By Jay Brooks
Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 at 8:06 pm in On Beer.
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
Location: San Francisco, Calif.
Neighborhood: Bayview / Hunter’s Point
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers brews six year-round packaged beers, each in 12-oz. 6-packs.
- Big Daddy I.P.A.
- Prohibition Ale
- Double Daddy Imperial I.P.A. (in 4-packs)
- Old Godfather Barleywine-style Ale
- Untouchable Pale Ale
- White Lightning Wit Beer
Big Daddy, which was named for Dave Keene, the owner of the Toronado Pub, is their flagship beer. It accounts for roughly half of all the beer Speakeasy sells. Prohibition Ale accounts for another 25% and the rest takes up the remainder.
Speakeasy uses imagery from the Speakeasy days of Prohibition, when San Francisco was filled will illegal bars. They were called speakeasys because one essentially had to “speak easy” to gain admittance to these underground clubs where illegal hooch flowed freely. They were especially common in big cities, where people had not supported prohibition, a movement that was largely rural in scope.
Shh, what’s the password?
Outside Speakeasy’s brewing facility.
The original brewhouse, still going strong. It’s a 15-barrel system on which they produce around 10,000 barrels annually. As many as four batches of beer can be done in a single day in two shifts. In addition to their six main packaged beers, several more draft-only beers and special seasonals are brewed throughout the year.
Night shift brewer Kushal Hall with head brewer John Gillooly. One of Speakeasy’s draft-only beers, the Hunter’s Point Porter, has become a favorite of local bars, and it’s easy to see why. It’s sweetly malty with a nutty character and smooth as silk. The finish is tangy with some pleasant hop bitterness. Luckily it’s now available year-round.
Like most breweries, the spent grain that’s left over after the first stages of brewing, known as mashing, Speakeasy gives theirs to local farmers to feed to their cows. Cows love it!
Speakeasy’s new bottling line.
The brewery is located in a warehouse inside an industrial park, so it’s not open to the public most days. But every Friday at 4:00 p.m., they fling open the doors to allow folks a peek inside. Friday’s from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. (8:00 in winter) pints are only $3, most times there’s live music and a taqueria truck sets up shop just outside should you get hungry. Plus, if you arrive early enough you can get a tour of the brewery. Also, and perhaps most importantly, there are often experimental beers on tap that you can only find at the brewery. But to get in, of course, you have to know the password … pssst it’s “good beer.”
Look for more about the new specialty beers head brewer John Gillooly has been working on in next Wednesday’s column in your local newspaper.