To borrow (and twist) a line from Chinese philosophy: A bender of epic proportions begins with a single sip. That bender is SF Beer Week, a festival in its fourth year that transforms the Bay Area into a beer-soaked playground with hundreds of events spanning 10 days. Kick off the drinking and tasting tonight at the Opening Celebration (6 p.m. at the Concourse Exhibition Center). The occasion features unlimited samples of new, rare, and classic brews from more than 60 Northern California breweries. Organizers showcase established brewers such as Lagunitas and Speakeasy, while also highlighting newer outfits such as Elevation 66 and Strike Brewing. The party is rounded out by live music and food from local purveyors. For those of you who already know your beer preferences, Beer Week has targeted events for multiple palates. Sour Sunday exhibits dozens of puckering, tart beers made with wild yeasts and bacteria (Feb. 12 at Triple Rock and Jupiter in Berkeley). For those who don’t require personal space, the Toronado Barleywine Festival (Feb. 18 at Toronado — it’s standing room only) brings scores of dark, rich, high-alcohol concoctions to the Lower Haight. Gazing at your commemorative tasting glass will make your liver quiver in fear for years to come.
Fri., Feb. 10, 6-10 p.m., 2012