While attending San Francisco Beer Week I had the rare pleasure of meeting another Justin.  This one was even more famous and impactful on the beer world as he runs the Brewing Network.  For those of you that don’t know the BN, it is THE source for global beer information, camaraderie and entertainment.  The team run a series of regular radio shows, both technical and fun in nature, which aim to enhance the brewing and social skills of both home and professional brewers.  Let’s face it – some of us don’t get out much!  They also act as a virtual worldwide homebrew club and run annual events.  Apart from their vast brewing knowledge (Justin?), they are really great guys to hang out with.  And they brew some excellent beer.  Producer Chad’s homebrew was some of the best beer we had on the entire trip, particularly his Helles – a style that despite living in Germany for two years I’ve never considered particularly memorable.  Thanks guys for hosting us and showing us such a great time!  I hope the listeners enjoyed and got something out of the show.

If you don’t know the BN you need to open another browser and go to www.thebrewingnetwork.com.  You can listen to the Moor Beer interview at http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/603.  On it we discuss real ale, CAMRA, pubs, beer festivals, sample JJJ and Fusion (along with a couple Jesus beers), and generally have a good laugh.  We were joined by James from the Queen’s Arms, Corton Denham and Phil from Beer Merchants.  Also, don’t forget to join the BN Army.  Details are on the site.  If we can get a large enough unit in the UK perhaps we can organise some competitions and events…

If you’re interested in SF Beer Week, by far the most comprehensive set of beer events globally (run early February), you can check it out at http://www.sfbeerweek.org/.  If you’re in the SF Bay area there are more places to sample excellent beer than you’ll be able to get to, but there are a couple brewpubs not to miss.  Under Rodger’s excellent brewing leadership you must brave the BART journey to Berkeley to visit Triple Rock.  Since taking over the kettles he has put on tap a range of amazing and interesting beers.  I was particularly fond of many of them, including IMAX and SHE (Single Hop Experience – we had the great joy of Chinook).  Another high recommendation is Gordon Biersch (make sure it’s the SF branch by the Embarcadero).  Never a fan of their beers when I lived in SF, John has really turned the place around, brewing clean, highly flavoured beers.  And they make a nice change from the typical West Coast styles.  Rodger and John are masters of their craft and great guys.  Go check them out.

There are also a number of world class micros (yes, I know a couple have brewpubs up north). There would be too many to mention, but our top three would have to be Bear Republic, Russian River and Drakes.  If you come across any of their handles or bottles you won’t be disappointed.  Now join the BN Army, listen to the show, buy a ticket to SF and get stuck in!