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Best Beer in San Francisco

Updated on July 26, 2012
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San Francisco is known to be a food lovers paradise. There is an enormous amount of variety and some of the best chefs in the world work here. For all things fresh, innovative, and unique, San Francisco has it all, and beer is no exception.

San Francisco is a mecca for beer enthusiasts. There are many bars and specialty shops providing beer from all over the world. Experiencing the craft beer culture in San Francisco will make anyone realize that there is a movement to make high quality beer as diverse and enjoyable as wine. Most liquor stores in the city provide local craft beer. This hub discusses some of the more exceptional bottle shops, breweries, and restaurants with a focus on progressive and distinctive beer.

City Beer Store

City Beer Store is quite unique in that it is a bottle shop, but you can also stay and enjoy a beer. They usually have 6 beers on tap, but if you choose you can enjoy any bottle they have on the shelf. The place is small, so it definitely has an intimate atmosphere, though there is news of expansion. The owners Craig & Beth are amazing too and love to chat and educate about beer. There is a large variety of beers and you are certain to always find something you haven't tried. And you will definitely find some limited beers, but they do go quick. Signing up for their email list is the best way to stay informed about new arrivals and special events such as Sipping Sessions with Brewers and food pairings. Their prices are also good and I find a much more unique selection compared to most beer shops or specialty grocers.

21st Amendment

21st Amendment is a brewery and restaurant located in the South Park neighborhood of San Francisco. This is an amazing place to enjoy some beer and a great meal. All their brews stand up to the best of them with the popular Brew Free or Die IPA, Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer, and Monk's Blood Belgian Dark Ale. Keep an eye out for special brews that rotate regularly. During February, 21st Amendment participates in Strong Beer Month with Magnolia Pub and Brewery, another great San Francisco brewery. Both breweries create beer with high ABV that taste amazing and provide a quick buzz. When in San Francisco, 21st Amendment is a must.

Toronado

Toronado is a great pub in lower Haight that serves great beer and is anything but pretentious. The bar is often crowded, but there is a back room where you can find a seat. There are probably at least 50 beers constantly rotating through. They do host events such as the Barleywine festival and there are always amazing beers on tap. While you're here, stop by next door to Rosamunde Sausage Grill. You can bring your food into Toronado to enjoy with a beer. And keep an eye out for the Tamale Lady in the bar for great tamales. Great place to go for a wild night.

The Monk's Kettle

The Monk's Kettle has a huge beer menu and amazing, well crafted food using fresh, local ingredients. The atmosphere is slightly more intimate and might be a good place for a date, though it can get crowded. A unique element of Monk's Kettle is that they cellar beer so you may find your favorite beer from a few years back, deliciously aged.

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La Trappe

La Trappe Cafe Belgian Bistro & Trappist Lounge in the North Beach neighborhood is another place with great food and a downstairs lounge with an incredible selection of Belgian beers. The environment downstairs feels relaxed with couches to sit and talk or stools at the bar. The staff has a lot of knowledge about beer, and for anyone needing help deciding, they do a great job helping choose a beer for you.

Church Key

Church Key is a dimly lit bar in North Beach with a few seats near the bar and an expansive upstairs lounge. Tap and bottle selections are impressive, though not as vast as other specialty beer purveyors. The atmosphere is inviting and the bar tender certainly knows beer. Parking is tough, but the trip is well worth it.

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Rogue Ales Public House

Rogue Ales Public House is a great North Beach bar with a massive selection of Rogues award winning beers. The atmosphere is a bit more lively with well lit rooms and plenty of tables to sit at with company. I highly recommend their Dead Guy Ale or any of the collaborations with Chef Morimoto. There are also guest brews on tap regularly.

Healthy Spirits

Healthy Spirits is not a bar and you cannot drink at the shop, but their beer selection is unmatched. They have specialty beer from all over the world and I always get the more limited and special release beers here. The staff is very knowledgeable and conversant and can make a great recommendation on what bottle to take home. They have a beer of the month club where members can try some of the hardest to find beers. Also check out their Bourbon selection and give their hummus a try.

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Anchor Brewing Company

Anchor Brewing is a part of San Francisco history and a definite must visit when in San Francisco. Anchor Brewing uses traditional techniques and brews their beer right in the city. They offer tours providing history and a glimpse into their beer making process. The tour rounds out with a tasting of each of their beers. It is a great way to learn about beer and San Francisco. Their beers can be found almost everywhere throughout the city and I highly recommend trying their Steam beer while here.

What is your favorite type of beer?

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Locations of the above Beer Purveryors

A
City Beer Store:
1168 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

get directions

B
21st Amendment:
563 2nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA

get directions

C
Healthy Spirits:
2299 15th St, San Francisco, CA 94114, USA

get directions

D
Rogue Ales Public House:
673 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA

get directions

E
The Monk's Kettle:
3141 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

get directions

F
La Trappe :
800 Greenwich St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA

get directions

G
Church Key:
1402 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA

get directions

H
Anchor Brewing:
1705 Mariposa St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA

get directions

I
Toronado:
547 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA

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    • tastiger04 profile image

      tastiger04 

      5 years ago

      Interesting hub, being a beer/pub lover myself I will definitely check these out next time I go through San Fran. I found it interesting there is a place called "Church Key", when I was traveling overseas that is the term they used for a bottle opener keychain :) voted up!

    • Matt Stark profile imageAUTHOR

      Matt Stark 

      7 years ago from Albany, CA

      Hi Maddie. Yes 21A is amazing. I love the beer and food and totally agree it is a must before a Giants game.

    • Maddie Ruud profile image

      Maddie Ruud 

      7 years ago from Oakland, CA

      I love 21st Amendment! The beer is great, the people are friendly, and the food is good too! My partner and I know the executive chef, so we always stop by for a pre-game drink and snack on our way to see the Giants play.

    • Matt Stark profile imageAUTHOR

      Matt Stark 

      7 years ago from Albany, CA

      Thanks all. You can definitely spend a whole day exploring beer, but there are also great places to stop in when visiting. Enjoy!

    • customhypnosis profile image

      customhypnosis 

      7 years ago

      Great hub. I will use it for reference the next time I am in San Francisco.

    • profile image

      jordanclark 

      7 years ago

      !i kindaa lik san fransco

    • Valerie60 profile image

      Valerie60 

      7 years ago from Richmond, VA

      This is interesting since I grew up in San Francisco but never visited any of those brewing places. Maybe next time I visit, I'll check it out!

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