The frothy fervor is palpable among beer enthusiasts as San Francisco Beer Week's iconic Opening Gala makes a grand return to Pier 35 today, kicking off a 10-day celebration of craft beer artistry. After a four-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the event promises to revive the community spirit with a coveted lineup of over 100 breweries and a roster of events stretching across the Bay Area. Informed by SFist, the festivities will showcase diverse styles, from popular hazy IPAs to experimental sours and one-off brews.
The Opening Gala marks a milestone for beer aficionados and stands as an important event for local craft breweries navigating post-pandemic waters. "The absence of the Beer Week Opening Gala has left a real hole in Northern California’s beer calendar these last four years, so we’re thrilled to be bringing it back this year," said Joanne Marino, executive director of the Bay Area Brewers Guild, in a statement obtained by SFist. Premium tickets, which offer early access and exclusive extras, are priced at $275, highlighting the event's drawing power among the most dedicated beer lovers.
With a return to the large-scale Gala, organizers have not held back on the perks. The premium experience grants attendees early access and opportunities for meet-n-greets with top brewers, according to the event info on Eventbrite. These include big names such as Russian River and Humble Sea, offering a first taste of their exclusive releases. Each guest will also receive a commemorative glass, with VIP attendees enjoying early entry and additional swag.
Amid the buzz of the Opening Gala, SF Beer Week continues to deliver an eclectic blend of events tailored to beer lovers' tastes far and wide. Notable mentions are the Pinballs & Pints night at Alameda's Pacific Pinball Museum and a mixology event at Barebottle Brewing Co., which opts for a beer cocktail twist. For those seeking a more traditional craft beer experience, the West Coast Craft Can Invitational makes a tenth annual appearance, backed by Devil’s Canyon Brewing Co. in San Carlos. It's clear the event is more than a drink-till-you-drop beer fest; it's a heartfelt nod to the craft and camaraderie anchoring the local industry.
This restored celebration of hops and community doesn't just end at beer. The Opening Gala adds a new layer by showcasing wine, cider, and non-alcoholic options. As the sole official launch of SF Beer Week, the Gala vindicates its importance in supporting the Bay Area's brewing community. All proceeds go directly to the Bay Area Brewers Guild, the non-profit entity responsible for the week-long beer bonanza, ensuring that its dedication to promoting independent craft breweries continues throughout the year. For a full run-down of the breweries joining the merriment and the food vendors set to satiate the masses, beer lovers can hop over to the event's page on Eventbrite.