The 50 Best Beer Stores in America, California:  City Beer Store….“We could just as easily make a list of the 50 best beer stores in California, but when we have to choose one, it’ll be City Beer Store.  The cozy taproom and bottle shop remains a beacon in the craft packed area, offering a gateway to both the heady IPAs of SoCal and the enigmatic sours (and more IPAs) of wine country.” (Men’s Journal, August 2016)

The Best of San Francisco 2016…Beer Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, this bottle shop and tasting bar remains a beer lover’s holy grail.  The coolers bear over 400 brews arranged by style, from sours and Belgian darks to single, double, and triple IPAs.  Customers can mix cans and bottles to create their ideal six-pack.  Over the years, owners Craig and Beth Wathen have developed a relationship with many California breweries, resulting in collaboration bottles with Sante Adairius Rustic Ales, the Bruery, and Cellarmaker Brewing.  The spot is known for its sours and IPAs, which the store strives to receive directly from bottling for peak freshness.  In addition to the bottle shop, there are 15 rotating beers on tap at the adjacent bar.  Added incentive to drink instore:  The store’s so-called magic cooler is stocked with rare, aged, and limited edition collaboration beers, offered on the premises only.  (San Francisco Magazine, July 2016)

America’s 100 Best Beer Bars 2016….“City Beer Store is the original. Before there was a craft beer bar in the city, there was City Beer. The owners, Craig and Beth, care about their customers and carry world class examples of pretty much every style. Brewers know that they really take care of the beer, so they’re willing to send their best.” – Philip Emerson, Almanac Beer Co. (Draft Magazine, July 2016)

15 Beer Bars You Have To Visit, City Beer Store (San Francisco, California)….
A world-class selection of craft beer that you can mix and match in a six-pack and a friendly taproom with alluring beers.

What it is: As lovers of fine food and fine beer, the founders of City Beer Store, Craig and Beth Wathen, often wondered about the lack of a beer-specific retail store and tasting bar in their much-loved city of San Francisco. City Beer Store opened in May 2006. The Wathen’s vision was to create a friendly community gathering spot to sip a beer while you browse the shelves. They believe that each customer deserves a unique individual shopping encounter, and they work closely with the staff to provide this experience. They continue to source and seek out the finest offerings for the City Beer Store community.

Why it’s great: As you walk through the door of City Beer Store, you are struck by its unique approach to craft beer. There is a welcoming bar area with a friendly, laid-back vibe. That said, you are also drawn to the rare selection of bottled beers in the retail-store section. This store has a world-class selection of craft beer that would make the most geeky beer geek perk up with intrigue, while the taproom is equally alluring with beers such as Jolly Pumpkin Bière de Mars, Evil Twin Imperial Doughnut Break, and hard-to-find local brews such as Late for Work from Marin Brewing. — John Bolton
(Craft Beer and Brewing Magazine, August 2015)

Best of SF….Beer:  City Beer Store…. You’ll never be able to drink your way through the hundreds of beers chilling in City Beer Store’s frosty, glass-fronted refrigerators-but you can try.  Each fridge is organized by style-from fruit-infused IPAs to rare sours to whiskey barrel-aged porters-and represents breweries from across the country.  You can mix and match an assortment of bottles and cans….. (San Francisco Magazine, July 2015)

Craft Beer Boom: 5 Bay Area Tasting Itineraries, SOMA Stroll…. Start the afternoon at City Beer Store, a hybrid beer bar and bottle shop that’s a magnet for ale and lager lovers. Well-versed bartenders walk newcomers through the frequently updated tap list, while aficionados will find other customers eager to trade recommendations. Look for local favorites and rare American and international finds among the walls of bottles available for on-premise and to-go enjoyment. (Where Magazine, November 2014)

Best Of San Francisco 2014: Best Place To Stand In Awe Of The Glory Of Malt, Water, Yeast, And Hops

A lot of stores in San Francisco sell beer, but then, a lot of stores sell condoms and toilet paper, too.  City Beer Store is the place to go if you want a retailer that revels in beer, that really loves the stuff.  The modernist space on Folsom Street is practically a temple to the glory of water, yeast, hops, and malt (and sometimes other ingredients) that go into one of the world’s oldest beverages.  Organized like a friendly wine shop (but dedicated exclusively to foamers), City Beer Store holds vast refrigerators full of bottles, domestic, and imported, that you most likely  haven’t laid your thirsty eyes on before.  But it’s not only good for shopping.  You can sit down at the bar or one of the tables and order a glass from one of the 15-taps-or pay $1 corkage fee and drink a recently purchased bottle right on the premises.  City Beer Store also serves snacks like pimento cheese and fava bean hummus.  Sure beats the corner store, eh?
SF Weekly, May 2014)

Brew Dogs, San Francisco Edition: The BREW DOGS get “foggy” in San Fran by making the world’s first vaporized beer. You don’t drink this beer, you inhale it!
(EsquireTV-BrewDogs Season 1, Episode 2, November 2013)

Rare Belgian Beer US Debut Draws Crowd “” (CBS Channel 5 – December 2012 – Read more)

Meet the Local Beer Meisters “Craig and Beth Wathen The Wathens didn’t set out to create the craft beer agora of San Francisco. “We just created the kind of store that we would want to shop in”, says Craig, who along with wife Beth opened City Beer Store in 2006. ” (San Francisco Magazine – November 2012 – Read more)

Top 100 Bars “With 500 to 700 bottled beers from around the globe, as well as a rotating list of 15 on tap, Craig and Beth Wathen’s 6-year old bottle shop/tasting room has earned a special place in the hearts of local beer lovers. Thanks to a much needed expansion last fall, the shop now offers even more room to lounge over a pint with friends.” (San Francisco Chronicle – July 2012)

San Francisco Beer Store Breakthroughs “City Beer Store and the Evolution of Craft Beer Shops In May, City Beer Store in San Francisco South of Market neighborhood celebrated six years of pushing boundaries, commissioning rare brews and just plain providing a great place to drink and talk beer. This year’s anniversary brew is Marin Brewing Company’s Platypus Venom Imperial Stout, with birthday wishes on the label signed by master brewer Arne Johnson and onwer Brendan Moylan. Around town at The Jug Shop, Healthy Spirits and the new Steep Brew, beer purveyors are taking different inspirations from the story of City Beer and branching out in their own ways, while the mother of Bay Area beer store invention passes another milestone.” (Celebrator – June 2012)

Eye On The Bay: Beer “ ” (Eye On The Bay – May 2012 – Read more)

SF Weekly Blog “Fun fact: The platypus is the official mascot of. We remember from third grade that these creatures have duck bills, beaver tails, and the feet of otters. Perhaps this creature is an apt metaphor for a beer destination with an identity crisis — Is it a beer store? Is it a bar? The short answer: Yes. Six years in, and it’s clear that City Beer Store hasn’t succumbed to any crisis of identity. If anything, its singular focus to provide consumers with a well-rounded, educational beer experience has become a model for other successful craft beer businesses in the Bay Area and beyond. For City Beer customers, the last year will be remembered as the era when the wall came down and the shop expanded into the adjoining space. This weekend, celebrate the fact that City Beer Store now has more taps, more bottles, and more elbow room than ever before. For its sixth Anniversary, the shop collaborated with Marin Brewing Co. to create ‘Platypus Venom’, an imperial stout brewed with star anise and molasses. The brew will be available on tap and in bottles starting at noon on Saturday. As an added bonus, those who missed last year’s 5th Anniversary party will be able to try all 5 beers brewed for the occasion (detailed below). That’s what we call ‘killing two platypuses with one stone.’ ” (City Beer Store Celebrates Six Years – May 2012 – Read more)

Beer Bash, By Terri Allan “Our focus is on education,” says Beth Wathen, co-owner of City Beer Store in San Francisco, which has hosted on-site and off-site events in support of the city’s beer week since 2009. This year, City Beer welcomed brewers from Midnight Sun Brewing Co., Stillwater Artisanal Ales, among others at in-store “sipping sessions”. Wathen reports that not only is store traffic up during San Francisco Beer Week, but the program has brought travelers from near and far, including Norway, Japan, and England. “It has begun to attract an interesting mix of people, including beer aficionados and novices, as well as people interested in local celebrations of food and beer,” she says.” (Market Watch – April 2012)

Citizen’s Band & City Beer Store Team Up For Sausage Shenanigans “The next time you’re gettin’ your suds on at the recently expanded City Beer Store on Folsom, you’ll also be able to get your sausage on (I know, that sounds kind of wrong), thanks to Citizens Band. Chef Chris Beerman (it was fate that he’d be doing this partnership) is now serving a variety of sausages, like a homemade pork sausage with molasses and sage and pork and bacon kielbasa…..” (Tablehopper – December 2011 – Read more)

Barrel-Aged Boom “City Beer Store’s expansion will thrill beer cognoscenti. That can of Tecate you’re drinking may be sweetly ironic, but should you be ready to hop down that beer rabbit hole, City Beer Store awaits. A recent remodel of the SoMa space has expanded it beyond it’s original iteration as a retail shop with a small bar, into a retail shop with a comparatively large bar. Continued…” (Tasting Table – October 2011 – Read more)

The Ten Best Microbrew Beers  O asked beer sommeliers for their regional favorites, then sampled their suggestions. Here are our our favorites.”
(O-The Oprah Magazine, June 2011)

Beer But Better “Owners Craig and Beth Wathen are usually working the bar at their encyclopedic store. They can point you toward bottles of Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout, one of the nation’s first and best bourbon-barrel beers. At the in-store bar, the on-tap list changes weekly, but you might find Firestone Walker’s Abacus, a bourbon-barreled barley wine laced with silky fig, brandy, and butter…….” (Sunset – November 2010)

Tastings With Craft Beers “Craig and Beth Wathen looked to wine bars for inspiration when they opened City Beer Store (1168 Folsom Street, Suite 101; 415-503-1033;,) a spare loft in the SOMA district of San Francisco, in 2006. As is generally the case at tasting bars, the bottles are displayed by style rather than by brand. The tasting bar gives you a relaxed atmosphere where you can ask questions, he said. Take a sour beer: You can describe it, the way it tastes and where it comes from, but at a certain point you just have to taste it. ” (The New York Times – May 2010)

Craft Beer-A Hopumentary, featuring Craig and Beth Wathen of City Beer Store

(May 2013)

The Modern Beer Bar “At City Beer Store in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood or at Bierkraft in Brooklyn, you can stop in for a weekend’s worth of bottle-aged brews, but you’ll probably end up pouring them there-both are a blend of beer store and bar, a kind of pinnacle of beer geekdom where the conversation will naturally lead to debates, like which batch of Russian River’s Beatification is superior.” (GQ – May 2010)

Pitcher Perfect Pairings… “At City Beer Store, the San Francisco shop that Wathen runs with her husband Craig, customers can sample cheese paired with whatever happens to be on tap. Some beers are more cheese friendly than others. For an all-purpose pairing brew, Wathen likes wheat beers, which tend to have mild notes of coriander, orange, and white pepper. “This is the type of beer that doesn’t wrestle for control”, she says.” (Say Cheese – April 2010 – Read more)

Best Beer Bottle Selection 2010 “Craig and Beth Wathen, the couple that runs this SOMA hole in the wall bottle shop, take painstaking care to stock the widest selection of hard to find beers from the most interesting breweries. And if the beer isn’t distributed in San Francisco, they aren’t above driving hundreds of miles to fetch a case themselves. While this is technically a bottle shop, guests are invited to drink their newfound bounty three steps below street level by paying a more than reasonable “corkage” fee of . But the fun doesn’t end with the bottled rarities. City Beer offers tasting flights a complete sampler each week of whatever’s new on its five taps, sometimes accompanied by elbow rubbing opportunities with the brewmasters themselves. Yes, beer is magical, so be the first on your block to try new exotic potions with the wizards (or brewsters) who alchemize them. ” (SF Weekly “Best Of San Francisco 2010” – April 2010)

Brew Love “Barrel Fever Blondes don’t alway have more fun. Russian River Brewing Company’s award winning Belgian style brown ale, Supplication, is aged in French oak Pinot Noir barrels handed down from local wineries. per 12-ounce bottle at City Beer Store.” (7×7 – March 2010)

City by the Pint “We loved the strong sense of community surrounding San Francisco Beer Week. Everyone was enthusiastic and engaging in the creative exchange of ideas with one another, which made for a vibrant calendar of unique events. The heart of the beer community is full of locally owned businesses dedicated to the craft, explains Beth Wathen of City Beer Store.” (944 – February 2010 – Read more)

Beer selles: City Beer Store, San Francisco “Craig Wathen and his wife, Beth opened City Beer Store precisely to fill that gap in the market, and because they believed in the contribution small businesses can make to the community. ”
(Beers of the World – January 2010)

Best of the Northwest Readers Choice Awards “Best Beer Store Northern California “City Beer”, San Francisco ” (Northwest Brewing News – December 2009)

Genial gathering place for craft beer enthusiasts…. “For the last 20 years, San Francisco has been a hotbed of craft beer enthusiasm, embracing strong, complex brews long before most of the country could tell the difference between Bud and Bud Light. City Beer Store, on Folsom near Eighth Street, celebrates this affinity with a selection of more than 400 beers from around the world. On any given day, owners Beth and Craig Wathen offer six beers on tap at the store’s tasting bar, where regulars become connoisseurs and strangers tend to become friends. We stopped by to blow the froth off a couple of pints and talk to people about the beverage that has fascinated great minds throughout history. ” (San Francisco Chronicle – October 2009)