SAN FRANCISCO — If you’re in the Mission District and thirsty for Belgian and German style beer made the old school way, you’re in the right neighborhood.
Joining him is Brewmaster and Nevada Craft Brewers Association Director Josh Watterson, who makes the pilgrimage from Reno to oversee the new location once a month. Serving as Beer Director is local beer guru and certified cicerone Sayre Piotrkowski, whose resume spans everywhere from working alongside Chef Russell Moore at Oakland’s Camino, to serving the Court of Master Sommeliers.
“The beers we make aren’t what other breweries are making, but we wanted everyone to feel like they’re welcome here,” said Farley. “After all, beer is the most democratic of beverages.”
Last year, while visiting San Francisco from Reno and checking out Monk’s Kettle on 16th Street, Farley learned of the closing of the Abbot’s Cellar on Valencia Street. This sparked the inspiration to bring the Great American Beer Festival gold medal winning beer he helped create in Reno to the Bay Area.
24 foot tall ceilings and giant sky lights welcome you into the warmly furnished brewpub. No hop chugging, nacho cheese bro-fest here. The location is designed to bring in everyone from foodies to die hard craft beer heads to stumble upon something new.
“With Saint James, it’s beer-friendly food and food-friendly beer,” said Piotrkowski. “What I like about it is that it provides a sort of environment where there will the [kind of thought]: ‘Oh, this is my third alt beer, tell me more about this.’”
Unlike its Reno sibling, the Mission District location allows the brewery to be more ambitious as far as cuisine, further celebrating the more classical “Brasserie” experience. Cue Chef Don Duncan, whose Louisianan lineage provides inspiration for New Orleans-style dishes that are exclusive to this location, alongside some favorites carried over from Reno.
Since opening in February of this year, the location has been running on a seven barrel system. The system is best suited to brew three to four beers on site, yielding roughly 200 to 500 barrels each year.
Expect medal winning year-round brews, like the Daily Wages (a farmhouse saison at 6.7 percent alcohol), the Third Man (Belgian style tripel at 8.4 percent alcohol), among others transported from Reno. The Valencia location does offer exclusive brews that can only be found there and could potentially entice fans of the Reno location to venture to the Bay.
“We pride ourselves on the intricacies of beer,” said Watterson. “Our goal is to elevate beer and give it as much respect as possible.”