San Francisco launches beer shuttle, plus Russian River Brewing and Bear Republic to expand
March has traditionally been the end of the brewing season. Without refrigeration, warm weather put an end to beer production. As the season ended, German brewers traditionally made Märzen or märzenbier — März is German for March. And French brewers made bière de mars — ditto in French. This was also the time of year that brewers began releasing their bocks, often with a blessing of the bock ceremony that signaled the start of spring.
Beers such as Salvator, a strong doppelbock first brewed nearly 400 years ago by the Paulaner monks in Bavaria to help them through their Lenten fast, are still released in mid-March. Of course, every March 17, America turns Irish and sales of Guinness and other stouts spike.
All of which makes a perfect segue to the next bit of news: Beer shuttle: To help you get around all of the breweries in San Francisco, the San Francisco Brewers Guild is launching the Drink SF Beer Shuttle on March 16, which will make beer tasting easier and safer. It’s a free hop on, hop off shuttle that will be part of the guild’s monthly Meet the Brewers night. On March 16, the shuttle will run a Haight-Sunset line starting at 7 p.m., with stops that include the Magnolia Brewpub, Barrel Head Brewhouse, Sunset Reservoir Brewing and Social Kitchen & Brewery. April’s Meet the Brewer Night will feature a different route. Find detailed information about the shuttle and its routes at drinksfbeer.com/shuttle .
A new RRB: During the big Pliny the Younger release last month, Russian River Brewing’s crew revealed that they were actively scouting locations for a new destination brewery. They’re looking in Sonoma County — in or around Santa Rosa — to create a space for their many out-of-town visitors and keep the Fourth Street brewpub for locals. And more recently, Healdsburg’s Bear Republic Brewing, which has a production brewery in Cloverdale, announced that the brewery had taken over the Rohnert Park space previously occupied by the Latitude Island Grill, with plans to open a second brewpub in the next year. If all goes well, the new brewery will be able to brew 9,000 barrels a year and will include both a beer garden and a spirits bar to accommodate the brewery’s new project: Bear Republic craft whiskey and rum. Winter fest: One of the best Bay Area beer festivals — the Brewing Network’s Winter Brews Festival — usually takes place during SF Beer Week. But when Super Bowl considerations pushed SF Beer Week into late January, the Brewing Network folks decided to postpone their event. The good news: The newly christened Spring Brews Festival will run from noon to 4 p.m. April 2 at Concord’s Todos Santos Plaza, which is just two blocks from the Concord BART station. Your ticket gets you unlimited samples from more than 50 breweries and live music from Purple Haze, a Jimi Hendrix tribute band. Find details and tickets ($40 in advance, $50 at the door) at bnbrewfest.com.
Contact Jay R. Brooks at BrooksOnBeer@gmail.com. Read more at blogs.mercurynews.com/eat-drink-play.