As the birthplace of the craft beer movement, San Francisco has always been a hotspot for artisanal breweries. You'll find larger operations like Anchor Brewing and 21st Amendment at any craft beer bar or beer store in San Francisco, but we also love the creative, small-batch tap rooms dotted around the city. Seek out these craft San Francisco breweries the next time you feel like a cold one in the City by the Bay.
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San Francisco breweries
Laughing Monk Brewing blends California and Belgian traditions in their industrial space in Bayview-Hunter’s Point. In addition to well-loved concoctions like Jeff’s Session IPA with aromas of alfalfa, pine and pineapple and Date with the Devil, a Belgian quad with aromas of molasses, raisins and dates, the tap room hosts almost daily events including Tuesday night trivia, Sunday afternoon Yoga and Beer and regular local bands. Find up to 16 beers on tap at any time or take a growler home to enjoy on your own.
Standard Deviant is the laid-back Mission brewery your afternoon needs, complete with pinball and the game on TV. Celebrating their first anniversary this summer, the airy ten-barrel brewhouse run by master brewer Paul Duatschek offers recognizable favorites like IPA and porter, some of which are infused with a smokey twist. Pull up a seat at their rustic wooden bar for a taste of the ever popular citrus-noted Saison or Peachwood Smoked Kolsch.
This modern industrial warehouse always has 12 beers on tap, snacks for sale, food vendors on hand and local and national sports on two 55” TVs. Behind the bar, classics like the Belgian white, Yonder Wall Wit, are accompanied by seasonal offerings like this summer’s Cantaloop Pale Ale, with refreshing hints of melon and lime, and The Jam, a tart raspberry flavored sour ale. Though Harmonic can get crowded on weekends, friendly staff and good service will keep you coming back for taste after taste.
On the southern edge of San Francisco, Ferment Drink Repeat is building a community of beer lovers and makers. The simple taproom pours in-house brews, like this year’s Hooked ESB (a floral, earthy and hoppy British-style beer), and those, like the Nat King Kolsch (a crisp Pilsner with delicate fruity notes) that are made in collaboration with their home brewing buddies. Interested in getting more involved in the subtleties of beer? Step out from behind the pint glass and help to brew a batch on-site. Already a beer maker? Check out FDR’s homebrew shop, where you’ll find all the malt, yeast and hops you’ll ever need.
Barebottle has a unique approach to beer: host a brewing competition, invite the finalists to brew a batch for the tap room and ask the public to vote for their favorite. The winning homebrews are featured at the brewery along with those crafted by Barebottle’s in-house team. The beers on tap—ranging from endangered heritage brews to pale ales flavored with fruit—rotate regularly, as do the food trucks that pull up outside. Dogs and kids are welcome at the communal tables in their giant Bernal Heights warehouse space and, if you’re interested in trying your hand at brewing, check out their regular home brewing classes.
Cellarmaker loves hops. Loves them. And while they have a well-balanced tap list with something for everyone, you'll always find at least three taps pouring juicy, aromatic hoppy brews like the Old Hop New Tricks or Mo’ Nelson. Take a break from work and head to their bright, brick-walled taproom for a 5 oz. taste, half pint or pint. Bring a clean one-liter growler and they’ll fill it up for less than $20. No growler of your own yet? They’ll sell you a stainless steel one to get you started.
A small batch craft brewer in the heart of SoMa, Black Hammer Brewing serves up tasty suds in a casual, welcoming atmosphere. A brewery with a Burner’s heart, the colorful and cozy space welcomes dogs, kids and outside food from neighboring take-out joints. The happy hour is generous and rotating weekly events ensure the fun never stops.
At this spacious tap room, the seating is plentiful and the beer is always a-flowin’. Specializing in California and Belgian-style brews, imbibers can choose from one of 16 rotating options like Triple Voodoo’s popular IPAs or their flagship Inception Belgian Tripel, a spicy, fruity ale with aromas of pear and clove. Thursday night trivia and televisions for sports watching make this dog-friendly spot as much a favorite neighborhood bar as an award-winning craft brewery.
At Local Brewing Co., you’re never on your own when trying to decide which brews to taste. There's a website for that: the Beer Curator. Don’t underestimate this very useful tool. With 12 beers on tap, it can be tricky to choose between lagers like the Mezcal Red, saisons like SoMa Secrets and Hundo Smash, a dry hopped IPA. Add in Local's occasional guest makers, and there's always lots of options on tap.