Brewery Name: Black Sands Beer
Type of Brewery: BrewPub
Location: San Francisco, CA
Facebook: Black Sands Beer
Background: Black Sands is located in the Haight, a neighborhood in San Francisco known for eclectic storefronts, gorgeous historic houses, and a bit of a hippie vibe. It's also known for breweries like Magnolia and legendary beer bars like Toronado. I first got a taste of Black Sands Beer at a beer festival last winter, and was extremely high on a Black IPA they had tapped. When I looked them up to plan a visit, I realized that this wasn't anything like a traditional brewery visit, and really wasn't much like a brewpub even. Black Sands is a really great restaurant and coffee shop on top of being a small batch craft beer provider. Being so high on the Black IPA made me interested enough by itself, but the prospect of this being a totally unique experience for craft beer in San Francisco made it a must try.
Growlers: No growlers from what I saw, and it's totally understandable. They don't brew much beer at a time, so taking a half gallon makes a dent. The positive side of that is you know the beer is ultra fresh and constantly rotating.
The Beers: When I visited, Black Sands had three beers on the menu, although one had just recently kicked. I got to try two SMaSH IPAs, one of which was a double, so I have absolutely nothing to complain about. I've tried four others at various events, and my praise holds true for all of them as well. All have been Pale Ales, IPAs or doubles.
Vibe: This is what the Haight feels like. I went on a weekend during the day and the place was packed with a brunch crowd. Everyone seemed to have an amazing looking plate of food with a beer in one hand and a coffee in the other. Service is friendly and familiar, with plenty of hands on deck waiting to help.
The space consists of a trendy interior that is like a nice restaurant and a fancy coffee shop had a baby. Lots of really cool stone, art, and a view into both the kitchen and the brewing tanks. Outside is a huge seating area that is right on one of the Haight neighborhood streets. I’ve become aware since visiting that they've actually got a setup across the street where they sell home-brewing supplies as well, so I'll have to check that part out next time and report back.
The beer comes from taps that are front-and-center behind the bar, and the separate beer menu gives a little background on each one available. Being at Black Sands, you can really appreciate how amazing the beer is given such a relatively small brewing area. They hand-stamp their logos onto coffee cups per order, and clearly take a ton of pride in their brand.
Dogs: Outside not only allows, but welcomes dogs. It's a very dog-friendly part of the city, and you can see from the picture above that even horse-sized dogs have a place at Black Sands.
Price ($ to $$$$$): $$. A tough call here. The foods is priced extremely affordably for what you're getting and where you're getting it. The beers go about $7 per 10 oz pour, so the beer itself is a little on the high end with the rest of San Francisco.
Food: Goodness yes. As I mentioned, I was there midday on a weekend so the brunch menu was out and everything I saw looked amazing. They've got full lunch, dinner, brunch, and Sunday special menus that are all full of really great cross-cultural food combinations like Pork Chili Wontons, Spicy Fried Chicken, Pozole, and tons of craft cocktails and hot drinks to add on.
Final Thoughts: Truly unique "brewery" experience for me so far. Very highly recommend for a great spot to start a Saturday of drinking with a top tier beer and an impressive lunch. That said, and totally by design, this is not a place to go when you want the craft brewery vibe in a more traditional sense. It doesn't feel like industrial space or a place where you might see the brew masters mixing in giant tanks. If you like a good hoppy beer though, this is a spot to get to in the city.
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