By Leila N’Amara
San Francisco is a global player in the beer scene. Thrillist ranks San Francisco amongst the top ten beer cities in America. Even Forbes has documented successful SF brewery Cellarmaker in their Top 15 Craft Breweries. But in a city with dozens of breweries it can be difficult to choose just one. That’s why we think you should try a few different San Francisco breweries to really get a taste of the local beer scene!
To help travelers visiting San Francisco and to help locals re-discover these great destinations, we’ll be exploring the best breweries in San Francisco. These locations are great to visit on your own brewery tour of San Francisco, or you can hop on our private electric tuk tuk tours for your own personalized brew tour from one of our 100% local guides.
ANCHOR STEAM BREWING
Anchor Steam Brewing are the OG;s of the San Francisco beer scene since the Gold Rush Era. Their unique process of open air fermentation process done on their rooftops looked a lot like steam from a train. After the beer was fermented and transferred into wooden kegs a little beer that was still fermenting was added in — which would create a chemical reaction as barrels made their was to pubs on horse drawn carriages. Once the kegs were tapped the sounds and spectacle would resemble a steam train.
A flight of beers at Anchor Steam is much more than a beer tasting, it’s like drinking your way through a bit of San Francisco history. If you’re trying to do your own DIY San Francisco brewery tour, Anchor Steam is a great place to begin since this brewery was the first to lay roots in the city and a popular stop on our private San Francisco brewery tour led on electric tuk tuks.
MAGNOLIA BREWING COMPANY
Neighborhood: Haight-Ashbury and Dogpatch (under renovation until Fall 2018)
Magnolia Brewing Company started off as an underdog. Long before the craft beer scene hit San Francisco, Magnolia founder, David McLean, was brewing beer in a tiny basement in the Haight-Ashbury. Here we are 21 years later and Magnolia’s humble gastropub has grown to include a proper brewery in the Dogpatch (currently under renovation until Fall 2018). A neighborhood, that much like McLean, 20 years ago wasn’t a recognizable part of San Francisco culture, but has quickly become a integral part of city’s evolving cultural landscape.
Their gastropub and original location is in the notorious hippie hangout during the Summer of Love, the Haight-Ashbury, and is the perfect place for anyone visiting this iconic neighborhood to grab a beer and a burger. On a warm sunny day, sipping their Kalifornia Kolsch on the patio is the perfect stop during a DIY brew tour of San Francisco.
Neighborhood: South Park, near AT&T Park
21st Amendment opened in 2000 and remained the “newest” brewery in San Francisco until Cellarmaker opened in an industrial garage in the South of Market Area (SOMA). Without any real competition from newer breweries 21st Amendment became a beloved local brewery as the craft beer scene began to emerge.
Fans going to a ballgame at AT&T Park will be within stumbling distance to 21st Amendment Brewery. Or if you weren’t able to get tickets, 21st Amendment is a great spot to watch the game! If you’re doing a DIY San Francisco brew tour, the location alone is worth visiting this San Francisco brewery — this Embarcadero neighborhood has amazing views of the often overlooked Bay Bridge!
CELLARMAKER BREWING COMPANY
Even though San Francisco currently has an internationally recognized craft beer scene, that wasn’t the case in the early 2000s. For 13 years San Francisco didn’t see a single brewery open. Cellmaker was the first brewery to break that unlucky streak in 2013.
Cellarmaker isn’t one of these breweries that have a specific beer that “you have to try.” In an interview with The Brew Enthusiast, founder and owner, Casey Connor boasts, “we’re not building the brewery on a flagship, but rather the reputation of the brewery itself. It’s a different approach in the beer world, but we’re gonna roll with it.” Considering Dylan’s Tours is also a company that likes to “roll with it”, this brewery makes frequent appearances on our private San Francisco brew tour led on electric tuk tuks.
FORT POINT BEER COMPANY
Neighborhood: The Presidio of San Francisco
Would you believe us if we told you there’s a brewery in the middle of a National Park?
The Presidio of San Francisco is a bit of an oddball when it comes to the National Park Service. The Presidio is actually leased from the NPS and run by a local nonprofit, The Presidio Trust. The Presidio of San Francisco does have to pay rent, and they do so by renovating and then renting commercial and residential properties within the park. This National Park is home to LucasFilm, an indoor trampoline center called House of Air and since 2014 has been home to Fort Point Beer Company.
Fort Point is one of the newer breweries on our list. But, it’s also one of the most beloved by our founder, Dylan! Their KSA is a favorite for many in the local craft beer scene — and often makes appearances on our electric tuk tuk San Francisco brew tour. Nothing quite like cheersing to Fort Point Brewing Company as we make our way to take photos at the actual Fort Point underneath the Golden Gate Bridge 🍻