Sunday 27th May 2012
This brew pub had opened just four months before my visit and is located in the building of what was previously a machine and metal shop. It is surrounded by a lot of high security fences (they also employ bouncers on the door) and it is very difficult to see the building from the street. Once inside you can appreciate its glass wall and huge windows in the roof.
The forecourt is laid out with seats and tables and was full when I called in. It was the same inside the pub. Well it was a pleasant evening after an earlier rainy and foggy start to the day so I guess the improvement in the weather had enticed people out.
Once inside the very high building I could see that the bar was on the right and there was a lot of seating all around. This was mostly of the tall table and stools type, although there was more conventional bar furniture on the upper floor. The brewery is located at the rear of the room and on this early Sunday evening doubled as a bicycle storage area.
The equipment is of 15 barrels capacity and was obtained second-hand on the closure of the Patero Hill Brewing Co. This manufacturing district was once served by the Southern Pacific Railroad, the predominant railway company in the Bay area, hence the brewery's name and the freight car on the logo.
Although there is a full menu I definitely got the impression this was a beer pub above all else, yet it is important to say that it has received good reviews for its food. I had a sampler set of the beers on offer and these were as follows with notes on the ingredients of some and my own thoughts:
Helles Lager (abv unknown) was a very light lager that I thought wasn't too bad having a little taste.
Pale Ale (4.4%) was exactly what I thought a Pale Ale should taste like. This session beer is in the American style and is made with Golden Promise, Belgian Aromatic and Honey malts. The hops used were Centennial, Cascade and Summit.
Amber Ale (abv unknown) I thought was reasonable red ale with good bitterness, a facet that is not often there with this type of beer.
India Pale Ale (IPA) (5.8%) was in the West Coast American style and my notes tell me that, although it was hoppy, it was not excessively so; I liked it a lot. It is made with American two-row barley, Münchener Pale and Belgian Biscuit malts. The hops are Columbus, Tomahawk and Zythos. It is dry-hopped and filtered.
Extra India Pale Ale (EIPA) (6.8%). This I thought was a true exponent of the West Coast IPA style, being very bitter, super dry, yet I could have drunk a lot of it. It's made with American two-row barley, Münchener Pale and Belgian Biscuit malts. Columbus, Centennial and Cascade were the hops involved.
Porter (5.5%) was a really good example of this type. It was slightly dry with just the right amount of bitterness, fantastic! The malts are English Crystal, Black Patent and Chocolate. The hops are Summit and Cascade. It's a brilliant beer in all respects.
After my excursion through the sample tray I had to choose a finishing pint. Absolutely no contest, it had to be Porter and it was great.
I walked back to Mission Street and as it was dark there was a certain edgy feel around, but then I was on my own and I wouldn't have felt concerned if I was in a group. Anyway, nothing happened and I caught the 49 trolleybus to Market Street.
The beers in this pub are superb and I would recommend it, with the proviso that you are aware that you are not in downtown San Francisco.
Southern Pacific Brewery, 620 Treat Avenue, San Francisco, CA-94110. Tel: 415 341 0152
Open: Sunday-Wednesday 11.00 to 24.00; Thursday-Saturday 11.00 to 02.00
The pub is rather hidden away and the best way to get there is catch any bus from
downtown running down Mission Street and alight as close as possible to 19th Street.
From the BART 16th Street station walk south to 19th Street. Then walk east along 19th Street for four and a half blocks, crossing Van Ness and Folsom on the way. Then turn
right into Treat Avenue which is definitely not an avenue at that point. It looks as if it
goes nowhere and that is true. Yet, if you persist you will find the objective on the right.