Beer and Loathing in San Francisco

[Guest blogger Jennifer Lindner is a creative professional residing in Chicago. The glass is always kinda half empty.]

“All tourism is beer tourism.” Hemingway said that. Let’s say he said it in A Moveable Feast, though that was more of a wine and absinthe book, a Paris book. So maybe he said it in The Sun Also Rises or another one of the Spanish novels, and you just forgot about it because of his simple language and these run on-sentences and how the spring moved in slowly and we were all very poor and a little tired and very happy.

What? I went to San Francisco this August and loaded my iPhone with more pictures of beer than bay. I take solace in the Hemingway quote I only half-invented because it makes me feel more culturally centered in my Drunken Default. So let’s move onward in this lopsided travelogue, brushing right past:
Day at the aquarium
Boat ride under Golden Gate Bridge
In and out and the In-and-Out Burger
The SF MOMA with some pukey Rothko and Cindy Sherman (ironically “not pictured” in this post)
A Giants game
Birds ‘n ducks


My boyfriend, Brian, wears his Half Acre T to other breweries with the same kind of quiet gumption he brings his Sox jersey to the rare Cubs game. The whole experience, by the way, was kind of a story problem. The restaurant served tapas, which were quite good and paired well with their beers, but the beers themselves weren’t great at all. We each ordered two, just to wash down the salty fried chickpeas and goat cheese paella, so we can Meh with perfect impunity. Good food, food goes good with beer, but the beer’s not good. I want to solve for x, but I can’t find it! I had the Kozlov Stout and then the Golden Vanilla (vanilla bean ale), because of everything Yelp was telling me about it. Fine for a lark, but unfit for a loyalty. We left wanting different, other, and more beer.

WAYFARE TAVERN (Financial District)

This was not the immediate next stop, but here we arrived (Night 2?) looking rumpled and without a reservation, which is my favorite way to hit up a celebrity chef restaurant. Tyler Florence didn’t show up, but I had pleasant memories of him berating housewives on TV for lack of simple kitchen skills, and this built up my appetite. We got to hang out at the bar with a bunch of elite San Francisco businessmen while we waited for kitchen-side seating. Midway through the wait, a dainty goblet of house potato chips appeared next to our beer, which made me happier than a fool. Pictured: Lost Coast Downtown Brown, the only tempting dark thing on tap. The point of beer for this section was potato chips.

VESUVIO (North Beach)

Note the citrus. Is it possible that I am drinking Blue Moon in the Jack Kerouac bar? We went just to go, after already visiting City Lights across the alley and right on our way to meet Brian’s cousin Joey at the Rogue Ale House (where I drank two chocolate stouts and ate pub food that might have been prepared by a lunch lady; that’s all you get on that). Since I can’t say a lot about my beer, I will say something about my double layers. The weather is a venomous bitch in San Francisco. I hear it’s the same 65 degrees year round, and that’s why you’ll see girls walking around in sweaters and mini-skirts and everyone looking a shade uncomfortable with whatever their own choice of attire. The temperature drops and ups with the hills you walk, and I was in a perpetual whiney cold coma. Here my thought bubble was extremely serious because maybe I didn’t know what beer I was drinking even then, and I was cold in my recently purchased sweater over a knit tee, and I was wondering how far we’d have left to walk to Rogue, and I was, finally–of course–mildly annoyed with the kind of outdated hippie clientele that tends to hang out in the Jack Kerouac bar on a weekday afternoon. People were trying too loudly to be free.

Next day, up in the Haight, the line between hipster and bum became not gray and fuzzy but jagged and mean, because street people are aggressive in sweet San Francisco. You should walk with your head down unless you’re willing to make multiple people sandwiches and share all your pot. Yes, in that order. The bookstores were swell, sweller than old City Lights, but we began to feel pressured and out of place. Nature always wins.

There were a few more days of this, and then we flew home before we became Republicans.


2 thoughts on “Beer and Loathing in San Francisco

  1. Woo Half Acre! While I only like their dark beers, I like them so hard. I think we now have 4 of their growlers for no good reason other than laziness at fetching them before buying more beer.

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