SF Beer Week got underway Friday with an opening gala that brought out, by our estimation, just about every bro in town, as well as a number of committed beer aficionados. The bro-tastical affair went on into the evening, with tastings of craft brews from all over California and a few other places, many of which aren't widely available on the retail market. But the biggest line and buzz of the evening (literal and figurative) came from a first pour of award-winning Russian River Brewing's new Pliny the Younger, which was only available for the first ten minutes or so of the VIP hour. Russian River kept the buzz going, however, releasing small batches of the 11% alcohol stuff at Lucky 13, Rosamunde, and Toronado over the weekend, all of which got drunk within minutes thanks to the power of Twitter.
They'll be serving up more of this precious brew tonight at Pi Bar (1432 Valencia, they actually started at 3:14 p.m. and could be tapped out already), and then at Mini Bar (837 Divisadero) on Wednesday the 16th from 5 to 8 p.m. or until supplies run dry.
Scroll down to see our slideshow from Friday. Other upcoming highlights to note:
Every Night This Week
15 Romolo is featuring the beer cocktail concoctions from local startenders which will be facing off against each other in the Booze and Brew Brawl on Sunday the 20th. The drinks will feature products from Firestone Walker Brewery and St. George Spirits.
The Alembic is doing a 3-course menu paired with Magnolia beers all week long, and they've also got five special beer cocktails on the cocktail menu created by bar manager Daniel Hyatt.
Tuesday, February 15
There are a number of beer dinners you can read about here, some of which are quite pricey, but our money's on the Sudwerk beer and Chicks & Love pizza pairing happening at Blackbird. Admission is free, and for $15 you get four beers and two pieces of pizza.
Wednesday, February 16
The aforementioned Pliny the Younger release event will draw crowds to Minibar, but we'd like to draw your attention to a Seasonal Beer Tasting event at 18 Reasons, co-hosted by Monk's Kettle, at which you can taste ten beers in consecutive order to when they're brewed to understand the affects of seasons on brewing. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased here.
Thursday, February 17
The Alembic is hosting a "gypsy beers" event, featuring brews by brewers who don't yet have permanent homes, like Almanac, and Southern Pacific Brewery, opening soon in the Mission. Admission is free, and you pay for what you drink.
Friday, February 18
21st Amendment is doing a library tasting of their aged beers from 7 to 10 p.m., but you may want to stop off first down the street at Public House, where they'll be doing an event with Fifty Fifty and High Water Brewing, and the first 30 people to purchase a beer starting at 4 p.m. will get in on a free ballpark tour at 5:45 p.m., beer in hand.
(Also, Pliny the Younger will make another appearance on draft at the Toronado at 6 p.m.)
Saturday, February 19
If you want to get real drunk real fast, or if you're interested in a certain end of the beer spectrum that's a lot more boozy, check out the Barleywine Festival, which kicks off today at Toronado and goes through Sunday. No charge for admission, and 50 barleywines will be available on tap.
Sunday, February 20
The aforementioned Booze and Brew Brawl at 15 Romolo kicks off at 9 p.m.
Below, please see a brief slideshow of last Friday's gala.
Earlier: Russian River Brewing Co. Scores High on International Beer List [Grub Street]