The 1849 Gold Rush, 1906 earthquake, and 1967 Summer of Love, along with renovated Victorian houses and seductive skyscraper architecture, provide only an inkling of this Bay Area’s boomtown frontier history. A veritable bohemian delight first visited with wife, Karen, June ’01, its splendid Golden Gate Park can only be topped by Stinson Beach, a tropical paradise serving as a hippie haven body surfers relish. Windy Fisherman’s Wharf on north pier had recommended JACK’S AT THE CANNERY, which featured 110 different tap beers, including several Gordon Biersch, Golden Gate, and Humboldt brews.

At Haight-Ashbury section, bought excellent Lagunitas Bug Town and Imperial stouts, several excellent Stone brews, and superb Arrogant Bastard Ale.

Besides traveling to Napa Valley to sample various wine vineyards, spent Sausalito summer night at bayside Mexican joint Margaritaville to quaff Mad River John Barleycorn Barleywines.

The next evening brought dinner at San Rafael’s now-defunct WILLOW WOOD-FIRED PIZZA & BREWERY to try brewpubs’ wonderful Bad Ass Ale and several porter-stout samples. To the South along America’s most beautiful oceanside road, Route 1A, I found the dismal Carmel Wheat in Monterey and cracked open a resilient Steelhead Extra Stout and equally solid Steelhead Pale Ale somewhere near Big Sur.

I promise to discover San Francisco’s brewpub scene soon. In the meantime, enjoy 21ST AMENDMENT BREWERY, which has a great reputation.

Check Beer Index for reviews on bottled selection.


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