San Francisco Beer Week is upon us once more — and despite the name, the 10-day brew extravaganza spans the greater Bay Area, with hundreds of events running Feb. 10-19 at locations from San Jose to Berkeley and beyond. There’s so much to see, do and sample.

I was one of the co-founders of the festival, now in its ninth year. These days, I have little to do with putting it on, beyond supporting it and attending as many events as possible. So consider this an insider’s survival guide to making it through the week with minimal frustration and maximum fun.

Beer Week kick-off
The festivities kick off at 6 p.m. Feb. 10 with the annual opening gala at San Francisco’s Pier 48. The event, which sells out every year, offers an opportunity to sample beer from 125 Northern California breweries. Tickets — $80 general admission, $120 for VIP admission at 5 p.m. — were flying out the door last week, so hurry. Details on the gala, as well as the other festival events can be found at