The opening of a new brewery in town is always cause for celebration, as well as for inquisitive emails to those who beat you to the taps. This time I'm the first person I know personally to actually have made a pilgrimage to San Francisco's Inner Sunset District to check out the mere-weeks-old WUNDER BREWING, located on 9th Avenue between Irving & Judah. Firstly, WUNDER is an olde-tyme SF beer from the pre-prohibition days, and brewer "John Wonder" decided to serendipidously rename his new venture after these elder pioneers. Secondly, as I wrote erlier, this new brewery takes over the equipment and the cursed location of the former ELDOS BREWERY, a place that for whatever reason was the most under-the-radar brewery of all time, and one which usually elicited the reaction, "dude, there's a brewery in the Inner Sunset? Since when?". I sincerely wish John Wonder and the Wunder crew a much better fate, and based on my first visit, I suspect they're already earning it.
Now I'll be diplomatic & recognize that in week three it's unlikely that any brewery's going to ascend the lofty heights to the catbird seats of Bay Area brewers like Russian River, Moylan's or Lagunitas. But these guys did pretty darn alright, particularly with one beer. After my last day of work at my most recent, now rear-viewed job, I got large samples of four of the five different beers on tap, and one was so good I got a big 'ol glass of it as a follow-up. Here's the lowdown on Wunder Beer as seen that day:
WUNDER PALE ALE - An acidic but quite juicy pale ale, also very cloudy and possibly unfiltered. I thought it was OK, and likely need a bigger glass next time. 6/10.
WUNDER PORTER - Clean, crisp and very light porter, which was something of a surprise. Roasted-tasting but not especially malty - quite good. 7/10.
WUNDER BROWN - This was the winner, a delicious dark brown ale that felt more rich and interesting than the typical English-style session ale. Very malty and creamy. More of this will be consumed in 2007, mark my words. 7.5/10
WUNDER IPA - The only no-doubt-about-it bust of the afternoon - a flat, pale yellow, boring IPA that led me to "wunder" if they maybe brought this one out before it was finished baking in the back. I heart IPAs so maybe this was just an allowable first-timer boner. I'll check back and report to you on this matter soon. 4/10.
WUNDER BREWING has a great ambiance about it (more upscale than most establishments of its type) and though I didn't try any food, I'm confident that I can even haul in a cantankerous 4-year-old here with no problem, and we'll all leave with our bellies full of grog and grub. I'm coming back. In sum, a strong start to what I hope will blossom into one of the City's finest along with MAGNOLIA and 21ST AMENDMENT.