Behind the Scenes Video Follows Kim Sturdavant Brewing at Social Kitchen

Videographer Mark Sandhoff has put together a wonderful film that follows Kim Sturdavant on a typical brew day at Social Kitchen. Kim recently filled the brewmaster position when Rich Higgins departed earlier this year. The video is more art house style, than 60 minutes profile, but gives the viewer a complete picture of the brewing process.

The music also happens to be delightful. It’s by Charles Iwegbue & His Archibogs, and the Apolos Empire Rhythm Orchestra. You can check it out here, but I highly suggest the larger viewing experience on Sandhoff’s Vimeo account. Enjoy.

Rich Higgins Departing Social Kitchen & Brewery, Kim Sturdavant to be Brewmaster

Rich Higgins / Photo © Brian Stechschulte

By the end of February Rich Higgins will have made his final batch of beer at Social Kitchen & Brewery on 9th Avenue in San Francisco. The Master Cicerone has been at the helm of the brewing program since the Inner Sunset brewpub opened back in May of 2010.

His immediate plans call for some time off and research in Belgium, England and Germany, and then he’ll focus on his craft beer consultancy business. According to Higgins, “I’ve got too many opportunities, gigs, and contracts out there that I’m not able to seize upon and move my career forward.”

Higgins’ career started back in 2004 when he took an assistant brewer position at the San Francisco Brewing Company (now closed). After leaving in January of 2005 he spent time at Gordon Biersch and ThirstyBear Brewing before taking the brewmaster position at Social Kitchen.

During his two years at the brewpub Higgins created a balanced menu of session styles and bold high gravity beers. He also worked closely with the kitchen and several visiting chefs on his monthly Brewmaster Dinner Series. Higgins firmly believes that “there’s a beer for every food, and a food for every beer,” which he carefully explained during a recent series of beer and food pairing classes at the Boothby Center for the Beverage Arts in San Francisco.

Higgins’ exit from Social Kitchen also means he’ll be stepping away from his involvement with the San Francisco Brewers Guild, where he spent two years as Secretary, two years as President, and one year as a Board Chair. He spent many hours with the group organizing SF Beer Week, Brews on the Bay and other Guild activities. While he said the extra work outside the brewery has been exhausting, “I’ve learned a ton and it has given me great tools for effective leadership, organizing, and rabble rousing down the road.”

Don’t expect Higgins to disappear from the Bay Area brewing community. He’ll be working with restaurants and other venues around town that could use some help on beer menus and food pairing options. Before you can enjoy those results, head down to Social Kitchen over the next few weeks to try his strong beers while you can.

Enter Kim Sturdavant

Kim Sturdavant at right with James Davids

Fans of Social Kitchen shouldn’t despair. Higgins will be handing off the brewing system to a set of capable hands in Kim Sturdavant, who’s spent the last five and half years at Marin Brewing Company under the mentorship of Arne Johnson. Sturdavant plans on easing his beer onto the menu while learning the ropes of Social Kitchen’s brew system.

Down the road his goal is to get 10 beers on tap at all times, but he’s still figuring out how to juggle the equipment to ensure it happens. According to Sturdavant, Social Kitchen’s brew system is far too large for on-site consumption only and ownership has decided to pursue a distribution license.

As for the beer he has in mind, priority number one is a Pale Ale and then some hoppy English beers. Fans of Higgins’ Belgian styles won’t be disappointed. Rapscallion will stay on board and Sturdavant is thinking about brewing some sort of Belgian Single. You can also expect a Stout and Pilsner in the future.

Sturdavant is excited about the new opportunity even though he’s leaving a mentor behind. He said, “Arne Johnson is a great brewer and has impeccable taste. I can’t say enough about how valuable it was to learn from someone like him, to really learn to do things the right way, right off the bat.”

In the coming month you can expect to see Sturdavant’s hard work appearing on Social Kitchen’s beer menu.

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.

Photo & Video Recap: The Bay Brewed Rock & Roll Beer Festival

Photos © Brian Stechschulte

A sold out crowd of 300 people piled into the depression era Verdi Club this past Saturday for the first edition of The Bay Brewed Rock & Roll Beer Festival. City Beer Store, the San Francisco Brewers Guild and local indie music experts The Bay Bridged hosted the event. Performances by Terry Malts, Extra Classic, Sleepy Sun and Weekend stretched over five hours in that order.

Participating breweries nearly surrounded the dance floor. Members of the SF Brewers Guild, which included Anchor Brewing, Magnolia Brewing, 21st Amendment, Social Kitchen, Speakeasy and the Beach Chalet, occupied one side, while Ale Industries, Marin Brewing, Lagunitas and Drake’s Brewing sat along the other wall.

Festivities got off to a thrashing start with Terry Malts, but the crowd didn’t follow suite until the beer started to take effect and the lights began to dim. Most of the breweries served standard selections, but there were a few exceptions. 21st Amendment brought a keg of Allies Win the War, Lagunitas cracked a few bottles of Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale, and Marin Brewing brought their tasty chocolate Air Porter. A few taps ran dry early, but most of them lasted until nearly the end of the last set.

Overall the event appeared to be a resounding success. The crowd had ample space to roam and jump around, beer lines moved quickly and each performance was outstanding. The Bay Brewed should become an annual event.

YouTube Preview Image

 

 

 

 

Win Tickets to Breweries of Tomorrow

SF Beer Week is a hell of a time, but can put a dent in your wallet. So we decided to give one lucky winner a pair of free passes to the Breweries of Tomorrow Nanobrewery Festival via Twitter. Contest entry does require some effort, but its beer folks. You’ll enjoy it!

How to enter?

Go to Social Kitchen & Brewery in San Francisco by Friday, February 11, and take a picture of yourself drinking one of their Strong Beers. Once you’ve taken a photo, Tweet a message mentioning @BeerbytheBay and include the hashtag #SFNanoBeerFest. This will ensure we see your entry.

All the Tweets (your photo, message and Twitter name) will be posted here on the Bay Area Craft Beer website. Caution, any entries that appear to be spam, are malicious or rude in any manner will be denied entry. Keep it clean beer lovers.

Who’s eligible?

Entrants must be 21 years of age. Duh.

What are the prizes?

One lucky winner will receive two free passes to the festival, which each include a keepsake glass, two Social Kitchen Strong Beers and unlimited samples from the Nanobrewers. That’s a $30 value.

What’s the deadline for the contest?

All entries must be tweeted by Friday, February 11, at midnight (PST).

How will winners be selected?

The winner will be selected at random and announced on Saturday, February 12 via Twitter and here on the site.

Update (2/13/11) The competition is now CLOSED. Congratulation to @TheeMadCutter and thanks to everyone else who participated.