Like deciding where to eat in San Francisco, deciding where to drink is also a tough one! Here are some of Dan and my favorites! Cellarmaker and Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar were particularly enjoyable!
Cellarmaker Brewing Company – My favorite of our drinking stops! Cellarmaker is a small brewery (no bottles/cans) in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco that specializes in small batch, speciality brews. The Tenderloin area, which has just the most awesome name, is not the safest part of San Francisco, but the brewery was not in a bad area. Cellarmaker consists of a small tasting room with a large TV showcasing the seasonal sporting event – in our case baseball! They do not serve food, just pints and growlers of beer. When we visited, Cellarmaker served a number of strong, interesting beers, many of which took advantage of West Coast hops. We loved Cellarmaker and would recommend it to anyone in the San Francisco area who enjoys beer! Here are some pictures:
Dan and I took a full day tour to the Napa Valley from San Francisco with Max’s Wine Tours. After scouting out a number of tour companies, we went with Max’s Wine Tours because it seemed to encompass the most winery visits (and therefore the most tasting). The tour was quite expensive, at about $175 a person not including lunch or tastings (which cost at least $20 a person per vineyard). Be sure to consider this when budgeting your day! Needless to say, this was quite the expensive day…
The tour started with Max’s colleague, Evan, collecting us in a large SUV promptly at 8:45. We then picked up two other tourists (tours are max 6 people) who we got along with quite well. Next, we were on our way to the Napa Valley (about an hour drive), where we stopped at 4 wineries and in St. Helena for lunch. The tour was fun, our guide was incredibly knowledgeable about wine & the Napa Valley, and the Napa Valley is just gorgeous. However, I have to say after visiting a number of major wine producing regions in the world, the Napa Valley is my least favorite. Sorry Napa! [I feel like this needs a caveat. Napa is gorgeous and there is significant opportunity to try fantastic wine. However, Napa is also very commercialized and expensive. A $25 dollar tasting in Napa may only be $5 for similar quality wine in Mendoza or South Africa. If we were to go back I would probably try to get a hotel in Napa, drive myself and visit two vineyards per day- Dan].
The tour started with a visit to Honig Vineyard and Winery. Honig is a family vineyard and winery that started in 1964 and grew from there, specializing in Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. Today, Honig is quite recognizable and uses a cute bee theme! At Honig, Dan and I both ordered the sampler, which included a 2013 Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford, 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley (really good and awesome to compare against the 2012), 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Bartolucci Vineyard and 2013 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc (super sweet!) The tasting was held in an outdoor courtyard surrounded by vineyards. I recommend Honig, especially to visitors new to wine! Honig a good introduction and the location is very nice. All of Honig’s wine were delicious. We did not buy any because they are available on the East Coast.