These are the best places in San Francisco for craft beer. Hope you're thirsty!

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March 13, 2020

Brewed in San Francisco: Where to Find the Best Craft Beers

If you're a beer aficionado looking for things to do in San Francisco, brewery hopping should top your list. From stalwarts to upstarts, the City by the Bay is known for its proliferation of excellent craft breweries, taprooms, and gastropubs (you could consider this list a roster of equally good places to eat in San Francisco). With countless brick-and-mortars, as well as annual events like SF Beer Week, San Francisco has truly evolved into a beer-lover's paradise.

21st Amendment Brewing (563 Second St.)

Known for their funky cans and creative brews, like Hell or High Watermelon, 21st Amendment is a fun place to visit in person. Located just two blocks from Oracle Park in SoMa, the brewery also serves yummy food (including brunch until 2 p.m. on weekends). Take the 10 Muni bus from downtown and get off at Second and Brannan Streets.

Anchor Brewing Company (495 De Haro St.)

A San Francisco icon, Anchor Brewing is one brewery you absolutely must visit while in the city. Make a reservation to tour the main brewery in Potrero Hill, or stop by Anchor Public Taps (no reservation required) just across the street and sample their iconic Anchor Steam Beer. The 19 Muni bus goes right to the brewery. Get off at Mariposa and De Haro Streets and you're there!

Almanac Beer Co. (2704 24th St.)

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Located in the hopping Mission District, Almanac has a bent for farm-to-table food and drink. In addition to unique beers such as Strawberry & Basil or Lavender & Honey Brett Saison, they also feature a seasonal menu of tasty, locally sourced eats. You can enjoy a barrel-aged brew year-round in their sunny beer garden. It's easily accessible by BART (24th Street stop) or Muni (9, 48 or 33 bus lines).

Barebottle Brewing (1525 Cortland Ave.)

Located in Bernal Heights, Barebottle is like your favorite neighborhood hangout. Games such as ping pong and corn hole fill up the cavernous warehouse space, and food trucks often pull up out front. Join Barebottle for a daily brewery tour if you're curious about how things work, and then order up a Salted Mangolicious New England-style IPA. (Bonus points if you make the slog up to the top of the hill at Bernal Heights park afterward.) The 24 bus is the best option for public transit. 

Barrel Head Brewhouse (1785 Fulton St.)

This NoPa brewpub offers over 40 beers on tap, including their own in-house creations. There's a malty winter Scotch ale, a pine-flavored IPA, and a red ale that has hints of caramel and orange, among many others. Barrel Head is also proud of its signature brewtails, which have clever names like Tiger's Blood and Keller Bee. The 5 Muni bus will get you right there. Hop off at Masonic Street.

Bartlett Hall (242 O'Farrell St.)

This cavernous space just off Union Square has its own microbrewery in house. The brews on tap change weekly, which means you're guaranteed something different every time you visit. Good thing the food is so delicious; you won't feel guilty about returning! Take the 38 Muni bus or BART to Powell Street and you'll be close by.

Black Hammer Brewing (544 Bryant St.)

The taproom is open daily at Black Hammer, which is not far from Oracle Park, making it a perfect pitstop for pre-game beers. This artisan operation is small-scale, so the offerings change all the time. At press time, the Sparkle Pony (a Belgian blonde ale), Bock Party (traditional bock beer), and Daft Funk (a Brett strong ale) were on tap. Why not take the 47 Muni bus to Fourth and Bryant Streets and see what they're pouring today? 

Cellarmaker Brewing Co. (1150 Howard St.)

Known for small-batch, experimental brews, Cellarmaker always has something inventive in the works. Although they usually keep at least a few hoppy beers on tap, you'll find everything from Double Mad Nibs Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout to Babooshka Ya-Ya Baltic Porter scrawled on the slatted chalkboard. Conveniently close to Civic Center, Cellarmaker is accessible via BART (Civic Center station) or the F line streetcar.

Fort Point Beer Company (The Ferry Building, Embarcadero)

Although the brewery itself is housed in a historic building in the Presidio, near the Golden Gate Bridge, the Fort Point taproom is conveniently located in the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero. Try their widely distributed park wheat beer or opt for something a little more unique, like the Manzanita, a smoked altbier brewed with charred manzanita. Almost all roads lead to The Ferry Building, so you'll have no trouble getting there.

Laughing Monk Brewing (1439 Egbert Ave.)

Off the beaten path in the Bayview, Laughing Monk offers up great brews and a packed calendar of events, including Yoga & Beer and weekly Trivia Nights. With a bent toward Belgian brews, Laughing Monk also offers a strong American IPA and a delightful milk stout. Oh, and did we mention they frequently host food trucks on the premises? Take the K/T Muni light rail to Gillman and Paul Avenues to get there.

Magnolia Brewing Co. (1398 Haight St. or 2505 Third St.)

Founded in 1997 at Haight and Masonic, Magnolia is a bastion of the San Francisco craft beer scene. The extensive menu still includes their very first beer, the Blue Bell Bitter. Inspired by British gastropubs, the original location puts a distinctively San Francisco spin on the traditional pub experience. Meanwhile, Smokestack, their newer location in the Dogpatch, is barbecue oriented, with a focus on regional specialties from across the United States. The 7 Muni bus is convenient getting to Haight Street. For Smokestack, take the K/T Muni light rail to 23rd Street.

Southern Pacific Brewing (620 Treat Ave.)

Tucked away off of Folsom Street in the Mission, Southern Pacific is a sprawling brew pub in a converted warehouse that looks like it could have housed some of the locomotives that chugged along the famous railroad of the same name. Their taps change daily, but our favorites are their California Blonde and traditional Hefeweizen. Taking the 14 or 49 Muni bus lines to Mission and 20th Streets is your best bet for public transit.

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers (1195 Evans Ave.)

Recently remodeled, this prohibition-themed joint is hidden away in Hunters Point. Try their famous Big Daddy IPA or, if you're feeling bold, the Double Daddy Imperial IPA. Speakeasy is a bit of trek from most public transit options, but it's worth a visit. Taking a ride service such as Lyft is your best bet.

Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company (1735 Noriega St.)

If you find yourself in the Outer Sunset for a day at Golden Gate Park, the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens, or Ocean Beach, do yourself a favor and stop by Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company. Grab a Foggy Lager, a nod to classic San Francisco weather, and kick back with plate of Blistered Shishito Peppers or other pub fare in this cozy brewery. You can take the Muni light rail N line to 25th Avenue to get there.

ThirstyBear Organic Brewery (661 Howard St.)

In San Francisco's busy SoMa, you can find the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), The Moscone Center, and this excellent brewery. ThirstyBear serves up purely organic brews, which range in flavor and style from fruity sours to dark porters, as well as delicious Spanish-inspired cuisine. It's also a massive space, perfect for bringing a big group or arranging a private party. Take BART to the New Montgomery Street station and you're just a few short blocks away.

Woods Island Club (422 Clipper Cove Way)

This might be the most isolated place in San Francisco to find great beer, but we promise it's worth the journey. Located on Treasure Island, Woods Island Club is a beachy paradise in the middle of San Francisco Bay. Their pilsners, IPAs, and herbal ales all pair well with a cool breeze and the towering views of San Francisco's skyline and the Bay Bridge. Using a ride share like Lyft is your best bet for getting here in a timely fashion.

Looking for more great places for a drink in San Francisco? Check out our bar and restaurant partners.


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