San Francisco’s Beer Week takes place over 10 days all over San Francisco and its neighboring regions. The main event, however, takes place on a February night on the waterfront.
What started as a loose, somewhat haphazard coalition of events in 2009 has grown into an evening that, on Feb. 7 in Pier 35, will bring together more than 120 breweries from all over Northern California.
For those who haven’t been to Beer Week’s opening exhibition before, the number of people and the number of beers involved are impressive to behold; hearing that 123 breweries have crammed in next to each other with little tables holding kegs of beer is different than experiencing an endless line of bodies lined up as far as the eye can see with teeny little sampler glasses.
Many of the beers are a delight. Most famously, people come from all over the world for Russian River’s Pliny the Younger, a triple IPA the brewery makes just once a year, the first week of February, which just happens to coincide with beer week. It’s a boozy treat that spawns lines that wend and twist nearly out the door. For other brewers, Beer Week is a chance to make their mark not just with civilian suds enthusiasts, but with the larger beer community. This year’s festivities will feature 24 first-time participants in Beer Week. Some of them, like Pacifica Brewing Co.’s Cameron Collier, have just recently hung out their own shingle.
Collier previously worked at Fort Point Beer Co. as the production operations director. A friend of his introduced him to the owners, husband and wife Sylvain Montassier and Helen Nasser, working on getting Pacifica Brewing Co. off the ground. Collier starting consulting on how to make an ideal brewing space, and eventually decided to leave Fort Point entirely and become the head brewmaster at Pacifica.
The brewery, which opened in October 2019 in the parking lot across from the Sea Bowl, has a focus on traditional German-style beers, seasonal rotations, and beers that pair well with chef Montassier’s food.
“All the beers are named after local flora and fauna,” Collier tells SF Weekly. “The first beer we made was a tropical IPA. It turned out great, people really enjoyed it. It’ll be one of our flagship beers: Yarrow. Yarrow is a wildflower that grows all over the coast.”
For Collier, the transition has been noticeable — going from a large Fort Point team to pretty much being the team — but so far manageable and worth it.
“One of the thing I really want to show people [during Beer Week] is that Pacifica is a beautiful place and it’s only 20 minutes from San Francisco,” Collier says. “It’s a great pit stop for anyone going up and down the coast.”
Pacifica Brewery, 4627 CA-1, Pacifica CA, (650) 735-5311, pacificabrewery.beer