Written by Michael Bauer for insidescoopsf.sfgate.com
Beer is quickly becoming as popular as wine in San Francisco â€“not surprising, given the cityâ€™s distinguished brewing tradition.Â Earlier this year, Travel and Leisure readers ranked SF as the ninth in Americaâ€™s Best Beer Cities.
And beerâ€™s popularity is on the increase at at some of the cityâ€™s best restaurants. There have always been places like Toronado that features about 50Â brews, andÂ the Monkâ€™s Kettle that has 25Â on draft and even more bottles. But you know thereâ€™s something brewing when mainstream hotels like the PalomarÂ (above Old Navy,Â on Market and Fourth streets), creates a â€œLocal Brew for Two Packageâ€ to lure people to the city.
The special room package starts at $229. Guests receive a mini-fridge filled with Anchor Steam beer, and warm pretzels from the Fifth Floor restaurant in the hotel, sent to the room on request. The press release also mentions the restaurantâ€™s $25 burger, bourbon and beer promotion, where diners in the bar get a thick burger and fries, a shot of bourbon and a pint of artisan beer that change seasonally.
Other restaurants have also beefed up their beer offerings. Here are a few that stand out:
Boxing Room : This Louisiana-inspired restaurantÂ matches its boldly flavored food with 18 draft beers, plus 13 bottles. Theyâ€™re well selected, ranging from Jockamo IPA ($6) to Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout ($7)Â and Chimay White ($9/16 ounces).
Locavore: All the wines and beer come from a 100-mile radius of the restaurant and they are equally represented â€” 23 of each. Offerings include Blue Frog Hefeweizen ($9/22 ounces); Rubicon IPA ($9/22 ounces); and Santa Cruz Ale Works Dark Night Stout ($9/22 ounces). The five beers on tap include Linden Street Urban Peoples Common Lager from Oakland ($4.75) and Triple Voodoo Brewing Co. Tripel ($6) from San Francisco.
Hawker Fare: When I reviewed this Oakland restaurant a few months ago, owner Jame Syhabout, who also has Commis, only offered seven beers and no wine at all. Now he serves six beers including Racer 5 IPA, Lagunitas Dogtown Pale Ale and Singha Lager from ThailandÂ (all $4.50), along with five wines.
Leopoldâ€™s: When you see the boot-shaped steins coming from the bar at this Alpine-inspired restaurant, you know that drinking shares equal billing with the food. Owners Albert and Klaus Rainer are meticulous about how itâ€™s presented â€“ they have more than a dozen glasses for serving the eight beers on tap and the 17 different bottles. Most beers are from Germany or Austria, with classic labels such as Augustiner ($8), Munichâ€™s oldest brewery. Each glass is rinsed in water just before the brew is poured to help promote and maintain the head.