The first time I paid Southern Pacific Brewing Company a visit it was with no advanced knowledge or preparation—in fact, I was hard pressed to find anyone who’d heard of it much less visited it. Tucked away on Treat Avenue in the Mission District of San Francisco amidst other warehouses I ventured there with a sense of purpose in my step and a thirst for craft beer (and a thumbs-up to a lot of free parking nearby). And I wasn’t disappointed!
Walking into the space, I had this immediate “whoa!” reaction—this was a place I could totally see myself owning some day! In fact, if there were a blueprint of a medium-large sized dream brewpub named “Abernathy’s” this could be it! Shaking off that weird first reaction, I scoped the layout—a two level location with high-top tables along the ground floor and standard tables up top (this is after passing a decent-sized enclosed outdoor area at the entrance). Each level had a devoted bar (although the upstairs bar was not yet open—I guess they open at 5:00) so before ascending the stairs I ordered a pint below.
They have a generous number of taps (21!) split between the usual types of house brews (with a few notable exceptions) and a terrific selection of guest beers. Ordering their house IPA and leaving the tab open, I wandered upstairs (as they only have bar service—unless they bring in servers at some point, but the several times I’ve been since you can only order beer and food at the bar). Finding a table upstairs, I took a seat bordering the edge overlooking everything/everyone below. A very cool vantage point for people watching and it didn’t hurt that they had a pair of televisions showing some pro basketball–the only downside was it was the Golden State Warriors and not my beloved Portland Trail Blazers (maybe this place wasn’t so great after all! Heh heh).
The menu offerings are a mix of fairly standard pub fare (reasonably prices for the area) with some pretty great “bar bites”—in particular, the Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Coconut Fried Chicken Wings. And they make a pretty mean vegetarian burger! And, a big plus for me, is they’re very child friendly. My first visit I marveled at the number of parents enjoying a pint with their toddlers in tow.
Overall, a great atmosphere to enjoy some pints but I have to say, and I hate being critical of any place bold enough to brew their own beer, but I found the house IPA and Pale Ale to be very… ordinary! I guess I probably have unrealistic expectations at times but I was a little bit disappointed. It’s when I explored some of the other beers they had on tap, like the Gooseberry Chardonnay Blonde and their XIPA that I found some fine beers (and on a subsequent visit, their Anniversary Ale was exceptional!). And a special shout out to their guest tap list and hat’s off to whoever curates it—as a huge fan of Ninkasi, they’ve carried their terrific Tricerahops every single time I’ve been there. Definitely worth a special trip if you’re in the area and I plan on visiting there again very soon!
House beers enjoyed (over the course of a few visits):
- Extra India Pale Ale
- Belgian Bastogne Blonde
- Gooseberry Chardonnay Blonde
- Anniversary Ale
- Pale Ale