San Francisco Beer Week Was Like the Super Bowl, But Better

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San Francisco Beer Week Was Like the Super Bowl, But Better

Every February, San Francisco plays host to one of the biggest events in the Bay Area: Beer Week.

Over the last decade or so, it has grown from a handful of local breweries celebrating President’s Day weekend to a 10-day fest featuring more than 120 brewers at 700 events spanning across the Bay Area.

This year, Beer Week faced an unlikely opponent vying for the same week of festivities: Super Bowl 50. The Big Game was headed to the San Francisco area in early February, around the same time the Brewers’ Guild’s event is typically held, which presented a bit of a problem for bars and breweries concerned about the crowds. Instead of attempting to co-exist around NFL parties and sponsored concerts, San Francisco Beer Week rescheduled itself for the end of January but took the opportunity to embrace football as its 2015 theme. As always, the easy-going brewing industry stayed true to form.

This year, 26 breweries split into two teams — North of Market Street breweries, or NOMA, and South of Market Street breweries, or SOMA — and each “drafted” ingredients to make a one time only, limited edition collaborative beer. NOMA created a saison crafted with organic Patwin wheat, yuzu peel, and sea salt, and SOMA, the team that eventually won the head-to-head, brewed a thick chicory-infused coffee porter.

Although the themed brews were a novel addition to this year’s event, the real stars of the week were the sours. Events featuring tap takeovers by San Francisco’s Almanac, Capitola’s Sante Adairius, Santa Rosa’s Russian River, and Berkeley newcomer The Rare Barrel, among others, were hounded by tasters curious about sour styles. While it may not have necessarily implied that California IPAs have fallen out of flavor, it did suggest that Bay Area beer drinkers are looking outside of the typical canon of brewery options.

Check out the photos taken at events during Beer Week.