8 Breweries & Taprooms in 6 Hours: How I did a Self-Guided San Francisco Brewery Tour
8 San Francisco breweries and taprooms in 6 hours – achievement unlocked! Since moving to the Bay Area almost 3 years ago, I’ve always wanted to plan my own beer tour of San Francisco. I have only resided in Berkeley during my time here so have mostly covered the East Bay’s inviting breweries. However, I was aware that many of San Francisco’s breweries are close together so I figured I’d cover many of them in one go someday.
That day finally came last month when my cousin and her boyfriend decided to drive up from South Bay for the weekend to stay at mine and Roger’s apartment. They rarely get to venture to the big city so I thought this was the perfect chance for the 4 of us to explore the San Francisco beer scene.
Note that a few companies around the Bay offer paid brewery tours that range from $99-$200/person (public and private), but they are more structured than the one we undertook.
How I planned our self-guided San Francisco brewery tour:
- I searched the web to find the most highly recommended breweries in San Francisco. Yelp, Thrillest and Eater SF mostly contributed to my list creation.
- I mapped the tour route on Google Maps, making sure every brewery was close to one another and that our route ended by a BART station to get us back to the East Bay by the end of the night.
Logistics of our self-guided San Francisco brewery tour:
- Start early! We got a late start (around 5pm), which actually made for a pretty fun night, as we made it our goal to hit each spot before they closed.
- Every brewery on our tour were no more than 8 minute drives from each other! Nobody wanted to be a DD (designated driver) so we ended up taking Lyft everywhere, which was very affordable split 4 ways.
Breweries on our San Francisco Brewery Tour:
Triple Voodoo (Dogpatch neighborhood)
This was a great first stop on our tour (and right across the street from a MUNI stop). Triple Voodoo has a wide selection of beers, many seating options, and is dog-friendly. For such a great spot, we were surprised it was less than half full on a Saturday. I would definitely recommend.
Smokestack at Magnolia Brewing (Dogpatch)
Despite its poor Yelp reviews, I definitely wanted to try the Smokestack given its popular array of beers. Sadly, Yelp was right and this was our least favorite of the breweries due to its poor (and even rude) service and overpriced food. They offer a small cup of almost cold and unseasoned mac n’ cheese for $7. I will say that their ribs are incredibly tasty though.
Magnolia’s main location in Haight-Ashbury is still on my list of places to try.
Laughing Monk (Bayview-Hunters Point)
A small space with lots of character. It’s hard not to smile after a glance at Laughing Monk’s logo, which is literally a laughing monk. A beautiful Autumn tree covers the brewery’s main wall, providing the perfect atmosphere to kick back with friends. They offer unique beers with even more unique names, such as “Devil’s Hoard” and my favorite: “STEVE?!”.
Ferment Drink Repeat (FDR) (Excelsior, Portola)
Unanimously voted as our favorite brewery on the tour. Why: the best tasting beers on the tour, the friendly service, selection of boardgames, and clean, modern atmosphere. Their lights look like hops!
Barebottle Brewery (Bernal Heights)
The largest brewery on our tour, offering corn hole, additional games, and a food truck (which sadly closed by the time we got there at 8:30pm). Honestly, things were getting a bit hazy at this point for all of us, but from what I can remember this place was solid (and very busy). There were many cute pups running around.
Another wonderful brewery tour stop due to its friendly service and tasty beers. I only wish we had more time here, as it closed soon after we started drinking. Being in the Mission district, I’d highly recommend grabbing a burrito from El Farolito and heading over to Almanac after (we actually did the reverse).
Thanks for stopping by! Do you have any San Francisco brewery recommendations?