Mike Schnebeck from San Francisco’s Fort Point Beer Co. visits Brew Ha Ha with Harry Duke and Herlinda Heras today. Fort Point is an independent San Francisco beer company. They have become one of San Francisco’s best known independent breweries by following their calling to make craft beer more accessible.
Herlinda begins by describing the Fort Point SF Beer Week Dim Sum beer and cider pairing. She mentions their Kolsch beers, which is their specialty. The owners started with Mill Valley Brewing Company, which started in 2010 and then Fort Point started in 2013.
Fort Point has two locations, one is the Ferry Building taproom and the other main taproom is on Valencia St. in the Mission district. There they have a San Francisco seafood menu in addition to their beers.
The Fort Point Mission
Fort Point’s mission “…is to make really balanced approachable and nuanced beer,” what they call good beer for everyone. They take classic existing styles that they add a twist to. Mike worked for Beer Works based in San Diego, where he developed his interest in craft beer. Beer Works gave him an opportunity to brew beer. Today they are the largest independent brewer in the city.
Mike’s title of director of brewing innovation is basically an R&D position. He shifted into this more creative role after managing the day-to-day operation. Some of his current recipes date back to his time at Beer Works. They will make about 27,000 barrels this year.
Fort Point’s signature beer is the KSA, Kolsch style ale. He thought their Park Pale Ale would be the flagship but the customers had other preferences. He did visit Cologne, Germany to study the local beer, which is where Kolsch style beer comes from.
Fort Point has just launched 2 ciders, Super Dry and Super Natural, a Rosé-inspired cider. A lot of breweries are expanding their product line. Several have added selzers but Fort Point has chosen to add cider to their production.
They liked dry cider. Many ciders sold as dry were not really that dry. They spent some time developing their recipe to make it dry the way he wants it. It is “bone dry” says Herlinda.
At the Dim Sum event, the dry cider went very well with all the Asian dishes. The cider went very well with dishes like Crispy Pork Rib and Peking Duck.
SUPER NATURAL CIDER
The Super Natural cider is described as Rosé-inspired. They add hibiscus and rose hip to the cider base, which give a nice light pink-orange color. The ciders have been out for about a month so far, so they are starting to appear on shelves in stores like Hole Fudes. They are, or will be, available on draft in local restaurants.
They also taste a hazy IPA called Lobos. It’s funny how hazy beers are popular now, but Mike explains that the industry has figured out how to make those beers now. Mark Carpenter, who was head brewer at Anchor for more than 40 years, remarked that he worked hard to make the beer clear and never hazy, and the reversal of tastes is surprising and ironic. In England they have hazies called Scrumpies.
There is a beer called Yuzu KSA which is their Kolsch with Yuzu, a kind of Japanese grapefruit with interesting flavors.