More California Beer Dreamin'

Angelo and Erik enjoy a home brew
Angelo and Erik enjoy a home brew

Picture it, San Francisco 2008.  (Sorry, we’ve been watching too many Golden Girls reruns on Lifetime).

Driving into San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge never ceases to be a magical experience.  The thought of this bridge being constructed in 1937 and taking four years to build is mind blowing.  Even today, the bridge is quite a spectacle with its emboldened International Orange hue and towering pillar supports.

Into the city we went.  The first stop was at our friend Erik’s place in the Presidio, an old military barracks, now situated in a somewhat secluded and modestly forested area of the sleepless metropolis. There we exchanged our homebrews and tasted a few.  I gave Eric bottles of Terminal Gravity, Hair of the Dog, Laughing Buddha, and Ice Harbor beers from home.  It was great to be there.  After a few beers and some more reminiscing, we caught a bus to the famed Haight Street fto kick off a Friday night on the town.

Our first stop was at Magnolia Brewpub.  This place had changed considerably since my last visit.  The Grateful Deadened tiedyed motif was now a zeroscape of solid colored industrialism.  The joint was crowded and there was a line and a wait list.  We decided to head down Haight and try our luck at the Toronado.

Toronado Pub
Toronado Pub

At the Toronado, one of Northern California’s premier craft beer bars, we found a scene similar to that at Magnolia.  We sucked in our guts and pioneered our way to the bar.

Crowded Friday night at Toronado
Crowded Friday night at Toronado

Port Brewing Hop-15: I’ve written a lot about this Alpha King in the past.  Anytime you can find it on tap, go on and bruise your palate.

Moonlight Twist of Fate Bitter Ale: 5.6% ABV deep amber ale with pronounced bitterness.  Crisp, mellow, and refreshing.  “Why haven’t I tried Moonlight beer before?” I asked myself.

Sierra Nevada S8zon Farmhouse Ale: A sweet, dry mildly crisp blond hazy beer (though it was hard to tell in the Toronado with the dim lighting). Nothing special for a saison, but interesting for Sierra Nevada, who hasn’t made a beer with Belgian yeast as far as I know.

Toronado
Toronado
Crod at Zeitgeist
Crowd at Zeitgeist

After a few more pints that included Russian River’s Sanctification and a fresh hop beer from Moonlight,the mobile beer party moved its way down into toward the Mission District South of Market to Zeitgeist.  A popular biker bar, Zeitgeist features an excellent assortment of craft beer taps.  A large outdoor patio makes Zeitgeist roomy enough for a slammin’ San Francisco weekend crowd.  The only drawback here is the often large number of smokers (tobacco and other substances) outside.  This at times can put a damper on the overall experience for non-users. Still, we were on vacation, so we were game to have a gay old time.

Zeitgeist back patio
Zeitgeist back patio

Erik ordered a pitcher of Moonlight Brewing’s Death and Taxes black beer.  The D+T is a schwarzbier/dark lager with a mild 5% ABV and crisp, chewy, bready malted core.  An excedingly refreshing brew perfect for a brisk night by the Bay.

Pitcher of the Moonlight Death and Taxes Black Beer
Pitcher of the Moonlight Death and Taxes Black Beer

While at the Zeitgeist, I was archiving our experience by shooting a few pictures of the place for this here site.  A staffperson informed me that pictures of the establishment were not allowed.  What a bummer.  Well, I got a few anyways.  We left with our fill of beer for the day (that is until we took a cab back to Erik’s place and enjoyed a night cap.  Lagunitas, Moylans, Iron Springs, homebrews, and beers at the Toronada and Zeitgeist.  We were done for this day…


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