If you think California is all about wine, think again. Beer is making itself known in Northern California, loud and proud. Southern Pacific Brewing has what no other new brewery has: a historic, sun-splashed space that takes advantage of the Mission District's clever avoidance of fog, plus a comfort food menu sophisticated enough to compete with San Francisco's unbeatable restaurant selection.Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy
First, location. When your plan for the day is to sit and drink a finely crafted beer matched with just the food pairing, you need just the right place to enjoy it. Within the 10,000 square feet of this converted industrial warehouse, you can find intimate corners for those one-on-one encounters, as well as large social areas for groups that need some space. California started the "hyper-local" food craze, and you can't get more hyper-local than drinking right next to the towering vat that brewing genius Andy French used to make your beer. And, for those who might not enjoy beer, Southern Pacific offers an impressive and inventive cocktail list as well. Be sure to check their website and Facebook page for brewery tour times and the latest offerings on tap.Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy
Whether you're drinking the classic IPA with its assertive hop and citrus finish, the Porter with its bold, chocolate flavors, or the brewery's unique Belgian Wit with coriander, orange peel and crystallized ginger, the knowledgeable and zealous Southern Pacific staff can suggest just the right bite to wash down with that beer. Head Chef Noah Bustos understands what many chefs miss about comfort food: the chef should put extreme precision and care into comfort food preparation so that the diner gets to feel lazy and happy about the food.
The Bar Bites is definitely the place to start, since sampling foods is just as much fun as sampling beers. The pickled vegetables with cucumber, carrots or Chinese long beans and the warmed mixed nuts with toasted pecan, hazelnut, walnuts with house blackening spice will set the palate and compliment most any beer. And give brussels sprouts another chance - with bacon and a warm apricot and orange glaze, these are not your mother's brussels sprouts.
If you find yourself wandering the Mission District and need something other than sangria and a taco, head to Southern Pacific Brewery. The heart of the Mission is ever-generous and always has something new to offer visitors, and Southern Pacific is its latest creation.