In my ongoing quest to visit all of the breweries in California I stopped by 21st Amendment Brewery in downtown San Francisco. This brewery is in a nice building and has a general eye appealing exterior that is lost on most of the California breweries that are stuck in industrial areas around the state. That was a good sign and as I hopped off the bus I was excited to see what was in store.
Freccia and O’Sullivan met in early 1995 in San Francisco. Both had just moved from southern California to the Bay area when they heard the calling of beer. O’Sullivan, a former photographer and paralegal, “traded his suits for boots and was saved by beer”. He moved to Berkeley and took a job as assistant brewer at the Triple Rock Brewery there. Freccia, a writer, actor and, by extension, restaurant professional, was also an avid homebrewer. Frustrated with the lack of beer culture in the L.A. area, he moved to San Francisco and began writing for the Celebrator Beer News, the west’s largest beer publication. Freccia and O’Sullivan met, became friends and, while sitting together in a summer class on brewing science at UC Davis, hatched their plan for what would become the 21st Amendment which opened in 2000.
The brewery itself has a large downstairs area for the restaurant that they have; unfortunately, I had already had dinner so I am not able to comment on how the food is, but based on the atmosphere and the amount of people there it seemed to be pretty popular.
I also liked the design which was very industrial with its concrete walls, hanging lights and big windows. The beer menu itself had a fun assortment of flavors names and designs showing that they take their marketing pretty serious.
We headed upstairs to the more sports bar type area where we could try the beer and watch the game, and from there we were able to see in the window which showed the brewery they had in the back.
What we had heard from the locals and what we went there to try was their Brew Free or Die IPA and their Hell or High Watermelon which is a wheat beer infused with 100% watermelon pure. I ended up ordering the sampler though so I could try more.
As far as beers go the watermelon and the IPA were for sure the standouts. The watermelon was really strange but I enjoyed the flavor and applaud them for trying something new. I would definitely order it again. The IPA was strong but not to bitter which is just how I like it as well. The other three beers I tried didn’t really standout for me.
As far as breweries go, I really liked the new flavors they were trying at 21st Amendment. Most breweries go after the same 4 core beers and while that is good, it is fun to try new takes on the established drink. I would recommend it and I hope to go again sometime and try the food. Leave me a comment if you have a feeling one way or another about 21st Amendment.