We sped North up the 5 Freeway at an average speed of 85mph. Whooshing by Andersons Split Pea Soup, The Harris Ranch, and that god-awful cattle farm situated just close enough to the freeway for a good whiff (you know the one), the car’s engine purred and the trunk clinked with the LA Beer we’d been hauling. We jettisoned past the windmills on 580 and winked at cops as we passed. They understood. We had a goal to reach, you see. That goal was San Francisco Beer Week.
This year’s SFBW was massive, with over 700 events listed on the books. It’s impossible to get to everything, leaving many with a serious case of FOMO regardless of whatever amazing beer you happen to be sipping at the time. Arriving mid-week, Girls Who Like Beer (my business partner and travel companion for this trip) and I had already missed some of the big events, like the Opening Gala on Pier 35. Instead, we tried our best to be strategic with our two-day stint in the city. We focused on hitting smaller events and local breweries.
Arriving into the Bay Area, our first stop was at Faction Brewing in Alameda. I love visiting this brewery; both for the ambiance (it’s located in an old Marine helicopter hangar and the view of the city across the water can’t be beat) the people, and of course the beer. As head-beertender Corey Hennegan told us, “The thing I like about Faction is that it’s all about balance. There’s a lot of thought put into hop profiles and flavor profiles, we make big aggressive beers but a lot of times they don’t drink like it, they’re very smooth and balanced. Very approachable to people.”