Went into a bar yesterday called Black Sands in San Francisco, in the Haight.
The long blockside bar had black flowing linen on the ceiling, some black sandglasses, and was generally black and white and simple in decor. They had two native beers on tap, a boring, over-carbonated IPA, and a decent triple IPA which didn't quite hide the alcohol but had enough interesting hops in it to blend in with it. Food stopped at two and started at four -- we got there at 2:30 -- so I don't know about the food but I heard that the fish tacos were good.
I couldn't help wondering what the identity of the place was. There was a decent cocktail list, and a fried chicken sandwich.. it *was* a Thursday afternoon, at a place that just opened, so not surprising that it was mostly empty. But what was the driving force, what was the thing you'd recommend the place for?
Maybe the Triple IPA was that thing, maybe not. If that was the reason to recommend the place, weird that they only had two native taps. If it was Black Sands food, somehow, I'd expect to be hit harder on the tropical food angle, maybe. And maybe in the beers.
I'm not advocating for some sort of Senor Frogs themed brewery thing, no. But I do think identity is useful. Don't most of your favorite breweries have a one-sentence description that you can forward to others? Oh yeah, I like Russian River, great hoppy beers but you should really try their sours.
This has implications down the line, too, when you expand. Is it possible to make great beers across the board and defy the one sentence description?
Even the biggest, best breweries don't seem immune to this. Do you love love Stone's stouts as much as their hoppy beers? Don't Lagunitas and Sierra Nevada have distinct tastes that color all their beers?
I don't know, this goes hand in hand with my (personally devastating yet strongly held belief) that artists have one great piece of work in them. Even the second and third good ones are often derivations on a theme.
Please tell me I'm crazy.
The Week in BeerGraphs
Alpine Hop Boxed and Cellarmaker Taco Hands headlined last weekend!
We are causing shortages in the hops we like.
Beer is life!