SF Beer Week Opening Gala Is Back, Reuniting Bay Area Craft Beer Community & Showcasing Expanded Offerings

Poised to sweep through the greater Bay Area February 9-18, this year’s SF Beer Week will mark the return of the SF Beer Week Opening Gala for the first time in four years along with showcasing the many dozens of craft beer events planned across the region.

Produced by the Bay Area Brewers Guild, SF Beer Week and the Opening Gala have been a powerful tandem for celebrating not just craft beer as a product but as a communal experience — where a locally produced labor of love made in small batches in one’s own neighborhood often using local, artisan ingredients and techniques, brewed with passion and creativity, was shared with reverence and revelry, and as a social experience that helped keep people and communities connect.  

In that context, and dating back to the first Gala in 2010, this premiere tasting event earned its reputation as the heart of the Bay Area’s craft beer community — until COVID stopped this annual gathering of Bay brewers and beer aficionados cold.

For the Guild, bringing the Gala back would mirror the unprecedented challenges and need to persevere and adapt faced by its brewery members individually, and the industry as a whole, ever since. Last held February 7, 2020, the Opening Gala featured 130 breweries. This year, nearly 100 breweries are confirmed, an amazing number but still a 25% drop.

“Considering the well-documented struggles of small food-and-beverage businesses, and especially for small breweries that shoulder capital-intensive manufacturing costs on top of that, we are surprised and grateful so many members are able to make it out for the Gala’s return,” says Joanne Marino, executive director of the Bay Area Brewers Guild. 

“Still, a lot of breweries who were at the Gala in 2020 are gone, so we’ll toast them February 9 even as we welcome new faces and celebrate the chance to be together again.”

New, too, will be the chance to sample non-alcoholic options and complimentary products like wine at the Opening Gala, another sign that things are changing in the industry. 

“Members like Barebottle and Barrel Brothers will be pouring wine and near-zero alcohol craft beer, respectively, showcasing how craft brewers are expanding and diversifying,” says Marino. 

Accentuating the point, 2024’s yet-to-be-revealed Official SF Beer Week Collaboration Release, brewed by Barrel Brothers Brewing Co. with Humble Sea Brewing Co, will be an “NA” beer — that is sub .5% alcohol by volume, yet a true beer in delivering both the craft and the community.

“Meeting friends over a beer is a special time. The last few years, we all collectively lost too many of these opportunities. Recapturing these moments is what’s important, not the ABV,” says Marino. “This special collaboration beer will be joining dozens more at the Gala, and it will fit in just fine.”

See participating breweries and Opening Gala ticket details, including the new Astro Lounge, at:

The other half of the tandem, SF Beer Week itself, is when the community shifts back to the neighborhoods each brewery calls home, from Santa Rosa to Monterey and east to the Livermore Valley. Nearly a hundred craft beer events are already posted on the SF Beer Week listings page, with many more to come. Over Beer Week’s ten days, enthusiasts, brewers and anyone who enjoys craft beer will get together to explore a wonderland of flavor right here in the Bay Area where the craft beer renaissance was born.

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