We’ve been bringing you Strong Beer Month since 2002 with our friends at Magnolia Brewery. In case you’ve been living on a deserted island Strong Beer Month is a month long festival in February where the 21st Amendment and Magnolia Brewery each put six strong beers on tap at the start of the month, all over 8.5% ABV, for a total of 12. Once you’ve enjoyed all 12 beers from both establishments you get to keep the commemorative glass, designed especially for the month.
Strong Beer Month started over a conversation that Dave McLean (owner and Brewmaster at Magnolia) and I had over a beer one day, I believe it was at the Toronado, when we were trying to figure out how to get more people into our pubs during February, which historically in the restaurant industry is one of the slowest months of the year. We thought, hey it’s cold, we like to drink strong beers, people want to drink strong beers as they have been at other Bay Area events in February such as the Toronado Barleywine festival and the Bistro’s Imperial IPA festival. And so we were off to the races and this month, the month of February has turned into one of the craziest months of the year. With San Francisco Beer Week starting next week, put on by the SF Brewers Guild and the California legislature officially naming February Craft Beer Month, the month of February is now craft beer heaven.
For the few years of Strong Beer Month we started a theme of reproducing a classic rock album cover with the brewers and owners from both breweries inserting ourselves into the album with a Strong Beer Month spin. Our good friend Eric (Schweick) Schweickert is the creative mojo behind this exercise in egotism and responsible for the art direction, design and layout of these masterpieces. His day job is working for ILM at the Presidio here in San Francisco and when he is not rendering that 10 second shot in the latest Transformer film, he is also a craft beer freak and an avid hombrewer. This year we took his ILM skills to task year as we recreated the Rolling Stone’s album “Some Girls.” We have a lot of fun with it and Schweick put us in some interesting posses. The players on the album from left to right on the album (green row) are: Ben Spencer (Magnolia Head Brewer), Shaun O’Sullivan (21A owner), Zambo (21 Head Brewer), Dave McLean (Magnolia owner) and Nico Freccia (21A owner). There is also an East egg in the album, see if you can find Motor Kiesling, a good friend of both the 21A and Magnolia. The day of the shoot is always a fun time, shot up in the Oakland Hills with beers flowing and the music cranked and a great opportunity for all of us to get together. And so it begins.
With all that said we give you this year’s Strong Beer Month’s beers.
21st Amendment Strong Beer Month offerings:
Framboise Forte d’Or – Belgian-style Raspberry Golden Ale – 10.2%
Dub Step – Imperial IPA – 10.2%
Beast of Burden – American-Belgo Imperial IPA – 9.9%
Red Titan – Giant Red Ale – 12.8%
Bike Lane Hopper – Imperial Black IPA – 9.6%
Hendrik’s Imperial Stout – Imperial Stout – 9.3%
Magnolia’s Strong Beer Month offerings:
Rye Rye Rocco- Rye Brown Ale- 8.8%
Let It Rauch- German-influenced Smoked Beer- 8.1%
Promised Land Imperial IPA- Imperial (Double) IPA- 11.2%
Smokestack Lightning Imperial Stout- Imperial Stout- 9.7%
Quadlibet For Tender Feet- Belgian Abbey-style Quadrupel 8.0% ABV
Old Thunderpussy Barleywine- Barleywine- 10.6%
Stay tuned as there will also be special brews, dinners and pairings at each brewery all month long and as events overlap with SF Beer Week. Enjoy the show folks, drink responsibly, hydrate often and remember the one key phrase for Strong Beer Month™: “While Supplies Last.”
Thanks your support, Shaun and Nico