With more than 30 members in its brewers guild, all brewing within the 46 square miles of the city’s borders, the City by the Bay stands out as a beer lover’s mecca. At the top of the list is Anchor Brewing, which was founded in the late 1800s and rescued from near certain closure in 1965 by beer guru Fritz Maytag. Since 1979 they’ve been making their signature “steam” beer and more than a dozen others in the sunny Portrero Hill neighborhood. Maytag inspired a new generation of brew masters who have spread out across the city (a great reason for you to explore San Francisco’s patchwork of distinct neighborhoods too).
Head to Haight-Ashbury for cask-conditioned brews at local favorite Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery; in the hip and diverse Mission District, sample innovative brews using yerba mate, a South American herbal tea, at Woods Beer Co. Order a MateVeza IPA or a Morpho, a tart, botanical beer made with yerba mate, hibiscus and bay leaf. In South Beach, 21st Amendment Brewery (known for its Brew Free or Die IPA) gets especially lively after Giants baseball games at nearby AT&T Park. Two of the city’s edgier up-and-coming neighborhoods have notable breweries: 16 beers on a rotating tap at Triple Voodoo Brewery in Dogpatch, and Speakeasy Ales & Lager, tucked between the scruffy-hip neighborhoods of Bayview and Hunter’s Point.
If you’re venturing across the Bay Bridge to East Bay, you’ll land in another hotbed of craft brewing, with standouts including Drakes in San Leandro, Faction Brewing in Alameda, and Original Pattern Beer in Oakland, as well as Fieldwork Brewing, the under-the-moon beer garden at Jupiter, and the raucous scene at Triple Rock, all in Berkeley. Continuing east, you can taste your way along the emerging Concord Beer Trail, dotted with taprooms and breweries just a short BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) ride away. Or, along the coast, south of San Francisco, head to Half Moon Bay and stop in at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company (which also has the Pacific Standard Tap Room in Berkeley) for local handcrafted beers.