by joanne... May 20, 2017

Returning to the heart of the City, June’s Drink SF Beer shuttle features SoMa breweries with a hop over to Union Square, where Bartlett Brewing Co. (a.k.a. Bartlet Hall at 242 O’Farrell St.) will be hosting the San Francisco Brewers Guild‘s Meet the Brewers night starting at 6pm. At 6:30pm, the #DrinkSFBeer shuttle begins, looping between Bartlett, ThirstyBear Organic Brewery, Black Hammer Brewing, 21st Amendment Brewery and Local Brewing Co.

In case you haven’t heard, Bartlett Brewing, housed inside Bartlett Hall, has been flexing some serious craft beer muscles lately.

Just last month this brewpub-that-could won Best of Show for Barrel Aged Imperial Dark Bullitt featuring Four Barrel Coffee, Madagascar vanilla bean and aged for four months in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels, plus three gold medals for Mash Town Road Barleywine, The Wurm Dortmund Export Lager and Bullitt again, and a silver medal for Double Hope Town Double IPA.

Most impressive is the style range of these winners: an imperial porter, a double IPA, a barleywine and a Dortmunder export lager. Here are just some of the brews being featured on June 21, starting with a porter double-feature:

Dark Bullitt Porter – Coffee Chocolate Porter (8.1% ABV)
Let’s be clear, if naming a beer after Steve McQueen, you best be pouring something bold. Bullitt delivers. Brewed with Four Barrel Coffee, vanilla beans, lactose (ie milk sugar) and British chocolate malt, you’ll find vanilla, coffee, chocolate, caramel, toffee and light roast on the nose, and caramel, nuts, bread crumbs, chocolate, light coffee and roastiness on the palate. Chocolate coffee mocha milkshake indeed.

Chocolate Waterfall Porter – Chocolate Porter (9.1% ABV)
Brewed with chocolate malt, cocoa powder, TCHO Ghana cocoa nibs, lactose and vanilla, this other “chocolate milk shake-style” ale was a hit at this year’s SF Beer Week Opening Gala and Beer Camp events, with its huge aromas and flavors of chocolate cream, vanilla, toffee, light mocha and dark caramel. Smooth as silk, richly chocolatey yet not at all cloying, this beer’s unexpected light, quaffable character make it surprisingly drinkable.

Again, it’s not just dark, bold or sweet ales turning heads. Hop-heads, take note of these beauties, also on for Wednesday’s event:

Powell to the People Pale Ale – American Pale Ale with Simcoe, Motueka and Pacifica (5.9% ABV)

Angry Smile IPA – Hazy IPA with Citra, Mosaic and Centennial (6.1% ABV)

Solo Yo Citra IPA – Hazy Single Hop Citra IPA (6.8% ABV)

JaJa Juice Double IPA – Hazy Double IPA with Citra, El Dorado, Simcoe and Mosaic (8.3% ABV)

Reading about Batlett’s accolades may come as a surprise, but not if you know Head Brewer Wynn Whisenhunt, who has a a serious craft beer pedigree — after all one of the East Bay’s earliest breweries, E.J. Phair Brewing Co., is a family business. We talked to Wynn recently to ask him some essential questions about his craft beer origins:

Q: Describe your craft beer “aha” moment. Where were you and what was the beer that did it?

For me there was no exact “aha” moment, there were many “aha”moments. My first craft beer experience was when I tried my first Lagunitas IPA that I stole from my Mom’s fridge, and I thought it was pretty gross. After that things started to get better, when I was young I hung out with a lot of older friends that drank these craft beers, and after being around them for so long and trying all these different beers, I finally noticed that I was getting acquainted with the more complex flavors of craft beer. My Mom worked at a brewery in the East Bay (E.J. Phair) and I was busing tables for the place [as a teenager], and after getting to know everyone… I have to say that was an “aha” moment — I realized how awesome people in the craft beer industry were and that it must be a pretty great industry to be a part of.

Q: Which beer did you first brew? 

The first ever brew day that I was a part of was with my good friend Chad at the old headquarters of the Brewing Network in Concord. We brewed a more technical, less popular style of beer, a Dortmund Export Style Lager. This must have been in 2009 or so — it was awesome! I was only 16 at the time so he didn’t let me pitch the yeast or anything (they all knew my Mom so they were trying to be “responsible”) but I fell in love with the brewing process instantly because it was a technical, thought-out process with the opportunity to be completely as abstract as you want, or as refined and traditional as you want.

Q: What’s been your go-to beer for watching the Warriors while they’ve been tearing up the NBA playoffs?

Barleywines.

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The #DrinkSFBeer shuttle is FREE, and will be stopping between each SoMa stop every 15 min. Just hop on, hop off at any stop (no need to reserve a seat). Riders can download the Chariot app on iTunes or Google Play, register, then track the shuttle in real time, too.