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Today is The Big Day – First Stop, San Fransisco: 21st Amendment

Today is the big day — stopping at the first Craft Brewery in San Fransisco to kick off “Beer on a Roll.”  The pub/brewery is called 21st Amendment (, and I loved reading about their history. They are called the 21st Amendment as that particular amendment repealed Prohibition and made brewing beer legal again. More on that in a few. So I partook in the free breakfast that Adelaide offered, and immediately took off for the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) at 9am. With the help of a local dude James, who has lived in the Berkley area all his life, I found the correct transfer to Berkley. Why Berkley? Because I had a meeting with the cousin of my friend’s (Tobey Geise) friend at his outdoor adventure company in Berkley (across the Bay, just north of Oakland), called Black Sheep Adventures ( His name is Fred Ackerman, and he is the Chief Shepherding Officer (no kidding, check out his website!). I was introduced to Fred via email, and we made an appointment for coffee. You’d never guess Fred’s background….very atypical in the outdoor adventure industry. First of all Fred graduated with an engineering degree from MIT. That got my attention right away….”This guy is different”, I thought. We visited a local coffee shop and talked about our respective backgrounds, travel adventures, and business experiences (ex: I worked at Nestle and in Fred’s consulting business — Nestle was one of his big clients). Fred is quite congenial, and I really enjoyed conversing him and learning more about his adventure business. There may even be a chance Fred and I will see each other on a professional level as well at some point in the future. We’ll see! Thanks for our visit, Fred!

Back on the BART to San Francisco! I’m feeling the butterflies–in just 3 hours, I’ll be visiting 21st Amendment, and doing my best to promote them and the craft beer industry! I inhaled a slice of pepperoni pizza as I made the 15 minute walk from the BART station to my hostel. What a beautiful day it has become (vs. the grey and cold this morning)!  Matt, my videographer, met me at the hostel at 1pm and we came up with a solid game plan to meet with the great staff at 21st Amendment.

Matt took off ahead of me to 21st Amendment, to meet the staff and “set the stage” while I called a couple more pubs/breweries to confirm appointments for the following day. Just before 3pm, I hopped on my bike and took off for 21st! The nerves were really perking up, but the great thing about bicycling in a bustling city with which you’re unfamiliar–having to negotiate with cars, people, and trolleys–is that you must stay in the moment, and constantly be aware of your surroundings. Staying in the present moment does not allow you to worry about the future. A good thing (especially now!).

I arrived at 21st Amendment — both a pub *and* a brewery located on 2nd Street (near Giants baseball stadium, AT&T Park) and Matt filmed me approaching the front door on my bike. I went inside and wow, what a spacious — yet also intimate atmosphere. I was immediately greeted by Elizabeth, the exceptional manager, who graciously paved the way for a great afternoon to get to know the pub and meet the staff, most notably, Zambo, a brewmaster at 21st. What is it about the craft beer industry that has the coolest people you would ever want to meet? Zambo was all that and more as he shared his passion for brewing, how it all started back in college when he brewed beer with friends, and how he now carries that passion at a much higher level at 21st. One cool story that Zambo shared was how he and his wife moved to San Francisco a few years back—they came up I-5 South. So on the *first day* of work at 21st, Zambo created “5 South” an American Pale Ale. It became an award-winning beer! How cool! Needless to say, it was freaking delicious too. What a smooth finish! 🙂 Zambo had to hasten back to brewing a new batch of beer in the back of the pub, so Mike — one of the bartenders (he’s got a combination of bad@ss and nice about him) offered Matt and I a beer and food. I got the wings and Matt had the chili. Both Matt and I chowed down. And yes, the food is damn good here! But the atmosphere and people will draw you in too. In fact sitting next to me was a friendly patron, Jake Lang, who was with his friend Ryan. Jake began writing down the names of other breweries and pubs I should visit along the way. If we can we will, but if not—“Beer on a Roll” 2014? 🙂 You never know! Again, craft beer brings in the coolest people, and many are cyclists as well, just like Jake. Nice to meet you Jake–and good luck with the Ragbrai bike tour across Iowa! So the staff at 21st Amendment were fantastic! Ya gotta visit them, folks! Really. Here is a video of our visit on You Tube:  21st Amendment on YouTube

Matt and I then met back at Adelaide hostel and began our work with viewing and choosing video footage as well as photos. Soon after, I met with a fellow traveler from China — a nice bonus, as she (“Rae”) took me out for a tasty dinner in China town. “No Mike, not here…it’s  not authentic enough.” What a bonus having Rae to assist with locating a great stop. “Hey Mike, let’s go in here…some of the people eating are Chinese — a good sign!” Rae also ordered the food in Chinese….I could have done it, but you know, I don’t like to show off. 🙂 After a scrumptious dinner, we walked (almost ran) to a theater near the Fillmore area of San Francisco to catch a movie, “Before Midnight”. Back to the hostel at 11:50pm (before midnight!), and straight to bed!