Slideshow: Highlights from San Francisco Beer Week 2013

Pacific Brewing Laboratory dinner at Mission Bowling Club
Pacific Brewing Laboratory dinner at Mission Bowling Club
MBC teamed up with Pacific Brew Lab for an intimate, thoughtful beer-paired dinner. This first course was one of the best pairings we tried all week: seared scallops with pistachio romesco, charred avocado, blood orange, and chervil served with Pac Brew Lab's rosé wine-inspired Nautilus Hibiscus Saison, which the brewers called a "picnic beer". The romesco brought out the rich fruitiness of the beer brilliantly.
Pac Brew Lab Squid Ink IPA with Hanger Steak and Fried Oysters
Pac Brew Lab Squid Ink IPA with Hanger Steak and Fried Oysters
The Pacific Brew Lab brewers described Squid Ink IPA as a love child between an IPA and a porter. The smoky coffee flavor and clean, Cascade-hop finish was excellent with these plump, briny fried oysters. As an added bonus, we were also treated to a glass of barrel-aged Squid Ink at the end of the meal. After 8 months in Cabernet barrels, the beer took on a hint of vanilla and a distinct fruity character.
Ryan Farr Breaking Down a Pig at Butchers and Beers
Ryan Farr Breaking Down a Pig at Butchers and Beers
Almanac Beer Co, along with six other breweries (Speakeasy, Anchor, Hangar 24, High Water, and Drakes), set up shop in St. Gregory's church, along with 4505 Meats for the epic Butchers and Beers event. We'll never say no to a 4505 Meats hamburger, and Hangar 24's Double IPA was a nice accompaniment. But the beer highlights of the evening were Almanac's new sour brews, the Farmer's Reserve No. 1 and 2. The first, brewed with cabernet and muscat grapes from Alfieri Farms, Concord grapes from Hamada Farms, and plums from Twin Girls Farm, has a delicate, fruity sourness, while the No. 2, brewed with pumpkin, persimmon, and ginger, has a more rounded depth, and a more pungent sour flavor.
Salted Caramel + Beer at Cervecería de MateVeza
Salted Caramel + Beer at Cervecería de MateVeza
Matt Coelho, co-owner of the Cervecería de MateVeza, deals out accompanying scoops of BiRite Creamery's salted caramel ice cream to compare to a beer they created in its likeness. By caramelizing malt sugar on the bottom of their brew kettle and adding lactose for an ice-cream-like sweetness and texture, the brewery successfully created a beer with a lot of the famous ice cream's character.
Magnolia Oyster & Beer Extravaganza
Magnolia Oyster & Beer Extravaganza
Magnolia Pub and Brewery on Haight Street celebrated Mardi Gras with an oyster extravaganza, including seven oyster stouts on tap. We especially enjoyed 21st Amendment's Marooned on Hog Island, which was rich and creamy with a wonderful calcium-powder texture thanks to Hog Island Sweetwater oyster shells. The Black Sea Common from Thirsty Bear and Pacific Brew Labs also knocked our socks off: it expertly balanced salty seawater with a caramelized-sugar richness. This beer was brewed with hundreds of pounds of Drakes Bay Oysters, French sea salt, New Zealand hops, and a bit of sourdough starter from Josey Baker’s The Mill.
Do Fried Oysters Go with Oyster Beer?
Do Fried Oysters Go with Oyster Beer?
Oh yes, they do. We particularly liked Magnolia's crisp oyster po boy with the bigger-bodied Imperial Smoked Oyster Stout from Lagunitas, which was savory and boozy enough to handle the richness of the remoulade-laced sandwich.
Nojo and AleSmith at City Beer Store
Nojo and AleSmith at City Beer Store
At a City Beer Store event, AleSmith's rich and toasty Nut Brown Ale paired nicely with an unctuous beef tendon salad. Even better was AleSmith's IPA with a herring tartare on crunchy nori chips. The herring had a meaty, swordfish-like texture, and a deep fishy funk; AleSmith's IPA had just the citrusy bitterness to cut through the rich and intense dish.
Tapping White Riot
Tapping White Riot
Automatic Brewing's Lee Chase sets up for their showcase at the Monk's Kettle. Here, he is rigging up a vessel for infusing White Riot, their witbier, with Four Barrel coffee beans. The event featured four beers from the tiny San Diego-based brewery.
Cheese & Beer at 18 Reasons
Cheese & Beer at 18 Reasons
Cheese writer Kirstin Jackson and Master Cicerone Nicole Erny held an event featuring farmhouse cheeses and beers at the Mission's 18 Reasons. The two covered the similarities and differences in production and history between the products, illustrating each with well-curated pairings. Brasserie Dupont's intense saison Avec les Bons Voeux was tamed by a sheep's milk ricotta from Bellwether Farms and a cheese called Berkswell was beautifully matched with St. Bernardus' witbier, emphasizing the salinity of the cheese and making flavors pop.