Yes, after being cancelled for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, San Francisco Beer Week returns this year, from February 11th to the 20th. However, it does so in a somewhat more muted fashion.
Given that the pandemic is not over and some restrictions remain in place on large indoor gatherings, the opening gala in San Francisco will not be happening this year. In its place, the SF Bay Area Brewers Guild has organized five smaller, regional kick-off parties at breweries around the Bay –in San Francisco, San Leandro, San Rafael, and Sunnyvale— and in Monterey County, in Seaside.
Another difference is that the much-anticipated yearly taproom release of Russian River Brewing’s Pliny the Younger triple IPA is being delayed until April (although selected accounts will still receive kegs in February). [See my post about that here.]
Of course, participating breweries, bars and taprooms throughout the region will still offer a full calendar of events to attend, ranging from the now-traditional SF Beer Week special beer releases, to curated tastings, beer and food pairings, and pulling out special and rare beers collected and cellared throughout the year in anticipation of Beer Week.
Naturally, however, one should expect many of those events to be smaller in scope, more limited in permitted occupancy or to have time limits on your stay, in order to comply with mandated and common sense health protocols. Some will be held remotely online.
Many of our friends in the local beer industry have suffered through the lean times of the pandemic, and are likely counting on Beer Week revenue to keep them or get them into the black, or closer to it. So, give them your business if you can, and have a great time and make sure everyone around you can too. So, drink responsibly, show your vaccine card, wear a mask, and be sure to tip well.
See the full calendar of SF Beer Week events here: sfbeerweek.org/activities