I took advantage of the three day weekend afforded by President's Day, and took a small trip to California to catch the tail-end of San Francisco Beer Week 2012. Me and my girlfriend left at 7 AM. We took a detour through Napa Valley and stopped at a few wineries before getting back on the highway and heading towards San Francisco.
My first stop was at Bear Republic Brewing Company to pick up a few bombers of Racer X, their DIPA and a bigger version of Racer 5. Up until now, Racer X has only been available on tap at the brewpub, and Bear Republic hasn't had a new bottled beer in almost a decade. To celebrate SFBW, Bear Republic bottled a special batch that will only be available directly at their brewpub. While there I ordered the duck burger, which was delicious, and a pint of Ryevalry, their rye double IPA, which was equally fantastic. Bottles in hand, we headed for our next destination.
Stop number two was the infamous Russian River. Most famous for Pliny the Younger, which was released two weeks earlier, I missed the madness but the brewery was still packed at 1PM. I sampled a few beers, my favorite was the Damnation Batch 23, a nice, oaky, tart belgian golden strong. I also picked up some merchandise since I probably won't be back until next February.
My final stop for Saturday was at Lagunitas. I was lucky enough to get there right as a tour was starting. They took us through the old tasting room and showed us the mash tuns, fermentation tanks, bright tanks, and their small barrel aging facility. The tour guide also shared some insights and funny stories (which you will have to hear for yourself!). They are in the middle of a multi-million dollar expansion so there were a lot of areas that were closed-off.
After the tour a went back down to the taproom and had a flight of four of their beers. I had the cask conditioned WTF, cask conditioned Imperial Red, Lagunitas SUCKS aka Holiday Leftovers, and their SFBW Fusion 2012. I especially liked the SFBW beer, which is Hop Stoopid with 2x the hops. The cask red was outstanding, as was Sucks, which does not suck but is actually a very good IPA.
After a full days worth of touring the local breweries, we turned in. On Sunday we visited some local landmarks and then headed back home. It was a great trip and I look forward to doing more of these now that I live ~4 hours away from the Bay area.
|Lagunitas barrel aging "facility".|
|One of the places we visited on the way home.|
|My haul after the trip. 6 bombers of Racer X, a bottle of Temptation, and brewery glassware.|