Hiking with brewers in San Francisco - A recap of the first two hikes

Sweet Cicely

The San Francisco chapter of Beers Made by Walking is officially underway! There are two more Beers Made by Walking Native Plant Hikes on Mount Sutro in July with Pacific Brewing Laboratory, ThirstyBear Brewing Company, 21st Amendment Brewery, Magnolia Brewing Company, Fort Point Beer Company, and Headlands Brewing Company. Space is limited. Registration is required. Visit the events page to select your date and sign up today.
  • Thursday, July 9 | 9:00am-12:00pm
  • Monday, July 20 | 1:00-4:00pm

Last week the Sutro Stewards hosted two native plant hikes with brewers and community members on Mount Sutro. They hit the trail for inspiration with brewers from Social Kitchen & Brewery, Woods Beer Co., Barrel Head Brewhouse, and Sirwisa Brewing Collective. Amy Kaeser led the walks and shared the experience here:


Smelling Yarrow

Mount Sutro is home to a variety of microclimates and a diversity of plants, as we walked by over 100 species. Starting out the hike on the Fairy Gates Trail, we were greeted by birdsong in Woodland Canyon. Coming up from the canyon, we paused to taste the beautiful – and surprisingly spicy – orange and yellow nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) flowers growing on the hillside. Along the west side of the Historic Trail we saw some California honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula var. vacillans) just beginning to flower as pink buds emerged. Later we felt the super soft leaves of thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus), a plant that gets its name from its edible red berries that are seedy but delicious in this taster’s opinion. We also smelled many aromatic plants including historic gruit botanicals hummingbird sage (Salvia spathacea) and mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris var. douglasiana)

The hike ended at the Sutro Nursery, where over 4,500 plants are currently propagated. These plants are used in habitat restoration projects throughout the mountain and are cared for by nursery staff and hundreds of volunteers that participate in stewardship events. The nursery visit allowed for us to see a wide range of plants that grow in the area all in one place. A favorite at the nursery was the yerba buena (Clinopodium douglasii) growing in a planter near the entrance. Even a light touch of the plant leaves your fingers smelling of minty lemon.

There was also some good creative discussion about potential flavor and style combinations for brewing up some crafty beers. We can’t wait to try their creations!

You will have a chance to get your hands – and taste buds – on the beers this fall. There will be a tapping event in October to showcase these unique place-based beers and the proceeds benefit the Sutro Stewards. Stay tuned for details.

Our summer hike series is free and open to the public, thanks to grant support from SHARP for educational tours.

Photos were taken by Craig Dawson. You can see more on the Sutro Stewards site.