Get ready for a healthy dose of ecstasy. Though San Francisco is getting more and more robust in the craft beer scene, finding a quality bottle shop with substantial variety can often be a difficult task. Your search will prove fruitful should you venture to one of my new favorite places, Healthy Spirits. Already, I can tell this will be the primary depository for my paycheck.
Healthy Spirits has had another location in San Fran in the Castro neighborhood, but they recently opened another location in the Inner Richmond area. To say that I am thrilled would be a colossal understatement. This fine establishment is a heavenly adult candy store. Stalked with phenomenal craft beers, bourbon, whiskey, and even some munchies like hummus and spice rubs, the customer can satisfy all their consumption needs.
Owned and operated by Rami Barqawi and David Hauslein as the beer manager, these two fellas are a fantastic duo providing SF residents with hard to find national and international brews, special releases, and plenty of seasonals. Whether you are from out of town or a resident, I dub this place the ultimate beer run go-to spot. Bottleshop-wise, no other joint comes close in SF.
I love themes so I was delighted instantly with the nautical nature that Pac Brew Lab has taken with their beer. Their Squid Ink (India Black Ale) and Nautilus Hibiscus Saison are both delicious and palatable. Bryan Hermannson and Patrick Horn are the owners and do a fine job at making their beer a fun novelty but substantiating their product with quality. I interviewed Bryan in 2012 and he is a super easy-going and friendly guy who enjoys good beer which brought him to brewing.
Having welcomed me to come by their garage in the Mission neighborhood of SF where they do some brewing experimenting, I was able to sample the Squid Ink and Nautilus. Since then, if I see these two beers on tap in the Bay Area, I am likely to imbibe in them. They brew in small batches and I have never been disappointed at the freshness and excellence of their beer. Yelpers seem to agree as they have a perfect 5 star rating on the website. As part of the SF Brewer’s Guild, Pac Brew Lab is a craft gem in the city.
One of my favorite places to relax in San Francisco is Dolores Park in the Mission. On a sunny day, the view of the city in the distance and the activity makes this spot an urban oasis. All the better? Right on the corner of 18th & Church is Cerveceria de Mateveza. Owners Jim Woods and Matt Coelho run this small brewery that also serves Argentinean empanadas. Bonus! A unique offering is their Yerba Mate IPA. Yes, you read that correctly. Caffeinated beer sparked my interest, too. If that alone is not distinctive enough, for SF Beer Week, they brewed a Cervecería & Bi-Rite Salted Caramel Ale and are now doing a Girl Scout Cookie beer. As a former Girl Scout myself, as well as a lover of beer and cookies, I’m delighted at the mere thought of such collaboration. With the ideal location to boot, Cerveceria gives the craft lover many reasons to stop by.
Follow Kim Schimke’s beer adventures on Instagram and Twitter @KimsBayBrews