February is upon us, and for those of us in the Bay Area it brings Strong Beer! If you have not heard, February is Strong Beer Month in San Francisco, a time when two of the local microbreweries Magnolia and 21st Amendment each feature six strong beers (all over 8% ABV). When you drink all 12 and have your Strong Beer Month Card punched (pictured above), you get your very own 2011 Strong Beer Month Glass (to add to your collection, or start one if you have not already).
This year, Magnolia is featuring four classics that you may remember from last year including Tweezer Tripel, Promised Land Imperial IPA, Smokestack Lightening Imperial Stout, as well as the beer with the best name of all time: Old Thunderpussy Barley Wine. They also have two new beers on for the year; Pride of Branthill, a Strong Bitter, and Rye Rye Rocco, a Strong Rye Ale (which I am psyched to try out).
21st Amendment has their annual Lower De Boom Barley Wine as well as Red Imp Imperial American Amber, 21 Rock Triple IPA, and Lord and Master Strong English Blond. They will also have 2-Lane Blacktop, an Imperial Black IPA, and Imperial Jack--a Gold Medal winner at the 2010 Beer Cup. These latter two are not to be missed.
Some advice for Strong Beer Month:
1) Go early: the best and more popular beers run out about halfway through the month. So if you want to try them all, be sure to get there early in the month;
2) Don't lose your punch card;
3) Try not to break the glass on the way home.
The last two happen to me often no matter how hard I try.
If you finish all twelve there is still one more to try. Following up with last years tradition, I brewed my own Strong Beer for February again. This year, I brewed a Triple IPA spiced with cardamom. If you are in town and want to try it out let me know.
Last year's strong beer that I brewed: Fuck Idaho Strong Brown Ale.
Have you had enough beer yet? If not, I have one more thing for you. SF Beer Week runs from February 11-20th and has some amazing events, as usual. Click here for the schedule. And for those of you not in the Bay Area, I'd encourage you to find some Strong Beer this February and drink it! Sounds like it's been a long winter for east coasters this year.