San Francisco Beer Guide

As someone who has worked in and out of breweries and bars for a few years (bless the writer life), I can confidently say I know the intricacies of a great beer.

While many believe that the beer scene is a man’s world, the truth is that it’s welcoming more and more female brewers every year, as well as lady beer drinkers who really know their stuff. I’m not going to lie – I love sometimes surprising dudes when I accurately discern the best beer on the list, rattle off my thoughts about the latest release from Firestone Walker, or review the teeny new brewery in Portland.

Anyways, breweries make wonderful places to go as a solo traveler thanks to the generally laid-back spirit of the beer world, the burgeoning craft market, and of course the “liquid courage” you can get from “liquid bread.” Whether you’re just starting to understand what you like and don’t like when it comes to brews, or a well-seasoned suds-drinker, this guide will help you narrow things down when it comes to brewery hopping around SF.

1. ThirstyBear

Located downtown in the financial district, ThirstyBear is known for its all-organic brews, spacious interior, and rockin’ happy hour. The first thing you’ll notice walking in the door is the massive full bar and the sight of the fermenters looming behind it – everything is brewed on site and they don’t bottle, so what you see is what you get. Stand-out beers were the cask ESB and delicious pilsner, but they also have guest taps, liquor, and a Spanish tapas menu. This place is ideal for post-work drinks and seems to draw professionals, but general manager Tim Mullins said they also get a late-night crowd and travelers. “We’re seeing more and more women embrace beer,” he said.

More Info

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    Wi-Fi

    Yep, there's WiFi!

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    Payment

    Takes cash or credit

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    Location & Hours

    661 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94105

    Monday: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm
    Tuesday: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm
    Wednesday: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm
    Thursday: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm
    Friday: 11:30 am – 11:00 pm
    Saturday: 12:00 – 11:00 pm
    Sunday: 5:00 – 10:00 pm

2. Social Kitchen & Brewery

With an awesome location in the Inner Sunset neighborhood right by Golden Gate Park, Social Kitchen definitely holds down a hotspot in San Francisco’s brewery scene. Immediately the vibe here feels comfortable and trendy – it’s large enough that you could likely find a spot to hang, but small enough that you could scope out everyone without having to walk around. When I went they had several Belgian beers on tap as well as a few guest taps (you can do pitchers), but they also have cocktails and “beertails” which center around their onsite brews. Brewmaster Kin Sturdavant said they like to carry a little of everything for everyone, and Social has a big female clientele. I really dug the artsy ambiance and would definitely recommend this place to lady travelers.

More Info

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    Wi-Fi

    Yes

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    Payment

    Cash or credit

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    Location & Hours

    1326 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122

    Monday: 4:00 pm – 12:00 am
    Tuesday: 4:00 pm – 12:00 am
    Wednesday: 4:00 pm – 12:00 am
    Thursday: 4:00 pm – 12:00 am
    Friday: 4:00 pm – 1:00 am
    Saturday: 11:30 am – 1:00 am
    Sunday: 11:30 am – 12:00 am

3. Triple Voodoo Brewing

I came here in the afternoon on a Tuesday and it was dead, but the bartender Jenna said it was likely because of the Giants game going on at AT&T Park nearby. With a cool industrial spot in the Dogpatch Neighborhood, Triple Voodoo caters to a diverse crowd, and their beers were mostly Belgian. The Inception was a standout for me, but a couple others were delicious and had really high ABVs. They have a $10 minimum on credit cards and don’t offer any food besides little snacks, but Jenna said it gets really busy with younger crowds on nights and weekends. The bar was large and it would be pretty easy to meet people here or work over the WiFi.

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    Wi-Fi

    Yes!

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    Payment

    Cash or credit

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    Location & Hours

    2245 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107

    Monday: 4:00 – 11:00 pm
    Tuesday: 4:00 – 11:00 pm
    Wednesday: 4:00 – 11:00 pm
    Thursday: 4:00 – 11:00 pm
    Friday: 3:00 pm – 12:00 am
    Saturday: 12:00 pm – 12:00 am
    Sunday: 12:00 – 8:00 pm

4. Cellar Maker Brewing

This place was by far my favorite brewery to visit in SF – everything from the simple taproom to the delicious brews to the friendly staff and patrons made me a fan. With a simple layout centered around a large bar and a few tables, this place is truly about the beer – they had a diverse set of taps and I genuinely liked every one, but the “Dank Statement” triple IPA jumped out as my favorite. Apparently they like to release three to five new beers at a time, so the menu is constantly interesting. The bar service was super friendly and created an intimate vibe among customers, so it was easy to make friends with the folks sitting right next to me, and I left wishing I could bring some bottles back to Portland!

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    Wi-Fi

    No

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    Payment

    Cash or credit

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    Location & Hours

    1150 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103

    Monday: Closed
    Tuesday: 3:00 – 11:00 pm
    Wednesday: 3:00 – 11:00 pm
    Thursday: 3:00 – 11:00 pm
    Friday: 12:00 – 11:00 pm
    Saturday: 12:00 – 11:00 pm
    Sunday: 1:00 – 8:00 pm

5. Local Brewing Co.

If you decide to call your beer Local, it better live up to its name and reputation for being good – and Local Brewing does just that. This place is brand-new and female owned and operated (a huge draw of course), and its beer is named for many San Franciscan streets and staples. The interior is spacious, industrial, and modern, and any solo traveler could easily plop down at the bar and get to know the beer and co-patrons. With several brewery-friendly snacks and a laid-back atmosphere, Local would definitely be a solid spot to go by yourself anytime of the week.
(photo via Chris Cohen-SF Weekly)

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    Wi-Fi

    Yes

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    Payment

    Cash or credit

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    Location & Hours

    69 Bluxome St, San Francisco, CA 94107

    Monday: 2:00 – 9:00 pm
    Tuesday: 2:00 – 10:00 pm
    Wednesday: 2:00 – 10:00 pm
    Thursday: 2:00 – 10:00 pm
    Friday: 2:00 – 10:00 pm
    Saturday: 2:00 – 10:00 pm
    Sunday: 2:00 – 9:00 pm

About the author:

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Kelsey Rains is a writer, editor, world traveler, and entrepreneur mostly based out of Portland, Oregon. Kelsey’s first ventures into writing and traveling started in college when she studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for five months. The experience left her speechless (for once) and she vowed to continue journeying through her 20’s. Kelsey has worked all sorts of jobs, but her main passion is writing and creating. She hopes to encourage others to fearlessly follow their passions and live fully in each moment. Check out her writing here: www.kelseycreating.com

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