I have this tradition. Every year, for San Francisco Beer Week, I work a preposterous amount of hours, have very little fun, and then get wildly ill for several days. It's terrible, and I love it. Here's why: beer weeks are great for the industry. But with 500+ official events, is there an element of diminishing returns? Have beer weeks gotten just too big?
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While many beer weeks offer a chance to try beers from around the nation, the recent San Francisco Beer Week allowed the local scene to shine, featuring special super-limited releases and one-offs, time to chat with brewers who are based down the block and just north or south of the city. We got to know other beer lovers while waiting in line for a sip of Pliny the Younger, and got to chat with up-and-coming brewers about their experiments and growth. We tried 7 oyster beers and a brew modeled after BiRite's salted caramel ice cream.
Russian River Brewing Company's Pliny the Younger is released each February in the Santa Rosa brewpub, and kept on tap there for just two weeks. A few precious kegs of the cult-favorite triple IPA make their way to the Bay Area to be tapped during February while the hop flavors are fresh. People like to say that San Franciscans just like waiting in line (see: Bi-Rite ice cream, Tartine Bakery, Flour & Water), so it's not a huge surprise that a line would form when Pliny the Younger is in town.