Strong Beer Month is a month long festival in February where the 21st Amendment and Magnolia Brewery each put six strong beers on tap at the start of the month, all over 8.5% ABV, for a total of 12. Once you’ve enjoyed all 12 beers from both establishments you get to keep the commemorative glass, designed especially for the month.
Strong Beer Month started over a conversation that Dave McLean (owner and Brewmaster at Magnolia) and I had over a beer one day, I believe it was at the Toronado, when we were trying to figure out how to get more people into our pubs during February, which historically in the restaurant industry is one of the slowest months of the year. We thought, hey it’s cold, we like to drink strong beers, people want to drink strong beers as they have been at other Bay Area events in February such as the Toronado Barleywine festival and the Bistro’s Imperial IPA festival. And so we were off to the races and this month, the month of February has turned into one of the craziest months of the year. With San Francisco Beer Week starting next week, put on by the SF Brewers Guild and the California legislature officially naming February Craft Beer Month, the month of February is now craft beer heaven.
For the first few years of Strong Beer Month we started a theme of reproducing a classic rock album cover with the brewers and owners from both breweries inserting ourselves into the album with a Strong Beer Month spin. Our good friend Eric (Schweick) Schweickert is the creative mojo behind this exercise in egotism and responsible for the art direction, design and layout of these masterpieces. His day job is working for ILM at the Presidio here in San Francisco and when he is not rendering that 10 second shot in the latest Transformer film, he is also a craft beer freak and an avid hombrewer.