563 2nd Street
San Francisco, California
Visited on September 11, 2007
Time to add a new state to the category list, as if it weren’t long enough already. Surprisingly, I don’t seem to have included anything from California yet. This is weird, because the summer I spent in Palo Alto gave me the opportunity to hit 23 in the Golden State, most of which were in the general Bay Area.
Let’s start with perhaps the most nationally successful brewpub in San Francisco, 21st Amendment. First of all, brilliant name. Second of all, one of the few wheat beers out there that I actually still enjoy. If you haven’t had a can of Watermelon Wheat yet, I highly suggest you pick yourself up a case if you can.
I only made it out to 21st Amendment twice. The first time I was less than impressed, as I just stopped with my sister and brother-in-law for a single beer, and a weekend festival had left them dry on several taps. The second visit was during the last week of my stay in California, where I met a good friend for dinner. I remember really enjoying a sloppy chili burger, as well as several beers.
In short, this place can stand with all of the best brewpubs I’ve been lucky enough to visit.
If the physical location of a place counts, then this brewpub gets top marks, because it is only a block or two away from Giants’ Stadium in San Francisco. Otherwise, the bar is nice, there’s plenty of seating, but nothing overly spectacular. There is also a noticeable lack of televisions, which makes it difficult to watch anything other than the local team.
The menu consists of awesome, simply made pub fare. Create your own cheeseburger, which I did with the simple addition of chili. It made the burger impossible to pick up and eat, but I wasn’t afraid to knife and fork it down. There was just the right balance between burger and chili, and the onion rings that accompanied the dish were superb.
Although the pub fare is good, the beer is really what should attract beer enthusiasts. One of my all-time-favorites is located here, and that is the Watermelon Wheat. I know it sounds girly, but the beer is lightly fruited, light in body, light in taste, yet crisp and oh so refreshing! I could down a case of these easily on a summer hot day, a task made easier since they sell this (and their IPA) in cans! Although they are usually sold out, I try to pick some up any time I’m here. Besides the Watermelon Wheat, the Stout is also excellent.
As for the service, I had to wait a few minutes to get a beer refill. Also, the first time I came they were out of both their Watermelon Wheat and Stout, but it was right after the All-Star game was played down the street, so I’m cutting them some slack.