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Look, we’re big fans of a chilled glass of Chardonnay, but there’s a time and place for wine--and watching sports isn’t one of them. Swap your usual for something equally flavorful this weekend: one of SF’s new craft beers.

You don’t have to be a connoisseur to find something you’ll love, whether it’s a light and fruity Belgian wheat or a robust coffee porter. Here are the eight local brews you need to try.


Bon Marché: The Farmhand

Master cicerone (the sommelier equivalent for beer experts) Rich Higgins scores big with this French-style ale that makes for smooth, easy drinking. It has a slight hint of pumpkin spice and is the perfect way to wash down a few snacks.

1355 Market St.; 415-802-1700 or


Black Sands Brewery: Son of Man

Think you don’t like dark beer? This black IPA has the silky chocolate quality of a stout with the added punch of citrusy hops. Not too dark, not too bitter--call us beer-lievers.

701 Haight St.; 415-534-5194 or

John Storey

Black Hammer Brewing: Deeep Haus Stout

Now on to the big guns. Here you have a true winter warmer with layered hints of chocolate. One and done.

544 Bryant St.; 415-758-2223 or


21st Amendment: Toaster Pastry

This long-standing local brewer rolled out a new beer with the opening of its East Bay tasting room. Say hello to the India-style red ale that pays tribute to the space’s former life as the Kellogg factory. Slightly nutty, you say? That’s the biscuit malts used to brew this baby.

2010 Williams St., San Leandro; 510-595-2111 or

John Storey

Old Bus Tavern: Thin Wheat Duke

The popular and refreshing Lemon Basil Saison, a favorite among the ladies, isn’t currently on tap, but this smooth Belgian wheat is a good winter substitute. It’s even said to be as seductive as Ziggy Stardust. We’re not so sure about that, but we’ll take one anyway.

3193 Mission St.; 415-843-1938 or


Harmonic Brewing: Rye Old-Fashioned Pale Ale

Inspired by the classic American cocktail, this brew is just the right amount of bitter with a welcome citrus twist. Consider this your new sipper after a biceps-busting session at Dogpatch Boulders.

1050 26th St.; 415-872-6817 or


Local Brewing Company: Winter Sweater Imperial Porter

Ever considered s’mores-flavored beer? It may sound weird, but it’s just too interesting to pass up. Brewed with 40 pounds of graham crackers and finished with a little Madagascar vanilla bean, one pint and you’ll be dreaming about next season’s camping trips.

69 Bluxome St.; 415-932-6702 or


Drake's Dealership: Jolly Rodger

The java-obsessed will delight in this imperial coffee porter made with Colombian beans that are roasted by Oakland’s very own Highwire Coffee Roasters. Quaff this one to keep toasty while you’re sitting outside at the brewer’s cool East Bay beer garden.

2325 Broadway, Oakland; 510-833-6649 or

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