The Mission Craft Beer & Food Guide

Clarion Alley / Photographs by Brian Stechschulte

San Francisco’s Mission District is easily one of the best neighborhoods in the Bay Area to find great craft beer and food. A diverse range of bars, cafes and restaurants reside within a walkable mile, appealing to all personalities and palates. Some locales offer overflowing beer menus with sophisticated food, or you can grab a simple slice of pizza with a pint. There are plenty of options and this eclectic guide is designed to help the uninitiated or be the playbook for your next big bar crawl.

It features seven of the most unique venues this cultural nexus has to offer. Locations were chosen for their focus on craft beer and food pairing options, atmosphere and proximity to one another. You could hit them all on a single day or visit just a handful of stops while browsing book stores and vintage furniture shops along the way.

We suggest exploring the neighborhood on foot via the 16th or 24th Street BART stations and most importantly, be adventurous.


Bender’s Bar & Grill

806 South Van Ness Avenue (map), Mon-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm, (415) 824-1800

Sometimes an evening calls for a classic grungy bar with a good tap list and head thrashing live music. You can find this at Bender’s Bar & Grill along with a biker friendly crowd and a few other quirks, like the “adult” gumball machine serving surprises best used in the privacy of their photo booth. Bottom line, this place is filled with personality, a couple pool tables, a nice range of beer, and if you’re hungry, wrap your hands around the Bender’s burger with bacon and whiskey folded into the patty. Oh, and you can store your bike right inside the bar.


Mission Cheese

Mission Cheese San Francisco

736 Valencia Street (map), 11am-8pm daily, (415) 553-8667

Sorry wine lovers, beer is far superior pairing with cheese. Don’t believe me? Then go to Mission Cheese and nibble on some Bohemian Blue while sipping Brother Thelonious from North Coast Brewing. Yes, they only offer six beers to choose from, but the varied selection will allow you to explore a range of flavor harmonies. You can pair your beer with a flight of cheese, have it served on a sandwich, or try their decadent mac and cheese. Want to create your own pairings at home? No problem, all the cheese is available for retail sales.


Monk’s Kettle

Monks Kettle Braised Beef Cheeks

3141 16th Street (map), 12pm-2am daily, (415) 865-9523

It’s safe to say that Monk’s Kettle is at the top of the heap when it comes to beer selection and delicious food. Twenty-five taps round out the draught selection and you can choose from a new and vintage bottle menu that’s several pages long. Once you’ve chosen a beer consider pairing it with a Bone Marrow Canoe, Braised Beef Cheeks or the Pan Roasted Halibut. If you feel a little bit lost, don’t hesitate to ask the well educated staff or in-house cicerone for advice. This place is very popular, so plan on waiting for a dinner table and your wallet will be much lighter when you leave, but it’s totally worth it.


Pi Bar

Pi Bar San Francisco

1432 Valencia St (map), 3:14pm-12am daily, (415) 970-9670

At 3:14pm every day the doors open at this family friendly pizza joint offering twelve beers on tap and an extensive list of mostly Belgian bottles. Pizza is available by the slice with any number of toppings or you can order a large pie to enjoy with friends. Forgo the traditional red sauce on your pizza and order the White Pi covered with Mozzarella, Ricotta and Reggiano Parmesan cheese.


Rosamunde Sausage Grill

Rosamunde Sausage Grill

2832 Mission Street (map), 11:30am-10pm daily, (415) 970-9015

Beer and sausage is a classic pairing and Rosamunde serves traditional and exotic options with over twenty-five different draught beers. Long wooden tables and benches occupy the indoor and patio spaces where you can sit in large groups and enjoy a game on the big screen. Consider trying the Merguez (spicy lamb & beef), the Mission Street (beef wrapped in bacon) or Chicken Habanero sausage.



Shotwell's Bar San Francisco

3349 20th Street (map), Mon-Sat 4:30pm-2pm; Sun 4pm-1pm, (415) 648-4104

History oozes out of the dark paneling, chandeliers and antique bar that makes Shotwell’s so inviting. A watering hole has existed at this location in various forms for over one hundred years. The current owners wrestled it back to life in 2006 and offer a menu that’s focused on local and Belgian beer. The atmosphere more then makes up for the lack of food (yes, we broke the guide criteria), but if you do get hungry, ask the bartender for the menu from Schmidt’s. The German restaurant around the corner is happy to deliver their fare.


The Sycamore


2140 Mission Street (map), 12pm-12am daily, (415) 252-7704

If you’re looking for a solid craft beer selection and simple comfort food, then consider heading to The Sycamore. This rustic and cozy spot serves up sandwiches and sliders alongside seven taps and a small but diverse bottle list. On Saturday and Sunday the place is hopping during brunch and if it’s sunny and warm, grab a beer and head to the graffitied oasis in the backyard. When it comes to food, order the secret menu burger stuffed between two slabs of grilled cheese. It’s so dangerous it doesn’t have a name. Big groups are encouraged to linger, chat and play one of the available board games, so don’t feel rushed.

Craft Brewers Conference Public Events

Are you feeling left out during this weeks Craft Brewer’s Conference? No worries, although the conference is only for industry professionals there are special public events happening every night this week around the Bay. If your looking to rub elbows with the pros or get your hands on great beer here’s a list of things to do:

Tuesday, March 22

Brewery Night: Deschutes Brewing
5:00pm, Hop Yard, 3015 Hopyard Rd., Pleasanton, CA.

Deschutes Brewing will have an arsenal of brew on hand along with Woody their barrel shaped beer dispenser on wheels.

Saison & Cheese Pairing
6:00pm, Beer Revolution, 464 3rd St., Oakland, CA.

Features the finest selection of Belgian & Belgian Inspired Saison & some very fancy stinky cheeses!

Deschutes Beer Pairing Dinner
6:00-9:00pm,  Monk’s Kettle, 3141 16th Street, San Francisco, CA.

“Deschutes Brewery Chef Matt Neltner and Monk’s Kettle Chef Adam Dulye collaborate to deliver a menu made for beer. The special menu, from which anyone visiting the restaurant can order, takes the expertise of these two chefs to create food and beer pairings that will kick off the week just right. On tap will be a large variety of Deschutes beers including: The Abyss 2010, The Abyss, 2009, Black Butte XXI, Hop Henge Experimental IPA, Red Chair NWPA, Mirror Mirror, Jubel 2010, Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Green Lakes Organic Ale. Visitors will also have a chance to discuss the beers and brewing processes with Deschutes Brewery brewer Robin Johnson.”

Wednesday, March 23

Drake’s Brewing Barrel Aged Beer Tasting
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Porky’s Pizza Palace, 1221 Manor Blvd, San Leandro, CA

“Join us at “The Palace” for an Exclusive Tasting of 8 different beers from San Leandro’s local brewery Drake’s Brewing Co., celebrating the Craft Brewers Conference Week in SF.
Some Limited, Barrel Aged & some of our favorite Drake offerings from
the past & present with a twist added!
1.2009 Jolly Roger-Imperial Brown Ale
2.Bourbon Barrel Aged 2009 Jolly Roger
3.Bourbon Barrel Aged Drakonic Imperial Stout
4.Exclusive CBC I.P.A.1/2 Brewed for CBC attendees and in limited
release-we have just 1 keg! Not quite a double IPA with a just right
balance of malt and hops!
5.1500 Dry Hopped Pale Ale(Nitro-Dispensed)adds a creamy body to one
of our favorite beers from Drake’s!(think hoppy Boddingtons)
6.Hop Salad-8% Agressively Hopped Limited Double IPA, a limited
release from mid-January, saved for this event, Cheers!
7.Hopocalypse Imperial IPA – Bronze Medal Winner at this years “The
Bistro” Double IPA Fest, 3rd out of a field of 56 other professional
judged Double IPA’s!
8.Alpha Sessions-American Session Ale-Lighter session ale with a big
hop character just 3.8% & 75IBU’s.
Serving Great Pizza, Chicken & Beer since 1963.”

Deschutes & Old Woody
6:00pm, Beer Revolution, 464 3rd St., Oakland, CA.

20 different beers from Deschutes Brewing will be on tap along with their beer barrel on wheels called Woody.

Deschutes Brewing Black Butte XXII CA Debut
8-11pm, The Republic, 3213 Scott Street, San Francisco, CA.

“This imperial bourbon-aged version of our popular Black Butte Porter, brewed in 2010 with chilies, dark chocolate and orange peel, is well worth a taste during its California debut. You may be familiar with Black Butte XX and XXI which were released to celebrate the Brewery’s past anniversaries, but because XXII was not available outside of our brew pubs, most have not had the pleasure of tasting this spectacular beer.”

Thursday, March 24

Northeast Night
Monk’s Kettle, 3141 16th St., San Francisco, CA.

“Two breweries not usually found in the Bay Area, Pretty Things Ales and Cambridge Brewing Company. Pretty Things, from the East Coast, will soon be available in this area; we will be pouring the first keg of their saison Jack d’Or to be found on this coast. We will also be pouring two drafts from Cambridge Brewing, Project Venus and Blunderbuss. Dann and Martha, owners of Pretty Things, and Will Myers, brewmaster of Cambridge, will be on hand for the evening.”

Craft Brewers Council Sierra Nevada, Russian River Collaboration Event
4:00pm, Public House, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA.

Come down to Public House for your chance to try Sierra Nevada and Russian River Brewing’s 2011 Collaboration Beer.

Brewery Night: Deschutes Brewing
4:00-8:00pm, The Englander, 101 Parrott St., San Leandro, CA.

Deschutes Brewing continues its invasion of the Bay Area this time in San Leandro. Deschutes beers will take over the taps along with Woody, their mobile beer dispensing wooden keg on wheels.

TCHO Chocolate & Brewers Supply Group Tasting
6:00-9:00pm, TCHO Factory, Pier 17, San Francisco, CA.

$25 entrance fee CASH ONLY includes tasting of brews and chocolate. Tickets may only be purchased at the door the night of the event. A portion of the event proceeds will be donated to the ALS Associaton. This event will be held at the TCHO factory on Pier 17. 6-9pm. 21 years and older ONLY.

Brewer’s Dinner
7:00-10:00pm, Pyramid Brewery, 901 Gilman St, Berkeley, CA.

Come enjoy an evening with the Pyramid Brewers & Chef! We’ll be serving up a savory 4-course meal paired with our deliciously crafted summer seasonal Curve Ball. Here are the details: Cost is $45 (all inclusive) and tickets must be purchased IN ADVANCE by calling (510) 527-9090 x223 -Limited to 20 seats
Pork Tenderloin wrapped in filo dough on baby mustard greens and Dijon apple sauce
Fig vinaigrette drizzled on frisee salad greens with honey candied figs and hand rolled almond covered goat cheese
Crisp and buttery almonds coat Hawaii’s native mahi-mahi Served with julienne tropical relish of pineapple, mango, and apple
Sugar covered green apples crown a creamy blend of caramelized blond apple parfait with sweet vanilla crème and crunchy granola

Deschutes Beer Tasting
8:00pm, Toronado, 547 Haight, San Francisco, CA 94122-2767

Join four Deschutes brewers for some beer and sausage. Rosamunde will be grilling up some of their best to wash down with a bit of any of the following beers: The Abyss, The Dissident, Mirror Mirror, Nitro The Abyss, Hop Henge Experimental IPA, Red Chair NWPA, Green Lakes Organic Ale and Mirror Pond Pale Ale.

Upright Brewing at The Trappist
8:00pm, The Trappist, 460 8th Street, Oakland, CA.

Upright Brewing brewers and representatives Ezra Johnson-Greenough and Ben Edmunds are in town for the Craft Brewers Conference and will be making a stop at the great beer bar The Trappist to pour some of their special brand of Farmhouse ales with a Pacific NW twist and will be bringing along some rare barrel-aged bottled treats.

Black Star’s Craft Brewers After Party
9:00pm, Boom Boom Room, 1601 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA.

“You’re invited to attend Black Star’s Craft Brewers After Party on Thursday, March 24th at The Boom Boom Room in San Francisco! Join us from 9pm until the bands stop at 2:15am! Meet Marcus Duffey from the Great Northern Brewing Company and Minott Wessinger, founder ofBlack Star while you enjoy live music, dancing and of course, some cold Black Star beers. If you are attending the Craft Brewers Conference or are a member of the beer/bar industry, present badge/industry ID for complementary VIP admission.

Friday, March 25

Dogfish Head Happy Hour
Urban Tavern, 333 O’Farrell Street, San Francisco, CA.

Dogfish Head is hosting a tasting in Urban Tavern and will be pouring Aprihop, Midas Touch, Palo Santo Marron and 90 Minute IPA. Come join the Dogfish crew! Note: Urban Tavern is located inside the Hilton Hotel and specific event hours have not been listed. It will take place sometime Friday afternoon.

East Bay & North Bay Total Takeover!
4:00pm,  Beer Revolution, 464 3rd St., Oakland, CA.

Breweries from the East & North Bay will takeover the taps at Beer Revolution.

Firkin Friday
4:00-9:00pm, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, 1195 Evans, San Francisco, CA.

In celebration of the Craft Brewer’s Conference (CBC) landing in San Francisco, we have pulled out all the stops for this week’s party – including some new beers, live bands and delicious food. All pints are only $3.

Live music will kick off at 6:00.  Starting with the guitar jammin’ duo Andrew Blair and Ross Warner. The night will be closed out with a grass land stomp set from the The Easy Leaves. San Francisco’s Good Foods BBQ will serve delicious barbecue.  We’ll round that off with tasty Mexican food from local favorite La Laguna Taqueria.

In addition to featuring our regular line of beers, Friday will be the public debut of our new beer brewed special for the CBC called Snatch Racket India Pale Lager. Snatch Racket – named for the surge of kidnappings and ransoms in 1920’s during prohibition – is a unique blend of styles, a 6.5% full bodied lager dry-hopped like an IPA with all German hops. We’ll also be pulling a few rare aged beers from the cellar just for the night.

A Brewers Gathering
6:00pm, The Trappist, 460 8th Street, Oakland, CA.

“In attendance will be Jean Van Roy from Cantillon, Yvan de Baets from De La Senne, Jens from Haand Bryggeriet, Kjetil from Nogne-O, and Stephane, JP, and Luc from Dieu du Ciel! Your chance to meet some of the top brewers, innovators from five of the best breweries in the world! We will have several selections from each brewer on tap.”

Deschutes Beer Tasting
6:00pm, City Beer Store, 1168 Folsom St Suite 101, San Francisco, CA.

Deschutes will be serving appetizers and bringing down some favorites and specials such as The Abyss, Jubel 2010, Mirror Mirror, Hop Henge Experimental IPA and Red Chair NWPA. Meet brewmaster, Larry Sidor, along with three other Deschutes brewers as they discuss this wide variety of beers.

Marrón Acidifié Kick-Off
7:00pm, Rosamunde Sausage Grill – Mission, 2832 Mission, San Francisco, CA.

The Bruery and Cigar City Brewing are psyched to release the fruit of their collaborative efforts during the Craft Brewer’s Conference. Join the brewers at Rosamunde Sausage Grill’s Mission location for the first public tapping of Marrón Acidifié. Over a year in barrels has left this 8.5% ABV “imperial oud bruin” layered with notes of cranberries, tropical fruits, leather and aged balsamic vinegar, balanced by wood tannins and roasted malt.

Saturday, March 26

Brewing up Cocktails with Ninkasi
5:00-9:00pm, 111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna Street, San Francisco, CA.

Ninkasi owner/brewer and figurehead Jamie Floyd will be on hand, while Brewing up Cocktails mixologists Ezra Johnson-Greenough, Jacob Grier, and Yetta Vorobik will be behind the bar making a variety of beer cocktails. There will be one for each of Ninkasi’s year-round beers, including Wired Magazine’s Most Wired Beer Believer Double Red, Total Domination IPA, Tricerahops Double IPA, Oatis Oatmeal Stout, and seasonal release Spring Reign.