October 2012

Speakeasy Celebrates 15 Years

By Simon Stahl

Hundreds turned out to celebrate Speakeasy Ale & Lagers’ 15th anniversary last month. Since it was launched in 1997, the Bayview brewery has become known for its balanced, robust-yet-drinkable beers; perhaps most famously its Big Daddy I.P.A. and Prohibition Ale.

At the celebration, Speakeasy’s friendly staff struggled to keep up with demand. Partygoers waited in line for as long as 15 minutes to exchange three dollar poker chips for the crisp, wheaty White Lightning or the smooth, dark Butchertown Black. Crowd favorites tended toward the more potent: the 9.5 percent ABV Double Daddy and the 10 percent ABV XVth Anniversary Ale, both Imperial I.P.A’s, drew frequent praise.

Speakeasy’s guests paired their libations with offerings from Taco El Tuca, All Good Pizza, Southern Sandwich, Kasa Indian, and Ritual Roasters. While some enjoyed the bright, clear weather outside, others packed inside the brewery to listen to local bands, like Porkchop Express, whose Americana, Honky-Tonk sound complemented Speakeasy’s overall theme. Frontman Collin Conoley, who wailed hard on an electric ukulele, was excited to play for such a receptive audience: “We’ve been drinking Speakeasy a lot. I like the whole Prohibition-Speakeasy vibe.”

The brewery offers tours every Friday at 4:30 p.m., and opens their warehouse bar to the public Fridays and Saturdays from 4 to 9 p.m. By combining these two features at their anniversary celebration San Franciscans enjoyed some of their favorite beers just feet from where they were created.

The brewery conveys the staff’s personality: fun-loving, but serious about beer. A disco ball hangs from the ceiling; a keg is made into a bull, with stirrups and horns attached; a potted plant is decorated with a moustache and the trademark Speakeasy eyes. In just a decade and a half Speakeasy has earned a place in the hearts and fridges of thousands of San Franciscans.


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