BEER COMPLEXION: No one questions the fact that beer's profile has risen as fast as foam over the years. Consider that the ubiquitous beverage, even a few years back, had developed something of a homely reputation for being watery and lacking in backbone. This wasn't true in all quarters, of course; dedicated brewers continued to make suds brimming with character and body. Their ranks have grown, of course, and now a really fine brew is pretty much de rigeur in bars and taverns. But if you really want to applaud beer's nearly highbrow rep, look only to SF Beer Week, which gets foaming from Feb. 10 through 19.
LET US CLARIFY: We're not saying beer has gone snooty in San Francisco; au contraire. We merely mean that this is a city that is serious and almost scholarly about its approach to adult beverages. San Francisco Cocktail Week, which happens every fall, is so packed with information and such you nearly want to buy textbooks before attending (Cocktail Weekists, this is a compliment). So a ten-day Bay Area party devoted to the pleasures of the mug will surely be as interesting. Meet-the-brewer events, pizza parties, a Sierra Nevada sipping session, and blending seminars are just a few of the highlights on the lengthy schedule. Oh, and a Valentine's event to boot; you're covered, hopsians. You are well covered.