We have reached a point in the craft beer boom where we do our best to promote the local breweries, but don't hate on people who choose to enjoy a beer from the big guys. Personally, I want people to give more flavorful beers an honest try, but I won't push someone who steadfastly prefers the macro brews. Enjoy what you like - and no need to be a snob about it either way.
I've found the same is true for beer events.
Many of the beer festivals out there feature booth after booth of pouring breweries - some of them great local guys, but many of them huge brands that don't pour, nor care about, innovation. For some, these beer fests are excuses to overindulge and get drunk. That's ok. These types of beer festivals are the places for that. But if you want a fuller, richer, beer event, you may need to look somewhere beyond Fort Mason.
You can probably tell what I'm building to. Just like the relationship between craft beer and big beer, there is also a relationship between beer events that celebrate beer, and traditional beer fests that celebrate drunkenness.
Today's state of beer is so much more than a means to get drunk. It is true that we drink beer to feel the effects of alcohol, but we do so to explore the tastes, smells, and feelings that fill up our glasses. To some, a brewed beer can be art - art consumed by drinking.
RateBeer's Gallery series, now in its third iteration, returns to San Francisco on Saturday March 29th. Like all beer events, it will feature breweries, beers, food, and be housed in a venue. a carefully curated selection of beers, a fine location, and food to snack on. But what makes Gallery events so unique is the dedication to the celebration of beer. The pouring breweries will all be top notch. The beers will be rare and wonderful. The food will be artisan cheeses instead of corn dogs. And the venue, SPUR, is an intimate environment, on multiple floors, without throngs of people waiting in lines.
Perhaps one of the brightest parts of Gallery is their focus on speakers. Many would agree that SF Beer Week's greatest event this past year was Almanac's Beer Talks. If you couldn't make it, think of Beer Talks as TED talks for beer. It's quite special sipping a sour while listening to renowned brewers explain their thoughts and methods in brewing. Perhaps Gallery served as inspiration for Beer Talks as the two events are quite similar. On Saturday, RateBeer's Gallery will host brewers from Modern Times, Almanac, Cellarmaker, and Sante Adairius. Quite the lineup of speakers, and it'll be an experience being able to drink their beers while listening to them talk.
Here are the breweries and the beers they will be pouring:
- Sante Adairius Doble Lupúlo
- Sante Adairius Cellarman
- Deschutes PineDrops IPA
- Drakes Drakkeller DIPA
- Drakes Bourbon BA
- Drakonic Imperial Stout
- Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout
- Stone Stochasticity Project Grapefruit Slam IPA
- Alesmith Vietnamese Speedway Stout
- AleSmith IPA
- Pliny the Elder
- Marin Brewing Brass Knuckle
- Mikkeller Lobos
- Modern Times Blazing World
- Lagunitas SF Fusion 20
- Cellarmaker Mo' Citra
- Bear Republic Churchill's Pale
- Almanac Ichibier
- Almanac Farmer's Reserve Pluot
- Almanac Valley of the Heart's Delight
- Sierra Nevada Audition Double IPA
- Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA
If you want a beer event that focuses on showcasing beer rather than getting so intoxicated you forget half the beers you try, then RateBeer's Gallery is worth your time, liver, and money. This is the beer event that San Francisco craft beer deserves.
Buy tickets here before they sell out.