UMAMI MART MATSURI FESTIVAL
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It’s time to raise a pint or three! SF Beer Week begins on Friday, February 6, and this is the ultimate guide for the true beer aficionado. This isn’t for people who say they like beer and proceed to order what may as well be carbonated grain-flavored water. This is a special time for folks who have been looking forward to a week comprised of hearty technical debates with homebrewers and gleaning practiced wisdom from the craft beer gods descending upon the Bay Area.

Apologies -- Chris, my beer geek husband, was buzzing in my ear as we are writing this together. Without further ado, here are the 12 scheduled events that caught our eye:

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 7

SF Beer Week Opening Day Urban Picnic
11am-4pm

Audrey: If you don’t have a ticket to the opening gala on the 6th, fret not -- this killer spread at SoMa StrEat Park is quite the gala in and of itself. The brewers from Headlands Brewing Company (Marin, CA), Magnolia Gastro Pub & Brewing (San Francisco, CA), Archer Brewing Company (San Diego, CA), Golden Road Brewing Company (Los Angeles, CA) and Falling Sky Brewing Company (Eugene, OR) will be in attendance, 16 beers will be on tap, including “rarities and exclusives”, and food pairing recommendations from 10 of the city’s top trucks will be offered. (Admission: free)

SoMa StrEat Park
428 11th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Societe Brewing Company Meet the Brewery
2:30-5pm



Audrey: With beers named the Bellowsman, Harlot, Roustabout, and Pugilist, Societe rocks my period-piece-loving socks off. Beyond great branding, Societe makes excellent beer. This is a great opportunity to learn about the beers behind the silhouettes through a guided two-flight tasting by two Cicerones: Corey Esoldi, Pintsman at Societe, and Sayre Piotrkowski, Beverage Director at Hogs Apothecary. (Admission: free; event benefits Beer to the Rescue, a campaign supporting the Lupus Foundation of Southern California)

Hog’s Apothecary
375 40th Street
Oakland, CA 94609
T: (510) 338-3847

Meet the Brewer of Heretic Brewing Co.
4-8pm

Audrey: From the Harlots of Societe, we head back to San Francisco for Heretic, a brewery based in Fairfield, CA. Master Brewer Jamil Zainasheff (do you get the feeling that everyone involved in beer professionally has a great name?) will be holding court at Zeitgeist and pouring a laundry list of special releases and rare beers. (Admission: free)

Zeitgeist
199 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
T: (415) 255-7505

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 8

Portland by way of FA: Gigantic Brewing Co. & The Commons Brewery
4-10pm

Audrey: Six hours to sip through Oregon’s finest? Yes, please! Fat Angel is hosting two of Portland’s great breweries, Gigantic Brewing and The Commons Brewery, and Brewmaster Ben Love and Master Brewer Van Havig from Gigantic will be on hand to answer questions. A good one to start with might be, “Hey what’s the difference between ‘master brewer’ and ‘brewmaster?’” Cheat sheet here. (Admission: free)

Fat Angel Food & Libation
1740 O'Farrell Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
T:(415) 525-3013

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 9

Craftsman Brewing Company Monday
2:30-11pm



Chris: After bringing friends from a Los Angeles-based specialty foods distributor to the Hog’s Apothecary and hearing them rave about Craftsman Brewery, I immediately highlighted this event. First of all if you haven’t been to the Hog’s Apothecary you are in for a gustatory treat. They also happen to be especially proficient in showcasing rare draft selections from California nanobreweries.

Mark Jilt, the owner and brewer of Craftsman Brewery from Pasadena, epitomizes the spirit of the craft beer movement. In a Beer Paper LA profile, Mark laid out what he finds to be the most essential components of a vibrant beer scene: the place, the people and the brewer must all be dedicated to creating a memorable and value driven experience. It’s not just about the most amazing beer, which Craftsman Brewery produces in spades. It’s about the total experience. Sound advice. Get to the Hog’s Apothecary at 2:30pm to hear Mark speak, or arrive later and just enjoy the true craft beer experience. (Admission: free, event benefits Oakland Public Education Fund)

Hog’s Apothecary
375 40th Street
Oakland, CA 94609
T: (510) 338-3847

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10

Honey is Terroir with Calicraft and City Bees
3-8pm



Chris: Did you know that a productive bee produces 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime? Come learn about one of the most incredible species on earth and enjoy their hard work as well as some delicious craft beer!

City Bees, an organization dedicated to promoting Bay Area bee culture, and Calicraft Brewing are proud to present a tasting of local honey, honey infused beer and the beautiful marriage of honey and yeast: mead! The discussion will begin at 6:30pm, but the tipples will be flowing from 3:00pm -- a sweet event to be sure! (Admission: free)

The Hall
1028 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
T: (415) 558-8293

Yeast Profile Demonstration Event
6-10pm



Chris: Yeast might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about beer. Yeast and sourdough, sure, and yeast and uhh… infections. But yeast also just happens to be the most important component in developing the flavor and character of beer. And without yeast, beer would be a sickly sweet beverage not containing any alcohol at all -- how fun would that be?

Head to Triple Voodoo and learn how using different yeast strains in the same base beer create completely different beers. As an added bonus, the folks from the only professional beer yeast lab based in Northern California, Gigayeast, will be on hand to answer any tough technical questions. (Admission: free)

Triple Voodoo Brewery & Taproom
2245 3rd Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
T: (415) 598-8811

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 11

Marin Brewing Company: Beer, Soul & Cheese!
5–11:30pm



Chris: While there are dozens of new Bay Area breweries featured during SF Beer Week, it would be a serious mistake to miss Arne Johnson, the brewmaster from a small brewery in Marin that has been humbly crafting gold-medal-winning brews for over 20 years. Arne is a true beer mensch, and he has been tirelessly brewing kick-ass beer since 1995 at Marin Brewing Company.

And did I mention this is a beer and cheese pairing event?! The two best things on the planet… together!? Expect an evening of delicious hand-crafted brews paired with some amazing artisan cheese with a live DJ spinning soul and rhythm and blues classics. It doesn’t get much better than this. (Admission: free)

Church Key
1402 Grant Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
T: (415) 963-1713

Ale Industries -- Brewer's Symposium: The Business of Beer
6-9pm



Chris: Hot off the New Yorker presses: Craft beer as a whole category is now out-selling Budweiser for the first time since prohibition. While that is excellent news for consumers of good beer, it raises a serious challenge to those who dream of fame and fortune from opening a boutique brewery.

Co-founder and Brewmaster Morgan Cox of Ale Industries will lead this symposium on the business of brewing and selling craft beer in a hotly competitive market.  As co-owner of one of the most unique and forward-thinking small breweries in the East Bay, Morgan is amply qualified to lead a rousing discussion and will be providing plenty of Ale Industries’ innovative offerings to wet your whistle. Come for the discussion and a pint of beer from a brewery that is changing the brewing landscape of northern California for the better. (Admission: free)

Jingletown Jazz Room at Ale Industries
3096 E. 10th St.
Oakland, CA 94601
T: (925) 470-5280

Sau & Brau 5: Cinco de Porcos
6-9pm



Audrey: A whole pig roast. Over 20 taps flowing. Live music. The entire Drake’s staff on hand to talk shop and hops. Need I say more? (Admission: $50)


Drake’s Barrel House
1933 Davis Street
San Leandro, CA 94577
T: (510) 568-2739

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12

Alaska Night
5-11:30pm


Audrey: Want to brew beer with a pro? Then don’t miss Alaska Night at Diving Dog Brewhouse in Oakland, where head brewer Lee Ellis of Midnight Sun will be teaching novice brewers how to make Pleasure Town IPA. Even better, you’ll get to take home what you make if you book a kettle. To do so, email rob@divingdogbrew.com. More enticement: a Midnight Sun tap takeover, Anchorage Brewing Company flights and crepes from Haut Pan. (Admission: free)

Diving Dog Brewhouse
1802 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, CA 94607
T: (510) 306-1914

Beyond Beer Batter -- The Art of Cooking with Beer's Ingredients
6-9pm



Audrey: For a change of pace from beer drinking, check out this beer cooking class taught by ThirstyBear’s Chef Rob McCarthy. He’ll teach you how to prepare hop-cured salmon and wort-braised duck leg, in addition to three other dishes made with beer’s raw ingredients: hops, yeast and malt. The evening culminates in a beer-paired dinner of the dishes you made -- incidentally, the same dishes that ThirstyBear served last week for SF Restaurant Week -- and you’ll get to take home the recipes as a souvenir. (Admission: $45; limited to 30 guests, of which Kayoko and I are two!)

ThirstyBear Brewing Company
661 Howard Street
San Francisco CA, 94105
T: (415) 974-0905

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14

Japan Beer Fest
12-6pm



Audrey: Japanese-style fried chicken + craft beers from Japan = true romance. Spend Valentine’s Day tasting the pairing magic between the two at The Trappist, Umami Mart’s friend and neighbor. Over fifteen brews from Hitachino, Shiga, Minoh, Baird, and Harvest Moon will be on tap, many of which are difficult to find in the US. Needless to say, get there early to stake out a spot on the patio, claim your share of the crispy malty bounty and chat up honey or two if you didn’t BYO. (Admission: free)

The Trappist
460 8th Street
Oakland, CA 94607
T: (510) 238-8900

That wraps up this year’s edition of the Umami Mart Guide to San Francisco Beer Week. Kanpai!