Give Some Beer Money to Charity During SF Beer Week

We’re one day away from SF Beer Week and right about now your itinerary is probably packed. Dinners, rare beer tastings and many other tempting festivities will have you zig-zaging across the Bay. The ten day marathon can be taxing on your body and bank account. Your hard earned money supports the growing craft beer movement, but could also help a local charity or non-profit during SF Beer Week thanks to the generosity of a few brewers and event organizers.

Here’s some events you should consider that are giving back to the community. You can have fun, try the latest and greatest beer, and feel like your making a difference at the same time.

2nd Annual Small Batch Big Thirst Beer Tasting Fundraiser 

A posse of brewers and food trucks will gather together to form a beer garden on February 11 from 12-4pm. All proceeds will benefit charities supported by the Night Train Swimmers.

3rd Annual Chocolate & Beer Festival

Chocolate and beer is a fantastic combination. Expect to find a few Imperial Stouts on hand at this event taking place on February 11 from 2-6pm at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, CA. Proceeds will benefit the Children’s Learning Center, which is a “comprehensive alternative educational program for exceptional children, who, because of their intense behavioral, social, emotional and educational needs are temporarily unable to succeed in the public school system.” Breweries on hand will include the Elevation 66 Brewing Company, Drake’s Brewing, Anchor Steam, Moylan’s Brewing Company, Lost Coast, Trumer, Marin Brewing Company, Triple Rock, Linden Street, and more.

3rd Annual SF Beer Week Beer Run

Burn some calories before slugging back some beer at Social Kitchen & Brewery on February 12th at 11:00am. It’s a friendly, non-competitive affair, that stretches for 5 miles through Golden Gate Park and returns to the brewery where you’ll get a $1 off beers. It should be noted that there’s an “optional” beer stop at Magnolia Pub & Brewery for those who wish to rehydrate. Post run prizes will be doled out and a raffle will benefit the Contra Costa Food Bank and Ales for Autism in memory of the great beer writer Bill Brand.

Chocolate Making Contest and Benefit with Pete Slosberg

Legendary craft brewer and chocolate maker Pete Slosberg, former owner of Pete’s Wicked Ales, will be turning 21st Amendment Brewery into a candy factory on February 13 from 6-8pm. Bring a “random ingredient” from home and the get your hands sweet and sticky in a fun-filled competition that could garner you a $100 gift certificate to the host brewpub. A special cask beer has been designed for the event and proceeds will benefit cancer research. (SOLD OUT)

East Bay Brew Fest

The Pyramid Alehouse is hosting the first edition of the East Bay Brew Fest on February 16th from 5-9pm. For an affordable price of $20, guests will receive a glass and unlimited beer tastings from Ale Industries, Bison Brewing, Black Diamond Brewing, Buffalo Bill’s Brewery, Drake’s Brewing, E.J. Phair Brewing Co., High Water Brewing, Jupiter, Linden Street Brewery, Pacific Coast Brewing, Pyramid Brewing, Triple Rock Brewery and Trumer Brauerei. All the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Berkeley Food & Housing Project.

Ales for Autism Presents the Black & White Beer Ball

Drink beer and help raise money for autism care in Windsor at the Mary Agatha Furth Center on February 17 from 6-9pm. For $35 per person, Ales for Autism will be offering up “endless pours” of black and white beers from Third Street Aleworks, Russian River Brewing Co., Firestone Walker, Widmer Brothers, Lost Coast, Speakeasy, and Hoegarrden in a complimentary tasting glass. Food will also be available from Santa Rosa’s BBQ spot while live music from the Nate Lopez Trio fills the air.

Head Brewer for a Day Dodgeball (S)Mashdown

Stretch your arm and prepare for battle if you want to be head brewer for a day at Pyramid Alehouse in Berkeley. The showdown begins on February 18 at high noon and goes till 4:00pm. All you have to do to enter is bring some items on the Berkeley Food & Housing Project’s wish list, which can be found on the Facebook event page (click “see more”). We expect this to be a highly popular event.

SF Beer Week Kicks Off With Opening Gala

The SF Beer Week pressure valve was released on Friday, February 13, after weeks of social media fervor bolstered anticipation. With tickets in one hand and nervous fingers twitching for a treasured tasting glass, attendees formed a line that stretched around the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

At 3:30pm the doors leading to the Gala swung open for the ninety-minute VIP session. Inside Bay Area breweries lined the walls and occupied an island of taps in the center of the large room. For the time being, the floor was spacious and hopheads rushed around searching for the rare and unreleased. A line quickly formed in front of Russian River Brewing for a small keg of Pliny the Younger that emptied in minutes, but there was plenty of incredible beer to go around.

The highlight of the evening was the panel discussion that featured several brewing luminaries that included Terrence Sullivan, Vinnie Cilurzo, Pete Slosberg, Brian Hunt, Mark Carpenter, Shaun O’Sullivan, and Matt Brynildson. Rich Higgins, president of the San Francisco Brewer’s Guild, lobbed questions that fueled a wide-ranging discussion filled with history and knowledge laced with a passion for craft beer. Several video cameras were documenting the dialogue, which will hopefully reach a wider audience.

With highlights also come low-lights. When the doors opened for general admission at 5:00pm rumbles of discontent also trickled into an already packed hall. The line to get in was immense and ticket holders faced an hour-long wait or more. At one point they were even told capacity had been reached and refunds were offered. Topping it all off, when patient attendees finally crossed the threshold, commemorative glasses were gone in addition to some very desirable beer.

This debacle should have been avoided. Clearly way too many tickets had been sold. Jen Rizzo, author of the blog Pedals and Pints, was caught up in the headache and offers a very insightful editorial on her website.

Once tensions were eased with beer, the night carried on with tremendous fanfare. The Gala kicked off a week filled with over 300 tastings, beer dinners and other special events that will leave many beer connoisseur’s pleased in the end.

Update (2/14/2011): In response the difficulties surrounding the Gala festivities, organizers issued the following response via e-mail to ticket holders, which includes info on refunds and glassware.

Dear SF Beer Week Opening Gala ticket holders,

Thank you for your continued support of local craft beer and SF Beer Week! While the Opening Gala was a success on many fronts, we’d like to address our capacity issues with you, below.

We are profoundly sorry that some ticket holders couldn’t enter the Opening Gala. We are awed by your overwhelming support of the craft beer industry.  In brief, the problems we encountered were as follows:

1.  Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the fire marshal and SF Beer Week planners all had different understandings of the event’s traffic flow and capacity. We sold tickets based on the total capacity for the venue.  On the night of the event, the YBCA and fire marshal worried that too many people in one particular area of the entire venue created a hazard.

2.  Peoples’ enthusiasm for particular beers created lines that crowded too many people into one particular area of the entire venue.  We could not predict this beer lovers’ bottleneck.  Consequently, YBCA staff limited admission for the entire venue.

We will send refunds to ticketed individuals who were not admitted to the event. The refunds will begin on Monday, Feb 14 through Eventbrite.  If you do not receive your refund by Feb 18, one week after the event, please reply to this email at openinggalasfbeerweek@gmail.com with your name and ticket information. Thank you for your continued patience and support of the many grass root events that combine to create SF Beer Week.

Further, if you did not receive a commemorative glass, more are on their way.  We will be in touch with more information in the week to come!

Best,

SF Beer Week
Opening Gala

Steve Donohue pouring his beer from Firehouse Brewery.

The crew from Devil’s Canyon Brewing.

Sugar filled palate cleansers were available along with a host of other food options.

Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River Brewing.

A Russian River Brewing magnum on ice.

Left to right: Vinnie Cilurzo (Russian River), Pete Slosberg (formerly Pete’s Wicked Ales), Mark Carpenter (Anchor Brewing), Brian Hunt (Moonlight Brewing), Matt Brynildson (Firestone Walker), Shaun O’Sullivan (21st Amendment), Terrence Sullivan (Sierra Nevada)

Shaun O’Sullivan of 21st Amendment snapping photos of the action on stage next to Matt Brynildson from Firestone Walker.

Fan favorite Brian Hunt from Moonlight Brewing.

A new brew on the horizon (bottles were empty).

Tom Dalldorf (left) publisher of Celebrator Magazine with the Homebrew Chef Sean Paxton.

Two generations of brewers, Pete Slosberg with Patrick Horn and Bryan Hermannson of Pacific Brewing Laboratories.

Lead singer of The Brothers Comatose.