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For seven years now the brewers of 21st Amendment and Magnolia Brewery in San Francisco brew an amazing range of beers (usually over 8% ABV) for the annual Strong Beer Month.The kegs and casks of vintage and barrel-aged beers will appear throughout the month starting February 1st, but you should get on it as soon as you can, as they run out of the best beers early.

They give you a little punch-card (above), you visit both breweries, try all the beers, and get yourself a free commemorative glass. It is a fun little mission and just what is needed to beat the winter blues.

This year has been one of the best yet. The most notable brews from 21st Amendment are their Hop Crisis Triple IPA and their Ripple Imperial Chocolate Porter. Hop Crisis packs a punch at 11.8% ABV, but it does not taste it. The aroma and bitterness of the hops balances it all out quite nicely. I wish it was a year-round brew. The porter is full of rich, smooth, chocolaty, nutty goodness.

Magnolia Brewery is one of my favorites in the Bay area and their beers have never disappointed me. Their Old Thunderpussy Barleywine, a hoppy version of a traditional English barleywine , is probably the most well-known staple of Strong Beer Month and has the best name of any beer, ever. Their Tweezer Trippel is very citrusy, spicy and delicious. I love Magnolia’s beers, and I have to say that it is a must-visit for any beer fan coming to SF.

The beers are all potent and usually delicious. It only takes a few to get you feeling good, and our happy hours in February always end in a blur where you wake up with a dirty kitchen from cooking a late night snack you don’t remember, straight friends end up spooning gay friends, and you always break your commemorative glass before getting it home.

After several punches...

Don’t let February get you down. Go get yourself some strong beers and celebrate Strong Beer Month, even if you are not in SF!