Dieux, Belgian & French Ale


Jack’s Brewing Company 

  • 2nd, Gold, Jack’s Double IPA, Imperial IPA
  • 2nd, Gold, Hardwood Pale Ale, American Pale Ale
  • Gold, Jack’s IPA, American IPA
  • 3rd, Silver, Boys of Summer Wheat, Kolsch/Cream Ale
  • Silver, Jack’s Hefeweizen, German Wheat & Rye
  • Silver, Penalty Shot Porter, Porter – Robust/Baltic
  • Bronze, Grid Iron Amber, Amber Hybrids
  • Bronze, Anniversary Ale, Bock


Magnolia Brewery

  • 1st, Gold, Blue Bell Bitter, English Pale Ale
  • 2nd, Silver, Sara’s Ruby Mild, English Brown Ale
  • Silver, Weekapaug Gruit, Spice Herb Vegetable/winter Beer
  • Bronze, Prescription Pale, American IPA
  • Bronze, Big Cypress Brown, English Brown Ale


Marin Brewing Company

  • Honorable Mention, Best of Show, Gold, Pt Reyes Porter, Porter – Robust/Baltic
  • 1st, Gold, Pt Reyes Porter, Porter – Robust/Baltic
  • 1st, Gold, Cuvee Roge’, Sour Beers
  • 2nd, Gold, Hoppy Holidaze, Spice Herb Vegetable/winter Beer
  • 3rd, Gold, Quad, Belgian Strong Light Color
  • 3rd, Gold, Airporter Chocolate Porter, Specialty Beers
  • 2nd, Silver, Orange & Black, Fruit Beer
  • Silver, San Quentin’s Breakout Stout, Stout – Dry, Sweet,Foreign & American
  • Silver, White Knuckle Double IPA, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, Old Dipsea Barleywine, Barleywine
  • Silver, Bourbon Barrel Old Dipsea Barleywine, Wood Aged Beer
  • Silver, Marin IPA, American IPA
  • Bronze, Marin Hefeweiss, American Wheat/Rye
  • Silver, Marin Abbey Special, Belgian Strong Dark Color
  • Bronze, Mt Tam Pale Ale, American Pale Ale
  • Bronze, Tiburon Blonde, Belgian & French Ale
  • Bronze, Tripel Dipsea, Belgian Strong Light Color
  • Bronze, Saison De Revolution, Belgian & French Ale
  • Bronze, 21 Year Old Ale, Od Ale
  • Bronze, E.S.Chi, Spice Herb Vegetable/winter Beer


Moylan’s Brewing

  • 1st, Gold, Hell’s Export Lager, Light Lagers
  • 1st, Gold, Hopcrak XXXIPA, Imperial IPA
  • 3rd,Silver, Moylan’s Wheat Ale, American Wheat/Rye
  • 3rd, Gold, NDR CAL IPA, American IPA
  • Honorable Mention, Best of Show, Gold, Hopcrak XXXIPA, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, Wet Hopsickle, Wood Aged Beer
  • Silver, Moylander XXIPA, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, Hopgarten Pilsner, Pilsner
  • Silver, Chelsea Moylan’s Porter, Porter – Robust/Baltic
  • Silver, Ryan Sullivan’s Imperial Stout, Russian Imperial Stout
  • Silver, Moylan’s Chocolate Porter, Spice Herb Vegetable/winter Beer
  • Silver, Dragoons Dry Irish Stout, Stout – Dry, Sweet,Foreign & American
  • Silver, Octoberfest Marzen, Euro Amber Lager
  • Silver, Hopsickle Imperial XXXIPA, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, White Christmas Winter Beer, Spice Herb Vegetable/winter Beer
  • Silver, Orange & Black Congrats Ale, Fruit Beer
  • Silver, Moylan’s Special Bitter, English Pale Ale
  • Silver, Celts Golden Ale, Blonde Ale
  • Silver, Old Blaney Barleywine, Barleywine
  • Silver, Tipperary Pale Ale, American Pale Ale
  • Bronze, Danny’s Irish Red Ale, Irish Red Ale
  • Bronze, Pommegranate Wheat Ale, Fruit Beer
  • Bronze, Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale, Scottish Ales


Pizza Orgasmica & Brewing Co.

  • Silver, Orgasmica Triple I.P.A., Imperial IPA
  • Silver, Orgasmica I.P.A., American IPA
  • Silver, Orgasmica Chocolate Imperial Stout, Russian Imperial Stout
  • Silver, Orgasmica Kolsch, Kolsch & Cream Ale
  • Silver, Orgasmica Four Grain Hefeweizen, German Wheat & Rye
  • Silver, Orgasmica Pale Ale, American Pale Ale
  • Bronze, Orgasmica Amber Ale, American Amber Ale
  • Bronze, Orgasmica Golden Ale, Blonde Ale
  • Bronze, Orgasmica Porter, Porter – Robust/Baltic
  • Bronze, Orgasmica Peach Pale Ale, Fruit Beer


Pyramid Breweries

  • 1st, Gold, Pyramid Curveball Blonde Ale, Blonde Ale
  • Gold, Pyramid Outburst Imperial IPA, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, Pyramid Hefeweizen, American Wheat/Rye
  • Silver, Pryamid Apricot, Fruit Beer


Ruth McGowan’s Brewpub

  • Honorable Mention, Gold, Citrus Wheat Ale, Spice Herb Vegetable/winter Beer
  • 1st, Gold, Cloverdale Ale, American Amber Ale
  • 2nd, Gold, Monster Brown, American Brown Ale
  • Gold, Floyd IPA, American IPA
  • 3rd, Silver, McGown’s Dry Irish Stout, Stout – Dry, Sweet,Foreign & American
  • Bronze, Caroline’s Blonde, Blonde Ale


Sonoma Springs Brewing Company

  • 1st, Gold, Uncle Jack’s Kolsch, Kolsch & Cream Ale
  • 3rd, Silver, New Bavaria Roggen, German Wheat & Rye
  • Silver, Daedalus, Wood Aged Beer
  • Bronze, Lil’ Chief, American Pale Ale


Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

  • Gold, Payback Porter, Porter – Robust/Baltic
  • 3rd, Silver, Scarface Imperial Stout, Russian Imperial Stout
  • Silver, Big Daddy IPA, American IPA
  • Silver, Double Daddy, Imperial IPA
  • Silver, Prohibition Ale, American Amber Ale


Strike Brewing Company

  • 1st, Gold, Strike Brown, American Brown Ale
  • Silver, Strike Blonde, Blonde Ale
  • Bronze, Strike Porter, Porter – Brown
  • Bronze, Strike Wit, Belgian & French Ale


Thirsty Bear Brewing Company

  • Honorable Mention, Silver, Weizenbock, German Wheat & Rye
  • 3rd Silver, Broadsword, Scottish Ales
  • 3rd Silver, Cherry Stave, Sour Beers
  • Bronze, Winter Stave, Sour Beers


Tied House Brewing

  • 1st, Gold, New World Wheat, American Wheat/Rye
  • Silver, Ironwood Dark, English Brown Ale
  • Silver, Alpine Gold, Blonde Ale
  • Bronze, Cascade Amber, American Amber Ale


Trumer Brauerei

  • 3rd, Silver, Trumer Pils, Pilsner