On Day 4 in San Francisco I wanted to explore Chinatown. Little did I know it was not going to entertain me for very long. It didn’t help that it was quite cold in the Downtown area because there was no sun coming through to warm me up. I finally hit noon just as I made it to Rogue just in time to warm up with some beer and lunch. Though Rogue is an Oregon based brewery originally, I don’t have an Oregon trip planned anytime soon and the other choices were a bit out of the way. I was glad I stopped in because I had previously thought of Rogue as not so good based on the beers that made their way down to San Diego. Now I am going to keep an eye out for some more beers.
Just the night before some of the people I was hanging out with suggested I check out Rogue. Once I realized how close it was to Chinatown compared to the other breweries in the area I decided it was worth a shot. I ended up spending two hours here chatting with people and enjoying the food and beer.
I started off with a few tasters of beers I normally might not expect to like. Yellow Snow was not particularly interesting, nor was the dry hopped red ale. I didn’t get many notes down for either. The Red IPA was quite nice with a caramel flavor from the malts and a decent amount of hop flavors to balance it out. The Chocolate Stout was the exact opposite of the bitter brew I had at Southern Pacific the day before. It had a lovely sweet chocolate flavor that I quite enjoyed. Rather than ordering a pint of that though, I went for the Black Lager.
Rogue had an interesting selection of beers from their farm series, beers that were all brewed from materials they grew on their own farm. The black lager was one of these beers. It was quite tasty and would have been hard to distinguish from a lightly smoked porter. I took my time drinking this beer while I enjoyed the cheese bread and then a bowl of chili. I’m excited to see more of what Rogue makes another time and possibly in a store down in San Diego.
I hope you enjoyed my four part series on San Francisco breweries. I hope to continue the series as I take other trips.
After leaving Rosamunde Sausage Grill I went straight to Southern Pacific Brewing. I wasn’t sure I was in the right place at first because I walked right past the brewery, not noticing the sign until I turned around confused. I ordered a flight of all seven of the mainstay beers and ended up with a small taste of two others before I was through. Needless to say, I didn’t have much more that evening.
Thankfully there were some heaters around the place because I had been a bit cold most of the day until then. The beer wasn’t helping me warm up either. When I ordered the flight, I was quite impressed by some of the lighter options. If I wasn’t tasting some of the stronger stuff I might have ordered a pint of the lager.
The lager had a lot of what you might expect in the flavor with a little bit of a buttery flavor. It is rare for me to see lager beers brewed by locals but this one was so fresh it was quite delicious. The hefeweizen was also quite good, even though it wasn’t as impressive as the lager. It had some nice citrus flavors to finish it off. The blonde was closer to an extra pale than anything else. From the scent I was almost convinced it might have been some pale ale instead. It had a nice green tea finish.
The porter happened to be tapped fresh in the middle and just in time to taste before I tried the IPA. It was a nice bitter porter that might not impress porter fans who prefer something a bit more sweet. The IPA was nice and balanced with some pine flavors up front. The extra IPA was a bit higher on the malts, with a bit of a caramel after taste. The amber was a bit stronger than the usual for its style and had a nice flavor at a little over 6%. The American Strong had a nice mellow caramel apple flavor to it, though a bit on the sweet side. I got to try a small taste of the Winter Warmer that was a bourbon barrel aged version of the strong. The bourbon barrel really helped the flavor and gave it a nice finish.
Overall I was quite impressed by the beers and wish I could have gone there on a day by itself. The IPAs didn’t taste like I expect in San Diego but they were quite nice.
On day 3 I enjoyed the morning at the local Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park. It was pretty cold but I enjoyed the sights. Just in time for lunch I headed down to Rosamunde Sausage Grill on Mission hoping to find the right sausage to go with my beer and maybe some local beers. The German vibe of the place got to me so I did not end up having anything local. One taste of the Belgium IPA from Germany, the Houblon Chouffe (9%) and I couldn’t pass up a chance to enjoy a full pour of it.
I tried a few of the local double IPAs but none of them were really doing the same for me as this Belgium IPA. I’ve had a few San Diego examples of this style of beer but I couldn’t resist trying one from the source. Surprisingly I hear that Germany has a lot more amazing beers than we typically see in the US. This was a rare opportunity to see what I was missing.
Many find the Belgium style of beer to be too sweet and don’t like the spice. This beer is the perfect answer to that with plenty of delicious citrus flavors from the hops. I enjoyed a beer sausage and a chicken habanero sausage with my beer.
My second day in the area I spent exploring San Francisco with my fiance. We first went out on the bridge to bridge tour of the bay, where we got to see the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges up close and drive near Alcatraz. Later in the evening I went out exploring and wanted to stop by Thirsty Bear Brewing but sadly they were not open. This led me to the bar across the street from our hotel where I was happy to find they had $3 pints for happy hour. This was my chance to try the Prohibition Ale from Speakeasy Ales & Lagers.
The hop flavors really make this one of my favorite ales. They add just the right amount of hops to balance out the typical malt flavors you get in an ale. I only had one here because we were off to Oakland to eat dinner with relatives and more beer to enjoy with that.
We stopped by a restaurant where we had pizza and appetizers with beer. I was glad to see a solid selection of beers on tap to choose from. My fiance went straight for the Stone Russian Imperial Stout which they served in a pint. Needless to say he only had one. I went straight for the Drake’s Brewing 1500 Pale. It had a nice light taste with some nice hop flavor. At 5.5% it was what some breweries might call an extra pale.
After that I was ready for something substantial and tried Heretic Brewing’s Evil Cousin Imperial IPA. The beer had plenty of citrus and pine flavors, nicely balanced by the right amount of malts. I was satisfied for the day with my hop fix. In Part 3 I will explore Rosamunde Sausage Grill and the beer I had on tap there. Part 4 will explore Southern Pacific Brewing. Part 5 will round it out with a visit to Rogue.
I stopped by Green Flash to taste the new Columbus Double IPA along with the Palate Wrecker. I was fortunate enough to try the Palate Wrecker last year when it was first introduced and I have to say I never got so into it then that I felt it was worth buying to take home. Green Flash has been stellar ever since they started pushing the hop envelope. The Green Bullet is one of my all-time favorite beers and the Symposium IPA really does everything I want in a good IPA.
I started with the Double Columbus because it is 8.5% compared to the 9.5% of the Palate Wrecker. I really liked the smooth balance of the Columbus. It had a nice pine flavor and some sweet hop flavors that really felt balanced and satisfying. This is a very light colored IPA and it comes through in the taste for sure. It has so much flavor that I am glad it is a bit lighter on the alcohol because I can have a few and not go crazy.
I had a taster of the cask Palate Wrecker and the draft. The Cask was quite smooth and really had a nice cedar and pine flavor. The bitterness was really mellowed out by the cask and it was quite nice. Compared to the other beers, the Palate Wrecker regular was hard to taste all the flavors. In a way I prefer Green Bullet and Double Columbus simply because the flavors of the hops are more easy to taste. I did enjoy the Palate Wrecker enough to come home with a 4 pack. In the bottle, the beer is a bit more mellow and quite pleasant.
If you got to try these beers, what did you think? Is the Palate Wrecker too much?