The annual Brews on the Bay celebration of local beer, held by the San Francisco Brewers Guild, has in 10 years risen to the short list of the most enjoyable only-in-San Francisco parties. Held this year on Saturday, Oct. 19, Brews on the Bay combines some of the best aspects of San Francisco: the most pleasant mid-October weather; postcard-worthy vistas of the bay, the Golden Gate and Bay bridges, Alcatraz and downtown; some of the tastiest beer San Francisco breweries have to offer; and a large and mostly well-behaved throng happily rubbing elbows with the volunteers who keep the WWII Liberty Ship, the S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien, in tip-top seaworthy shape. Music from the city’s own bluegrass band, the rollicking Brothers Comatose, further elevated the event. Good beer, good people, great weather, an outstanding venue, and good-time music again proved an unbeatable combination.
A total of 16 breweries poured scores of beers for some 1,500 partiers and volunteers on the ship. Onboard for the first time were Cellarmaker, which opened its doors a couple of weeks ago on Folsom Street, and newcomers Pine Street and Headlands Brewing. Cellarmaker made a puckerish splash with its Petit Sour with Peach and a very respectable porter.
The Brothers Comatose were also making their maiden “voyage” on the historic vessel docked at Pier 45. “It’s the first time we’ve ever played on a ship,” observed guitarist and vocalist Ben Morrison, just as the ship rocked a bit from the wake of a departing ferry boat. Morrison previously worked at Thirsty Bear Brewing.
Many beers stood out, but Almanac’s new seasonal, Golden Gate Gose, was in a class by itself. Keep an eye out for that one. Also outstanding was Social Kitchen’s New World Lager, made with New Zealand hops.
Special congratulations go out to the San Francisco Brewers Guild and Executive Director Brian Stechschulte and the volunteers, who seem to top themselves every year; the security personnel that maintained order under sometimes trying circumstances; and the volunteers from the S.S. Jeremiah O’Brien, who didn’t seem in the least put out sharing their amazing ship with all of us beer lovers.