S.F.'s Brewpub Explosion: Local Brewing Co.
Regan and Sarah might sound like a pop-punk band with roots in New Wave, but actually they're part of the next wave of San Francisco craft brewers who plan to launch Local Brewing Co. What began as a hobby six years ago is on track to turn into a commercial venture by the end of 2011. And though the goal is to land taps at better beer bars around the city, look for a tap room ― or two ― offering small snacks, more of a brewery tasting room than a brewpub. The duo are eyeing locations on the city's south side, perhaps even Mission Terrace, where they happen to live.
Brian Yaeger Local Brewing Co.'s Regan at the bar in Shotwell's.
Confessed fans of big, extreme beers, the brewsters' mission is to brew "sessionable, approachable" beers. A beer's lower original gravity means lighter alcohol means more actual drinking in a session means longer (or at least more coherent) conversations. Because the word "local" is right in their name, most of Regan and Sarah's beers are brewed in honor of various neighborhoods. Two that defy that trend, at opposite ends of the ABV spectrum, are San Francisco Common (3.5 percent alcohol by volume) weighing in lighter than the Anchor Steam that inspired it, and International Orange (7 percent ABV), which isn't a Belgian Witbier brewed with orange peel but a Belgian IPA the same hue as the Golden Gate Bridge.
Local's flagship will be Glen Park Pale Ale (6.5 percent ABV). The brewers decided this based on popular reaction from the tasting events they've held around the Bay Area. Since what they currently make is homebrew, which is illegal to sell, the brewsters cart small corny kegs to parks and underground markets, giving samples away and soliciting responses. Had the response been "not bad for homebrew," they wouldn't have been this close to launching (they speculate they're midway through their search for investors). Already, area brewers have been supportive of their efforts. Magnolia's Dave McLean and Thirsty Bear's Ron Silberstein have helped with their business plan, and Adam Lamoreaux of Oakland's Linden Street Brewing has kicked in fresh hops for Local's fresh-hopped City Pale Ale.
By virtue of being independents, all the brewers we've profiled in this series are helping quench area thirsts. But with the mission of donating a portion of their future proceeds to women's rights, animal and environmental organizations, and volunteering, Local should prove a particularly fine example of keeping it local.
Follow Local Brewing Co.'s development on Twitter at @localbrewingco.