Prost Office

Fort Point Beer Co. is forging a new path

When we think of all the saisons, tripels and sours we've drunk over the past five years, we get a little woozy. But the month-old Fort Point Beer Co. isn't producing a single Belgian-style ale.

Instead, it's going German.

Justin and Tyler Catalana have been brewing at Mill Valley Beerworks, their bistro, since 2010. This winter, they took up occupancy in a cavernous Presidio warehouse and began shipping kegs around the Bay Area.

The German influence came about almost by accident. "Since Beerworks is a restaurant," Justin says, "we needed to brew balanced, lighter beers that went well with food, which happens to describe most German beers. Then we started to embrace it."

Fort Point's KSA is one of the liveliest kölsches we've yet tasted, clean yet nutty, as if it were a richer beer on a slimming regimen.

The Westfalia–malty and toasty but light, the hops giving it a precise edge–was inspired by a rotbier that brewmaster Mike Schnebeck tasted in a tiny brewery in Nuremberg.

Fort Point's richest beer, the Manzanita, is a collaboration with Freigeist Bierkultur, a forward-thinking brewery in Cologne. The brew's smoky cast comes from charred California wood.

You can find Fort Point beers at places such as City Beer Store and and Biergarten. Taste the full lineup at Rogue Ales Public House–and Mill Valley Beerworks, of course.

You'll have to bring your own stein.