Seeing San Franicsco’s Breweries On a Chariot
One night I had a dream I was riding around on a magical chariot, and drinking nothing but delicious beer out of a bottomless chalice. We glided in between several drinking houses and at every place, there were dozens of the freshest, locally brewed beers, and finger foods, and bearded people who knew all about hops and malted barley.
The next morning I was having my coffee, nursing a hangover, and going through my pockets when I realized that my chariot ride wasn’t a dream at all, I had simply taken the ‘SF Brew Ride’, which is a guided tour of breweries on a rickshaw. Led by pedicab driver, owner, and brew expert Scott Lange. We got to go to several breweries in the SOMA and in-between we rode on an open air pedicab through the streets of San Francisco, so yeah, it was super fun.
The San Francisco brewing scene has grown leaps and bounds over the last few years, and now people are drinking Lagunitas in London and Anchor Steam in Japan. But this tour isn’t about giant brewers with international distribution, it’s about visiting local breweries that make their beer in-house. Beer that is brewed freshly on the premises and then goes straight to the tap and into your glass.
This isn’t some Budweiser, ‘Born on Date’ bullshit, the idea of ‘fresh’ beer isn’t a gimmick when it’s done right. The beer poured at Thirsty Bear goes straight from the vat to their taps, essentially like the centuries-old breweries do it in Munich. The beer doesn’t bother to get kegged or bottled, it goes directly into your mouth, and it’s delicious that way. When you take the SF Brew ride with Scott, you’ll get to see how the whole system works, and you get to pick and choose between all sorts of different fresh brews to drink.
If you’re a purist, you’ll drink your beer from ‘the cask’ as they say, which is beer hand-pumped into your glass without using CO2 or Nitrous, it’s like how they did it in olden times. I, myself, (am not a barbarian) so I like my beer poured using gas, like a gentlemen. For example, I drank a Tolstoy’s Inkwell Imperial Stout (which is a great stout by the way) from the nitrous tap, and Scott drank his from the cask, and we both agreed our versions were better. We also tried some beers with names like ‘Colonial’ and ‘Centennial’ made from old-fashioned American recipes made during the 1700’s, they were a lot of fun, and so was Thirsty Bear’s staff. The place is always trying new things.
You get a lot of beer on this tour by the way, (like over a six-pack’s worth per person) from 3 different breweries, and you can sip and sample or drink every drop if you like. What’s really fun, is in between stops you jump on a ricksaw and get whisked around on the streets of SF, which after a few beers feels fantastic.
The tour takes you to Black Hammer Brewery Thirsty Bear, and Fort Point Beer Company at the Ferry Building as well. All these SF based brewers have a great selection of beers, Black Hammer is definitely not afraid to experiment, they constantly have new beers and inventive brews on their menu, and Fort Point keeps its classic Kolsch (KSA) and Villager IPA on the ready, while also introducing new recipes, and you get to drink em’ on their little patio at the Ferry Building.
We like SF Pedicab so much we made a deal with Scott to be an advertiser in exchange for us writing about their awesome service. SF Pedicab is locally owned and their drivers all go through a rigorous background check and have to pass a driving test to become a pedicab driver. Which means they’re much better trained and more accountable than your average Uber driver.
So if you want to have a lot of fun trying new SF beers, check out the SF Brew Ride, Scott will take 2-3 of you around personally. And if you want to go in a big group that’s totally cool too, they’ve got plenty of pedicabs to take dozens of people at once. But make sure to request the Broke-Ass Stuart Pedicab, and use the promo code ‘brokeass’ for $10 off your tour!