Whether you’re a serious hophead or someone who prefers a well-crafted sour, you’re sure to find your favorite beer style here in the San Francisco Bay Area. But, what kind of beer-tasting backdrop suits your taste? Follow these suggestions to find neighborhood gems, buzz-worthy beer gardens and breweries set in Instagram-friendly surroundings.
Brews With a View
For a true Bay Area experience, include some scenic stops in your tasting tour. Housed in an old helicopter hangar on the former Alameda Naval Air Station, Faction Brewing promises a robust beer selection offered in tasters, pints and to-go growlers. On clear days, expect sweeping San Francisco skyline views from the taproom’s outdoor tables. Over on Treasure Island, Woods Island Club also occupies a former military hangar—and this one has an adjacent stretch of beach looking out at the Bay Bridge. The taproom typically opens on weekends to serve Woods Beer Co. releases and empanadas. Cross to San Francisco’s western edge for the ocean-view Beach Chalet restaurant and its casual counterpart, Park Chalet Coastal Beer Garden. Set between the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Park, these sister properties pour house-brewed ales by the pint or the pitcher.
Plan a sun-drenched sipping session at Oakland’s Temescal Brewing, tucked on Telegraph Avenue near the MacArthur Bart station. Food trucks regularly park along the outdoor patio, a family-friendly spot outfitted with bright murals and big tables. In Berkeley, Fieldwork Brewing Company’s flagship taproom pours a rotating menu of special releases and seasonal favorites. Say cheers at an outdoor table, or choose an interior seat near garage doors that get rolled up on pleasant days. From there, try the roof deck at Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse, or grab a fire pit seat and choose from 32 draft beers at Drake’s Dealership in Uptown Oakland. Open-air options in San Francisco include Southern Pacific Brewing, serving classic beer styles in the Mission, and the Bavarian-style Biergarten, which peddles pints and pretzels in Hayes Valley.
Looking to explore some less-traveled neighborhoods? Start in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights, where the bustling Old Bus Tavern offers bar bites, weekend brunch and, of course, beer. The brewpub’s 14 taps feature guest beers and plenty of house-made selections. Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company dishes up lunch and dinner in a spacious, family-friendly Outer Sunset outpost—plus lagers, pale ales, stouts and more. Husband-and-wife team Luke Janson and Hillary Rose Huffard introduced Roses’ Taproom to Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood in summer 2017. The community-minded destination crafts small-batch beers using seasonal ingredients; the menu also features shareable bites from neighboring restaurants like Duende and Pizzaiolo.