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San Francisco Beer Festivals

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

Updated: July 5, 2022

Sample local and international brews at one of these top San Francisco beer festivals. Many of these events offer a few hours of tasting some of the best craft brews around.

Many also invite some of the Bay Area's top food trucks, so you can savor some tasty eats while you enjoy your beer.

If you're up for a short day trip, I've also listed some beer events that take place outside of San Francisco in the larger Bay Area.

Sampling Beers at an SF Beer Festival

Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

1. International Beer Festival 

One of the biggest annual San Francisco Beer Festivals is the International Beer Festival in May. This event is usually held at the Fort Mason Center and features more than 150 beers. 

Due to the size of this event, they offer brews from several local, national, and international breweries. You will typically find top local brewers such as 21st Amendment, Anchor Steam Brewery, and Pizza Orgasmica & Brewing Co. The international brands include Sam Adams, Modelo, and Blue Moon.

They also offer samples from top local restaurants and food trucks including places like Rosamunde Sausage Grill, Peter's Kettle Corn, and The Elite Cafe. 

This event is for a great cause as it's the sole fund raiser for the Telegraph Hill Cooperative Nursery School. 

Location: Fort Mason Center

Date: May 

Learn MoreVisit the SF International Beer Festival Page to Learn More

2. Beer Week

One of the best beer events all year long is SF Beer Week. This 10-day event offers you the opportunity to check out local brews, talk to brew masters, and participate in dozens of other fun beer related events. 

In addition to the events in SF, you will also find a number of SF Beer Week festivities in the North, South, and East Bay areas.

Location: Various locations all around San Francisco

Date: Early to Mid-February

Learn More: Visit the February Calendar for More Details

3. Brews on the Bay

Brews on the Bay is an event held on board the S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien in Fisherman's Wharf. This WWII Liberty Ship is the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon of craft beers. This event is five hours long and includes an unlimited number of 8-ounce pours. There are usually more than 60 brews on tap from a variety of local brewers including 21st Amendment, Magnolia Brewing Company, and Fort Point Beer Company. 

The S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien stays docked during the event, so they can offer you gourmet goodies from some of the top food trucks in the area (not included in the price).

Location: S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien

Date: September or October

4. Craft Beer Festival

Head over to Martinez for the annual Craft Beer Festival. During this one-day event, you can sample beers from more than 75 breweries. If you really want to taste everything, and impress your friends, you can actually select from over 150 different beers.

Your admission ticket includes unlimited samples (2 oz. each), a tasting glass, and access to many informative seminars.

Location: Waterfront Park, Martinez

Date: April

Learn More: Visit the April Calendar for this Year's Date

Best SF Breweries: Want to check out some of our top breweries during your stay? Check out my list of the 14 best including Magnolia, 21st Amendment, and San Francisco Brewing Company.

5. Oktoberfest

You can't talk about San Francisco beer festivals without mentioning one of the BEST Oktoberfest events in the US! For three days, you get the chance to enjoy German beer, food and entertainment. Every year, they feature a headliner band that comes all the way from Germany and plays traditional Oktoberfest music. 

Each ticket is for a specific session on a certain day of the event. They offer both afternoon and evening sessions. The event is held at Pier 48, which is south of Oracle Park.

Location: Pier 48

Date: Late September

6. Bonny Doon Art, Wine & Brew Festival

Hosted by the Bonny Doon Community School Foundation, this festival in the Santa Cruz mountains has a truly local vibe. Enjoy tastings from local breweries and wineries while you support a good cause!

In addition, the area's best food trucks will be offering some delicious bites to go with your drinks. It's an afternoon full of outdoor fun, including live music, cornhole, wine pull, and more.

Location: Bonny Doon Equestrian Center, Santa Cruz

Date: September

7. Scotts Valley Art, Wine and Beer Festival

Scotts Valley is a quaint town about an hour south of San Francisco heading over the mountains toward Santa Cruz. While this weekend-long festival promises a great selection of local brews and wines, it is not just for 21+.

This is a great opportunity for the whole family to have fun with the food trucks, arts and crafts booths, entertainment, and fun events like the "Dog Day Sunday" dog contest and the "Cops and Rodders" car show.

Location: Skypark in Scotts Valley

Date: August

8. Monterey Beer Festival

If you love discovering new brews, this may be the event for you, as the Monterey Beer Festival really focuses on bringing a great selection of well-known and little-known breweries to their tasting experience.

You'll find more than 80 different beers on tap, plus local food vendors and live music.

Location: Monterey County Fair and Event Center

Date: July

9. Blues, Brews and BBQ

This is a fun twist on your typical cookout with beer. A fundraiser for Goatlandia farm animal sanctuary, this homestyle BBQ buffet is vegan, and accompanied by an open bar.

Each guest will receive a pair of sunglasses to groove to the blues while raising money for a great cause.

This festival takes place in wine country, about two hours north of San Francisco.

Location: Yoffi Farm in Santa Rosa

Date: May 21

10. Oktoberfest San Ramon

San Ramon is a city in the valley on the other side of the East Bay Hills, about 45 minutes from San Francisco. Each year, the Historic Foundation hosts Oktoberfest in a down-home style that fits their mission of preserving the town's early farms and homesteads.

At this ranch gathering, you'll not only find great local beer, but Bavarian dancers, a brass band, and yummy treats like apple strudel. 

Location: Forest Home Farms in San Ramon

Date: October

11. Oktoberfest Redwood City

Come September, a chunk of Redwood City's downtown plaza transforms for a week into a German party complete with cold beer, pretzels and brats, yodeling, and variations of the chicken dance. Entrance includes a commemorative stein and a drink ticket, plus plenty of live entertainment.

To reach this Bay Area beer festival, just drive or take the Caltrain about half an hour south of San Francisco, along the bay on the Peninsula.

Location: Courthouse Square in downtown Redwood City

Date: September

12. Oktoberfest Campbell

For one full weekend each October, the historic streets of downtown Campbell host a family-friendly Oktoberfest extravaganza that is free and open to the public. Stroll through more than 100 artisan booths and enjoy the live music from five different stages.

The beer garden is central to the action, of course, featuring Gordon Biersch beers and ales, but there will also be German (and other) food stands as well as wine tasting by local wineries. Don't miss the costume and stein-holding contests.

Location: Downtown Campbell

Date: September

Other Large Festivals You Might Enjoy

Cherry Blossom Festival

Every year, the Cherry Blossoms bloom all around San Francisco and this festival celebrates their arrival. This two-weekend long event features traditional Japanese music, entertainment and cuisine.

You can also listen to additional live music, enjoy a beer or two, and meet some locals. It's held in the Japantown District every April.

>> Learn more about this large annual event

Chronicle Wine Competition

The Chronicle Wine Competition is the largest American wine tasting competition in the world. After the judges review hundreds of American wines, they announce the winners. They then invite the public in to sample not only the winners, but hundreds of other American wines that participated in the competition.

Tickets for the public tasting event sell out every year, so buy your tickets early. This event is usually at the Fort Mason Center.

Learn More: What to Expect at This Year's Chronicle Wine Competition

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