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Went to Strong Beer Month at Magnolia Pub in San Francisco a few weeks back with a group of UM readers. The first Umamiventure since I moved back to the west coast! No better way to start off my California residency than some delicious beers brewed right in the middle of the city!

As CJ explained in a previous post, Strong Beer Month is an annual event held at Magnolia and one other brewpub in the city, 21st Amendment. They brew extremely strong beers exclusively for this event, which lasts for the entire month of February. Let's take a look at some of the beers and the food we ordered. Sorry, all my pictures turned out like ass!

By the time we got there at around 7, there were already 3 types of beers sold out! Note to self: gotta get there early to try all the beers.

CJ: I have been going to Magnolia for about 5 years now. I love their beer and think it is probably my favorite micro brew-pub in the city (for the beer). They brew small batches of beers and have a huge variety. Even the same beers taste a little different batch to batch.

KAYOKO: Antwerp's Placebo Plumber. 9.7% ABV 45 BUS. This was my favorite of the three, it was just very smooth and dark, but not stout dark (sorry I am the worst at trying to describe beer!!!):

Promised Land Imperial IPA 10.5% ABV 150 bitter units! Probably one of the best IPAs I've ever had. It tasted light (despite the high ABV) and fresh, and not all smelly in-your-face the way IPAs tend to get.

Don't have a picture but the Smokestack stout was also awesome. I'm usually not a stout gal, but this was super deep and chocolaty.

On to the food. DUNDUNDUN. I was expecting solid pub food, and we were all pretty sorely disappointed. Here's what we got, and what some of the guests thought:

CJ: The food is okay and sometimes pretty good, but it they do NOT have the kind of menu that I like in a brewery. They are trying to be too fancy and frilly. Before the menu change, which was like 3 years ago, they served a bunch of burgers, sandwiches, fried foods and good appetizers to accompany the beers... Sometimes you should just leave a good thing as it is.

Fried head cheese.

Roasted beet salad.

Teo: Duck wings WTF.

Lamb sausage with lentils and greens. Teo says that their andouille sausage is awesome but they were out. He was pissed.

Portugese linguisa with kraut.

Teo: The menu is pretentious. The burger is probably the best thing on the menu (and probably the least pretentious thing too, coincidentally or not).

Vanessa: I thought everything was way overpriced for what you got. I had the burger, and didn't get blown out of the water by it.

CJ: One other thing to note is they have $3 (20oz) beers all day Tuesdays, which is a sick deal for beer that good if you ask me. They also do fried chicken on Thursdays. It is probably my favorate thing they have left on the menu.

Teo: I would call the atmosphere... innocuous? Nothing remarkable although it is cool they have the big bar-level table for you to saddle up to.

Kayoko: Teo's trippin'- I thought the atmosphere was really unique for a pub, borderline bistro-ish (which actually sounds hoity-toity but it works here since the menu is in line with that). Tiled floors, dim lights, rowdy and fun from all the yakking. The huge bar table was definitely awesome and I'm happy we got to sit there.

Final thoughts:

CJ: I personally think Mags is a great micro brewery with a very stupid menu. Beer prices are pretty freaking good and the beers are solid both in and out of strong beer month. The food... Let's face it... the menu is NOT what I want or expect in a brew pub. I want cheap fried apps, burgers, sandwiches, sausages, pretzels, wings, etc...

Vanessa: The idea of Strong Beer Month is awesome... The coolest thing was probably the souvenir cup that you got to keep. Although, how many beers did you have to drink to get this "free souvenir"?!?!?

Teo: Value... meh. I think you pay for a bit more than what you get, especially on the food side. Although $3 tuesdays is a pretty good deal. Service... you have to be creative to get the bartender's attention(or just stand in the right place).

Vanessa: Final conclusion... Just go for the freshest drink.

PS: Please join us for Umamiventure #15 this Sunday in NYC!