Trip Report: Toronado (Lower Haight – San Francisco), 1/22

Tue, Jan 26, 2010

Field Reports, Tastings

If there was ever a Mecca for beer aficionados in San Francisco, Toronado is arguably the epicenter. With a large selection of 40+ craft brews always on tap plus additional bottled beers (have you ever wanted to try a $25 355 ml/12 oz Belgium beer?) it has been heralded by brew lovers far and wide as the best place to grab a couple pints of the rarest beers out there. Being a craft brew lover myself, I’m inclined to agree as well.

Toronado is nestled between a few other dive bars on Haight & Fillmore and does a good job of maintaining its low profile. The restroom wall scrawlings are quite entertaining too I might add. When coming here there should really only be one thing on your mind–hard to find beer. There’s no liquor, no wine, no food, and definitely no classy ambiance. This is solely a place for the connoisseur to peruse a wide a variety of scarce beverages.

Every time I have walked through Toronado’s little swivel door, I’m greeted with the establishment’s strange aroma (could someone please tell me what that is already?!) and find my eyes gazing at the looming, ever-changing beer list posted on a wall adjacent to the bar.  I had the knack to stick with darker ales on this particular Friday, plus I had some friends with me who had yet to try Life&Limb, so we all started with a couple glasses of the Sierra Nevada/Dogfish Head collaboration. Thereafter, we rounded the evening with 21st Amendment’s Diesel Smoked Porter.

Life&Limb is a dark ale with a sweet, chocolaty finish created from a yeast blended from both strains used by Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head. Barley is used from Sierra Nevada’s reserve and maple syrup from Massachusetts is brought in as Dogfish Head’s contribution. The ale is brewed in Chico, CA where Sierra Nevada is located. At 10.2% ABV, it certainly packs a punch (and consequently, is not served in pint glasses). Toronado has this delectable, sipping beer on draught for $6 a glass.

Diesel Smoked Porter is another high ABV beer at 9.5% that was quite the treat for us. Neither myself or my companions had tasted this bronze winning smoked beer before and we all concurred that it was definitely worth ordering again. According to one of my beer colleagues present, Diesel Smoked Porter was “a little sweet and smelled of burnt espresso.”  It had a light undertone of chocolate, an initial crispness, and was lighter in carbonation with an overall good mouthfeel. Toronado has this beauty at $6 a glass.

If you haven’t done so already, do yourself a favor and hit up Toronado for your next happy hour or weekend romp through the Lower Haight and discover the reason why craft brew lovers are always singing its praises.

Related Posts

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  2. Sierra Nevada Turns the Big Three-Zero This Year and Celebrates by Crafting Four New Brews
  3. Followup: Sierra Nevada Names Next Collaboration Brew – Fritz and Ken’s Ale
  4. Dogfish Head’s Alstrom Bros. Collaboration? “Wrath of Pecan” – Really.
  5. Cross-Post: TriplePoint Brewnanza! #2: The Porter and Belgian Pale Ale

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David Martinez - who has written 20 posts on Brewnanza.

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