Sitting on the NW corner of Mission Dolores Park in SF, the Cerveceria de MateVeza is a quirky gem of a tiny local brewpub with a very unique selling point – its beer is brewed with Yerba Mate, a caffeine-rich, aromatic herb from Argentina, usually consumed as a hot tea-like concoction drunk through a metal straw in a hollow gourd. In the offerings of this establishment, however, it is also used as a part or full substitute for hops. More information on the beer can be found here, but suffice it to say, it is really nice and unusual!
They have also recently teamed-up with Samuel Adams on a collaborative saison, detailed here. Jim Woods, the founder of MateVeza, benefitted from a loan from Sam Adams, “Brewing the American Dream” micro-financing initiative – I really like the idea of the big beer company giving back to the little guy. The beer itself is really easy drinking but I have to confess that I did prefer the Evil Morpho that The Canadian opted for – a sour version of their dark pink hibiscus and yerba mate number (no hops so technically this is a gruit).
Much of the beer is brewed in a small, 20-gallon set-up in-house, giving it a homebrew-done-good feel, which is both refreshing and endearing. Accompany one of these bad boys with an empenada and you’re all set. The pub is basically the downstairs of a corner house with cushioned benches by the windows, a central table with room for about 6, two large fridges with beer for take-out or stay-in and stool seating by the bar and the far wall. The bar itself has a tiled wall and the 20-gallon steel fermentors sit behind the bar on the right-hand side.
We’ve only been here twice but it is our favorite bar in SF, as it is truly unique and hosted by far and away the best event during 2013’s San Francisco Beer Week:
“MateVeza IPA Sails the 18th St. Seas from Cervecería to Kasa Indian Eatery
Join us in reenacting the original voyage of India Pale Ale as we embark from Cervecería de MateVeza (England) down 18th St (the Atlantic / Indian Ocean) to Kasa Indian Restaurant (India). We’ll meet at Cervecería at 6pm and then we’ll ferry you and the precious IPA keg through the treacherous seas of 18th Street. Once we safely arrive at Kasa, you can celebrate your scurvy-free journey by sipping on a MateVeza IPA with your Indian feast (coincidentally a delightful pairing).”
Seriously good fun – and as I was the only Brit there, I had to sing especially loudly in the renditions of, “Rule Britannia” as we sailed the boat down the street! Photos below but go check this place out for yourself – and let us know when you’re going so we can join you!