The lack of traditional seasons in San Francisco was more than compensated for at the Fall Harvest-themed SF Craft Beer Festival, Saturday, October 18, 2014. While the outside weather was a balmy 70 degrees, inside the Fort Mason Center, the festival’s beer selection showcased a variety of Fall beer flavors.
From rich pumpkin beers to refreshing wheat beers, the festival highlighted an assortment of autumnal flavors. Apples, maple, spices, even pomegranates were all featured in the festive beer roster.
With 75 breweries and more than 150 beers, ciders and meads available, the festival organizers set out to offer education and context into the variety of beer served.
“We’re very interested in the educational component and we like to attract people who want to learn about beer,” said Robert Howell, marketing and media relations at Hand Crafted Tasting Co. The company produces incarnations of their Craft beer Festival throughout the country, the SF Craft Beer Festival being their latest event.
“It’s almost like an old-fashioned wine tasting,” said Howell. “We have a very small tasting glass and people go around and take notes. They’re using their Untapped app to track what they’re tasting and tweeting about it.”
Ciders — another staple of the Fall season with its apple foundation — were in a huge abundance at the festival as well.
“Ciders are an up-and-comer,” said Howell. “The thing about ciders is that they’re light. Some of the craft beers out there have a high ABV and are a little heavier. So ciders are a nice little treat to put out on the floor.”
One of the standout ciders offered was Troy Ciders from Sonoma County. Darek Trowbridge, Troy Ciders’ cider maker, creates their cider from wild apples harvested in abandoned orchards throughout Sonoma County.
“Cider is a chameleon,” said Mark McTavish, president of Half Pint Ciders and owner of Troy Ciders. “It has really the best of both worlds… It can be filtered, it can be unfiltered. It can be sparkling, it can be still. It can be rich and complex… It’s great because it can be a blended beverage.”
With a range of breweries in attendance it was fitting for Hand Crafted Tasting Co. to hold their Harvest-themed beer festival in a city known for its rich and diverse beer heritage.
“San Francisco is also the forefather of craft beer,” said Howell. “… San Francisco pretty much pioneered the microbrewery trend many years ago alongside Portland, Oregon. So for us to come out here and to have a successful festival in San Francisco is a real treat.”