SAN FRANCISCO — Behind two garage doors, past the brand new bar and seats and down a freshly painted hallway you will find a giant bicycle, built by hand, dirt grained in its tire tread, resembling a cross between something Lance Armstrong and Queen Elizabeth II would drive.
Next to that, you’ll find a chemical engineer beer head with the heart of a sand-drenched Burning Man raver, moving kegs about while on the phone with a construction company in one ear, while probably dreaming of brewing malt-happy English ales. Welcome to Black Hammer Brewery.
A Burning Man-inspired brewery
In 2013, brother in laws Jim Furman and Kevin Jackey were attending a family reunion. Furman came armed with a suitcase of beer he had brewed himself, earning him some 25 awards won in 2012. Jackey instantly fell in love with the old world inspired, sessionable malty brews. “It wasn’t just birds of a feather,” said Jackey. “It was a sour, a porter, an IPA, it was amazing and an eye-opening thing for me.”
The duo decided then and there to come together — using Jim’s background in chemical engineering and passion of brewing alongside Jackey’s Wall Street-driven business experience — to open up their own brewery.
Lying in the heart of San Francisco’s SoMa district, the name “Hammer,” was given to Furman during one of his eight consecutive Burning Man trips. Combine that with the infamous festival’s location in the Black Rock Desert and you have Black Hammer brewing.
It is no accident that Black Hammer is set to open the same week as Burning Man. Take a look around the brewery; a positive vibe lingers in the air. The coasters you rest your beer on are crafted from recycled wood from the hundred year old printing building. Furman walks around in flip flops, toes painted a bright blue, sporting a tired yet satisfied smile. “I wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t for my Burning Man experiences,” said Furman. “It’s all about building.”
Partnering with Pacific Brew Lab to offer an eclectic beer selection
While looking for more physical, social and financial help, Furman and Jackey decided to partner up with Pacific Brew Lab brewmaster, Bryan Hermannsson, to do a joint brewing operation. When thirsty beer heads venture to the new brewery, they will have access to both Black Hammer and Pacific Brew Lab beers on site.
Running on a seven barrel system consisting of Kentucky bourbon barrels and twelve fermenters, their early line up sports beers like the Jaded Raver, welcoming you to the brewery with hints of toasted caramel and fresh golding hops. This sessionable, 5 percent alcohol English ale delivers a malty flavor followed by Black Hammers signature smooth finish. Instead of relying on a heavy hoppy flavor, the brewery is going for a malty, slightly bitter flavor. “It’s like putting too much salt in your food,” said Furman, in reference to over-hoppy beers.
The brewery will temporarily fill other breweries growlers for $25. Furman also reassures that multiple food trucks will visit in rotation, however outside food is encouraged. They offer tasting flights, too many outlets to count and free WiFi.
More information on the brewery is available at www.blackhammerbrewing.com.