The road to opening a brewery can be riddled with potential setbacks. Breweries-in-planning are at the mercy of time when it comes to meeting local regulations, obtaining permits and construction.
When the owners of Black Sands – a Haight neighborhood brewery-in-planning – discovered their 701 Haight St. building would need structural retrofitting, the logical conclusion was to open a popup brewing supply store.
“We started thinking about what we could do to keep the momentum,” said Cole Emde, one of the four owners of Black Sands. “Our concept from the beginning was to incorporate a homebrew store into our brewery, because we all came from homebrewing backgrounds.”
Black Sands’ homebrew supply store sells brewing equipment, ingredients and their self-branded starter kits. Embracing the spirit of do-it-yourself brewing, Blacks Sands incorporates an open source style of brewing knowledge. All the beers they plan to feature in their brewery are open to the public (downloadable on their website) and Black Sands will help homebrewers assemble the ingredients to make the beer they choose.
“The more people know about beer, the more they are going to want to know, and in turn the more they are going to want to drink,” said Emde. “We’re currently working on a project to get other San Francisco breweries to donate recipes.”
For those wanting to get into all-grain brewing, Black Sands offers regular classes for that – the next of which is Saturday, March 28. Signing up will gain you access to the class that runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., including a beer tasting and the ability to observe the brewing method.
“It’s one thing to see it on the Internet or in books, but sometimes it’s easier to see it in person and walk away with having seen it firsthand,” said Emde.
Coffee and other craft beers
The completed Black Sands brewery plans to open later in 2015 and will feature a small cafe and coffee shop, offering coffee by San Francisco roaster, De La Paz. Hours will range from as early as 6 a.m. to late night, so visitors will be able to grab a coffee on their way to work and a beer on their way home.
“Everything is open space, the kitchen is open, the brewhouse is open,” said Emde. “When you come in to get your coffee in the morning, you’ll be able to see me there in the background brewing.”
Emde says Black Sands’ beers won’t be their only tap offerings, either. The brewery is currently looking at having eight taps, half of which will feature other local breweries’ offerings, as well as a more geographically expansive bottle list.
Beers produced by Black Sands will be tapped on a rotating basis. Regular offerings will include their S.M.A.S.H. beers (Single Malt and Single Hop), a style that allows the individual characteristic of particular malts and hops to shine through. Overall, the brewery will focus on ales and American-style beers.