Ollie Lagomarsino stirs hops during the boil at Anchor Brewing.

Ollie Lagomarsino stirs hops during the boil at Anchor Brewing. (Courtesy Anchor Brewing)

San Francisco's Top Craft Beer Destinations

By Zachary Clark on 04/19/17, updated 04/20/17
Favorite

San Francisco has attracted a diversity of brewers since 1847—two years before the gold rush—when its first commercial brewery opened. The “steam beer” style long associated with San Francisco became popular during this time, and was produced by numerous local breweries. In the 1960s, Anchor Steam Brewing Company reinvented the steam beer style (also known as the California Common), sparking the country’s modern craft beer movement.

Today, the city is home to an ever-growing number of craft breweries, bottle shops and beer halls, offering just about any style of beer you can think of, and many you’ve likely never heard of before. The San Francisco Brewers Guild, which was formed in 2004, represents 32 local breweries today, and organizes a series of annual events, including Meet the Brewers, Brews on the Bay and SF Beer Week, which features an expanding lineup of more than 100 Northern California breweries each year. 

Anchor Brewing Company

Tours take visitors through Anchor's brewing operatiors and include a tasting. (©Anchor Brewing Company)

Activities, Attractions

Anchor Brewing Company

The city’s best-known brewery, Anchor’s Potrero Hill facility offers daily tours, which include a brief history of the signature beer and brewing process. The brewery is also home to Anchor Distilling Company, which offers one-hour tasting experiences led by beverage expert guides.

ThirstyBear Brewing Co.

(©Eric Wolfinger)

Attractions, Entertainment, Nightlife

ThirstyBear Brewing Co.

The city’s oldest brewery-restaurant and its first and only CCOF certified organic brewery, ThirstyBear specializes in pilsners, IPAs, stouts, Belgian-inspired ales, cask conditioned ales, session beers and barrel-aged brews made in a self-described “German-influenced West Coast style of brewing.”

Barrel Head Brewhouse

(Courtesy Barrel Head Brewhouse)

Nightlife

Barrel Head Brewhouse

This modern brewpub offers eight house-brewed drafts and 30 rotating micro-brews, which pour from a giant, World War II-era torpedo tap. The menu also features cocktails—some containing beer—and a build-your-own-Manhattan menu complete with 400 possible combinations.

21st Amendment Brewery

(Courtesy 21st Amendment Brewery)

Nightlife

21st Amendment Brewery

Known for its selection of housemade beers with creative flavors, including the popular watermelon wheat beer, 21st Amendment also offers quality pub fare and brunch on weekends. The brewery is always packed with Giants fans on game days.

Old Bus Tavern

(©Henrik Kam)

Restaurants

Old Bus Tavern

Offering a selection of American and Belgian-style beers brewed in-house, this intimate spot in the Bernal Heights neighborhood also features creative bar food and seasonal cocktails.

Beach Chalet Brewery

(Courtesy Beach Chalet)

Nightlife

Beach Chalet Brewery

Try the Chalet Brewery’s flagship blonde V.F.W. Golden Ale, one of nine handcrafted ales served at the historic restaurant or attached beer garden.

Black Sands Brewery

(Courtesy Black Sands Brewery)

Nightlife

Black Sands Brewery

Watch the entire beer-making process, taste the finished product fresh out of the fermenters and even see the recipes at this brewery designed and constructed by homebrewers.

Monk's Kettle

(©Kelly Puleio)

Nightlife

Monk's Kettle

The Mission District gastropub specializes in local and Belgian brews and offers 28 drafts, one cask engine and around 150 bottles in a wide range of styles.

Brewcade
Nightlife

Brewcade

This popular arcade bar in the Castro's rotating lineup of craft beers from the Bay Area and beyond includes about 10 drafts and many more bottled beers from Almanac, Anchor, Modern Times and other breweries.

Cellarmaker Brewing Co.

(©Aubrie Pick)

Nightlife

Cellarmaker Brewing Co.

Known for producing small batches of experimental beers, Cellarmaker always has something new on tap. The tasting room's rotating beer list features a variety of hop-driven beers, dark and roasty options, Belgian-inspired beers and more. On brewing days, you can watch the action through windows on one end of the tasting room.

Map of San Francisco's Top Craft Beer Destinations

The Where® Travel Guide to San Francisco