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The Complete Beer Nerd's Guide to SF Beer Week

Theodore Gioia | February 7, 2014 | Story Clubs and Bars

It's easy to be overwhelmed by the over 600 events at this year's SF Beer Week. We only have time for, oh, 598 of them. But perhaps more help is needed. For those with even more limited beer-drinking time, we tapped (hah!) an expert to highlight the week's five best events.

Your Guide: Sayre Piotrkowski, Certified Cicerone, Beer Director at Hog's Apothecary, and "one of the country's top beer sommeliers".

Saturday Feb. 8th: It's Alive! Sipping Session with White Labs, Featuring Analytical Specialist Kara Taylor at City Beer Store 1168 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA
Sayre Says: "This is a beer-geek's fantasy. City Beer Store is the elite bottle shop and tasting room in the city. It is the one place in San Francisco I would send someone to start tasting the best beers in the world. White Labs is one of the two major yeast resources for the craft beer industry. Yeast and fermentation is the most misunderstood aspect of beer production. Any serious beer aficionado or home-brewer would gain a great deal by attending this event."

Sunday Feb. 9th: The Seed To The Kernel Part 3, Brewmaster's Dinner with Arne Johnson of Marin Brewing and Tim Sciascia of Cellarmaker Brewing at St. Vincent 1270 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA
Sayre Says: "Tim and his partner at Cellarmaker Connor Casey both worked under Arne at Marin Brewing where Arne has been the brewmaster for over 15 years. Working with Chef Niles and the rest of Dave Lynch's amazing crew at St. Vincent is always an honor. The intimate relationship between these two breweries makes them perfect for the Seed to the Kernel concept."

Wednesday Feb. 12th: “Pliny The Younger” for La Cocina at Monk’s Kettle 3141 16th St., San Francisco, CA
Sayre Says: "Pliny The Younger is the most sought-after beer on the West Coast and likely the most coveted IPA style beer anywhere in the world. Frankly the fervor around it has started to get that cultish, obscene feel for me. This is not to say that the beer does not merit the hype. My issue is, why do we collectively decide to get all Bieber-feverish over one extraordinary beer when we live in a part of the country that is home to hundreds? That is partly why I find it is so refreshingly human that my former my bosses at the Kettle have decided to follow the lead of Monk's Cafe in Philly and donate their proceeds from "The Younger" to a very worthwhile charity. At 11AM on Feb. 12th the Kettle will tap their keg and all of the proceeds will benefit La Cocina. So, if you are one of the thousands of people gearing up to fight the crowds and get your taste of Pliny The Younger this year please consider doing so at Monk's. Here's hoping that next year more Bay Area beer bars follow this example."

Saturday Feb. 15th: “Drake's Beer and CA Cheese" with Fromagier Kirstin Jackson, Drake's Barrel House, San Leandro, CA
Sayre Says: "Kirstin Jackson is the woman behind the book It's Not You It's Brie and the Bay's leading authority on artisan domestic cheeses. She is leading a tasting and talk about pairing beer with cheese at Drake's Barrel House on Saturday. This is a great deal at $15."

Sunday Feb. 16th: Brewmaster's Luncheon and Eclipse Imperial Stout Tasting with Todd Ashman of FiftyFifty Brewing at The Hog's Apothecary, 375 40th St., Oakland, CA
Sayre Says: "There is a great deal of high-ABV beer going into and coming out of bourbon barrels these days. The man responsible for this trend is Todd Ashman. The FiftyFifty Eclipse project demonstrates a mastery over all that comes with aging beer in spirit barrels that remains the industry standard. Hearing Todd discuss the process is genuinely fascinating. The event includes lunch, pints of FiftyFifty beers never before poured in the Bay Area, and a four beer Eclipse flights served along with Ocho Chocolates."

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