Top 10 Tips for a Great BBQ


For those of you who haven’t heard yet or you’re visiting our site for the very first time we’re going to launch a whole new BBQ food menu in the next few months!  We couldn’t be more excited about the direction that we’re heading and the new value we believe we will bring to our guests.  With that said, let me stop short of turning this into a press release and get to our topic at hand our top 10 things every great barbecue needs to make it a great BBQ.

10. Grill

For the purpose of this blog we’re going to assume you already own or have access to a grill.  If not, you can purchase one at any local hardware store or you can go all out and get one from a dealer like the BBQ-PROS in Los Banos.  Our first tip is having a clean grill so that each time you BBQ it’s like the first time.  For helpful tips on how to clean your grill visit wikiHOW.

9. Condiments

Ah condiments, if you do BBQ correctly you probably won’t need them.  The hope is that there’s already enough BBQ sauce or dry rub on your meat to make it taste just right.  Also, depending on what region your BBQ is from you may find that condiments just clash with that style of BBQ.  For example in South Carolina where they use mustard sauce.  To learn more about barbeque styles, check out The Serious Eats.

8. Décor

This is where it gets serious, regardless if you’re doing it as a pro for a restaurant or in your backyard you don’t want to get this one wrong!  Actually it really doesn’t matter a whole lot.  We’ve been to some very cheesy BBQ restaurants that look like a scene out of a Smokey and the Bandit movie and others that look a little more formal.  Regardless of which spot you visit what’s most important is the food and how much you enjoy the flavors of the barbeque.  If you’re hosting a few folks over for a backyard BBQ then check out Pinterest they’re always good for an idea or two around decorating for your next get together.

7. Correct Cut

Having the correct cut of meat is just as important as having the right rub or sauce for your meal.  So what should you do about this?  We recommend searching online for a few tips and tricks prior to going out to the grocery store to get your meat.  If you know BBQ then you’ll know that Aaron Franklin is one of the if not the most expert person on all things BBQ.  Check out his video on how to trim brisket as a good intro.

6. Activities

You need activities to keep people away from your grill.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking people can wait for your world famous pulled pork.  They can’t, so figure out something like Cards Against Humanity or Corn Hole to keep the grill vultures at bay.  That way you can ensure that uncle Eddie doesn’t eat half of your meal before it gets to your plate. 

5. Beer

Sure you can go with just about any cocktail for your BBQ.  However, we’re bias so our beverage of choice to help us wash down that brisket is BEER!  Our 415 Fog, South City Brown, or even Moes Gose are all really great beers to help you get the very best out of your barbeque.   Check out our full beer menu on our beer page.

4. Biscuit or Cornbread

Both! Either way you cut it having something to soak up your sauce is important.  Don’t be that guy who gets everyone excited about their BBQ only to not provide a staple of the meal. Jerk!  Can’t decide which to go with?  Don’t worry because the Pillsbury Doughboy has it figured out so that you can have the best of both worlds.  That guy, check out his Barbecue Pork-Cornbread Bombs recipe on the Pillsbury site.

3. Side Dishes

Side dishes can make or break your barbecue, so pick wisely.  Mac and Cheese or some type of pasta in our book is always a must have.  Another must side dish is Cole Slaw, though it isn’t always easy to pull off and a lot a places think that their slaw is the best…it’s not!  We say keep it simple with any of the sides you pick like potato salad, collard greens, beans, or anything else you can think of preparing.  The list of sides you can make is endless, if you can’t think of any on your own see 16 Great Barbecue Side Dishes to spark some ideas.

2. Fire & Smoke

At the end of the day one of the most important if not the most important thing you need to think about when doing BBQ is fire and smoke control.  Too much and you burn or smoke out your meat to a point it’s no longer enjoyable.  Too little and you run the risk of your meat being under cooked and bland.  Controlling your heat source isn’t easy, but if you can do it correctly it will make all the difference in the world.  View The Mad Scientist BBQ video help you out with tips and tricks on how to start the prefect fire.


1. Wet Wipes

You laugh, but when you’re in the middle of scarfing down your meal you’re not going to want to get up to go wash your hands.  We all know that paper towels aren’t always enough.  Invented by Arthur Julius in 1957 and released at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago this small packaged product is a must have.  P.S. Shot out to Colonel Sanders for having the foresight to purchase them for use at KFC.  Without that purchase we would all still be whipping our hands on our white shirts, not a good look.

The Perfect Father’s Day Gift Ideas!


This is always one of the hardest questions to answer, what to get dad for Father’s Day?  If you’re lucky you have a father who will make it easy on you because he has a hobby, passion, or interest like playing golf that will help you generate ideas.   But what about the dad who has everything or is just hard to buy for?  Don’t worry because we’ve got you covered!  Here’s our top ten list of cool gifts for dad this Father’s Day.  Make sure to read all the options on this list because we’ve got an item for all types of dad’s for all budgets.

No. 10 Jeep Hurricane Concept   Price: $2 Million

For the father with everything, get him a Jeep Hurricane!  For a cool $2 million (YEA MILLION!) you can get dad the jeep of his dreams.  Think of all the fun the two of you can have exploring new terrain.  It’s totted to be the most powerful 4X4 ever built, light carbon fiber body, two 5.7 liter, and an 8 cylinder HEMI engine.  It’ll get you a top speed of 155 mph, because half the fun is getting to where you’re going gast!

No. 9 Whiskey Tour at Seven Stills in SF   Price: $23 per ticket

Looking for something both you and dad can enjoy when he’s in town with his new JEEP HURRICANE you just bought him?  Why not do a tour of Seven Stills in San Francisco, Ca?  On their tour you’ll get to taste craft spirits and check out their copper pot still.  It’s a fun way to start you father’s day or cap off that lunch you just ate together.  Either way both of you will be glad that you stopped by for a tour and a taste.

No. 8 Lunch at New England Lobster Market & Eatery   Price: $10+

Speaking of lunch, if your dad loves seafood especially lobster then head over to New England Lobster Market & Eatery in Burlingame, Ca.  They have crab nachos, lobster rolls, and our favorite… LOBSTER TACOS!  With both outdoor and indoor seating it’s always a good day to visit them.  Parking can be a challenge, but if you’re patient you’ll usually find a spot nearby.

No. 7 Beer Aroma Booster    Price: $39

If your dad loves the first sip of beer he takes?  You can now help him recreate that pleasurable moment each time his beer settles with the Beer Aroma Booster.  The way it works is when the beer’s head dissipates you place the glass on a vibrating plate where you then add two teaspoons of water.  Allowing dad to enjoy his favorite beer sip after sip.

No.6 Beer Cap Map of USA   Price: $29

We’ve already established that your father probably likes to travel.  But when he’s not driving around that rough terrain in his JEEP HURRICANE you bought him he’s probably visiting other U.S. States and trying their beers.  With the Beer Cap Map he can now remember those fun trips and craft breweries by adding their bottle caps to his very own giant wood map.

No.5 Moto Windbreaker by Relwen   Price: $188

There are many, many options when it comes to windbreakers.  Just about any store you shop at has them come spring.  Plus you wouldn’t want dad catching a cold on while driving super-fast in his jeep.  Relwen has a number of really great clothing options and in the fall a great place to shop for flannel shirts and outer wear.

No.4 Gerber Covert Auto Pocket Knife   Price: $45

Dad needs a new pocket knife, you wouldn’t want him to be caught in a fight with a bear without one!  Make sure he’s equipped to take on what nature throws at him with a pocket knife from Gerber.  This sturdy knife fits nicely in your pocket and will hold up to the elements over time.

No. 3 American Felling Axe   Price: $550

Dad needs this Axe and he wants you to buy him one!  Not only will this axe help you cut down any tree in your way of build the ultimate log cabin, it will also make for a great talking piece on the mantel of said new cabin.  Built by Northmen Guild this axe is meant to be used and enjoyed for generations to come.  It’s one of those tools that he’ll be proud to say he owns and something that will build memories for years to come.  Northmen Guild does some really great stuff so check out the other items they have on their site as well.

No. 2 How to Taste Beer Class Price: $30

If both you and your father love beer then our beer class is a great gift for dad.  Enjoy a fun class in our taproom as Head Brewer Nick goes over the science, sensory notes of both taste and smell, and how these elements affect how you taste beer.  Included in this class you’ll receive a flight of beer as well as a beer note book.

No. 1 Bev Tie Price: $20

Yes!  You guessed it the number 1 item we think you should buy your Dad is a tie.  But not any tie a Bev Tie, why?  Because what dad couldn’t use a tie that holds your beer while you do dad stuff.  It comes in multiple colors so you can get dad the ultimate stylish Father’s Day gift without breaking the bank.

We hope we were able to help you find that perfect gift for dad this year.  If not you can always just bring him by our brewery for a fun day out with friends and family.  Happy Father’s Day!

The “Craft” in Craft Brewing

building a brewery

We’re still trying to figure out what our blog’s focus or direction should be.  But recently it occurred to us that many people visiting our taproom have a lot of questions.  During our last blog post “Best places to drink and eat in South San Francisco” we tried to help you find the best spots, to… well… drink and eat!  For this post we’re going to attempt to help answer a commonly asked question we often get, “what makes you a craft brewery?”

Craft brewing has become synonymous with describing small scale breweries.  When you think about local breweries you probably automatically think about great tasting beers made by bearded guys or women wearing pick boots (pink boots society) usually out of a warehouse or garage.  You’re not wrong to think about all those iconic images.  But we encourage you think beyond just beards, pink boots, warehouses, and locally produced beers.  For most small craft breweries including ourselves it means more, it means craft everything.  When we started building out our South San Francisco location a few years back none of us really knew what we were doing.  But thanks to a little research, Google, and many nights watching YouTube videos we soon figured out how to build and craft many new and wonderful things.  Like a historical looking bar, wood tables, and at the end of the day a neighborhood brewery making craft beers that locals in South City could easily access by walking, car, or Caltrain.

Brewing a few batches of beer a month will definitely make you a brewery.  However, what truly makes you a craft brewery is the number of different things that you do each day to create value from very little or nothing at all.  It’s about building a craft beer community through your talents and skills.  In addition to developing those new skills it’s also about teaching others what you know about brewing, all while using your creativity to turn grain, hops, water, and yeast into an alcoholic beverage that you believe is the best beer around.   As with any craft it takes intuition, practice, and patience to create what others will appreciate or call inspirational.

The next time you visit a craft brewery we want you to think about a few things while drinking your favorite brew.  In addition to making the beers, your brewer probably also did the drywall, cement work, and artwork you see in the taproom.  They spent their morning brewery beers and their evenings writing a newsletter announcing their next beer release, or even hosting a popular trivia night every Wednesday night like we do (shameless plug).  They probably spent their last dime ordering growlers or glasses needed to fill with beer.  And will most likely spend their weekends at a beer festival or picking up empty kegs to batch their next beer run.  A lot of what makes craft brewing a craft is often never thought of or seen by most looking to enter into the industry or start their own local brewpub.

With this insight into craft brewing if you still want to open up your own brewery great!  Because we can always use a new place to go and enjoy a beer, meet new friends, and see you hone the craft.  If after knowing what it takes to start a brewery you no longer find yourself wanting to enter the industry there is nothing wrong with that too.  Because as we said earlier in this blog post, craft brewing is just as much about folks enjoying the beers we produce as it is about producing the beers.  But untimely what makes a brewery a craft brewery is the innovation, do it yourself attitude, ideas, and effort it takes to run these small business.  And ultimately at the heart of it all a willingness to learn new things as you go and the hope that what you do doesn’t turn into a Pinterest fail!

Best places to drink and eat in South San Francisco, Ca


One of the most common questions we get bartending at our brewery is, “What’s there to do in South City?”  Well here is our take on what there’s to do in South City.  Most of which involves eating and drinking.    If you agree with our options great, if not let us know what other options we should consider telling or guests or trying out for ourselves in the comment section of this post.

1. Beer- We of course had to start here, with two breweries (47 Hills & us) whom offer different ambiances and beer styles you can’t go wrong visiting either or both.  47 Hills often has food trucks at their spot while we have one of the best trivia nights in the Bay Area every Wednesday.  Our brewery is also a great place for those trying to grab a quick bite or pint before they get on their home flight out of SFO.

2. Drink- The one thing South City has plenty of is bars; our favorites include the Standby, Hometown Heroes, & Foundry & Lux.  The Standby is always a good spot to stop by right after work to grab a cocktail and free slice of pizza when offered.  Hometown Heroes offers some of the best street tacos around and is a must stop on Taco Tuesday.  If you’re looking for a spot to bowl and have a drink Foundry & Lux has you covered.   For all these location check their times before going as they do vary.

3. Mexican Food- There’s no shortage of great Mexican cuisine in South City.  For Mexican food we recommend starting off at La Tapatia.  Located next door to us, they make it convenient when you’re in a rush to swing by grab a burrito or quesadilla and go.  Just down from La Tapatia is El Farolito they do street tacos well and their salsas are very flavorful.  Taqueria La Morena is a great spot to sit down and enjoy a meal with family and friends.

4. Sandwiches-Here’s where the debate begins.  In my opinion no city does sandwiches better or has more to choose from than South City.  That being said here are our top 3 best spots to visit. Located on Airport Boulevard Darby Dan’s does it right with their garlic mayo sauce.  It doesn’t matter which sandwich you get, if the garlic sauce is on it, you’re winning.  Bogy’s Hofbrau will make sure that you don’t leave hungry.  They offer a number of plate dishes besides just sandwiches if you’re looking to skip all the carbs.  Whether you go with a sandwich or plate, their freshly cut meats with tasty sides make it a must stop.   Finally King’s Sandwich makes our list, super friendly staff that always have a good recommendation for the food mood you’re in that day.  If you have time, also check out Little Lucca, Big Belly Deli, and Subculture.

5. Coffee- We love our coffee in South City and there are two spots that you’ll want to visit while in town.  Amis Creperie + Café is all about locally sourced items, Mark will make sure that you get a cup of coffee made to your liking.   His knowledge of coffee will impress you and his creps will inspire the start of your day.  We can’t say enough great things about his spot.  If you venture past City Hall you’ll run into Antigua Coffee Shop.  What makes Antigua unique is that they offer beer on tap in addition to coffee!  There aren’t too many coffee shops that can say the same.

6. Mediterranean Food-If you’re pressed for time Ali Baba is the spot to go, they do a solid job on their lamb & beer wraps (Combo #2).  The ambiance of the place is great and they have plenty of options on their menu.  If you have the time, then we recommend Amoura Restaurant.  Service is great, the food is fantastic, as well as their bacon wrapped dates.

7. Sushi- Izanami knows sushi, and if you’re looking for romen this is the spot to go.  They have so many sushi options on their menu you’ll be challenged to decide on what you want to order.  Though Kamu Sushi has a small store front don’t be fooled, their sushi comes with big flavor!  We advise ordering a bento box and some rolls for an awesome meal out.

8. Jamaican Food- Next door to Kamu Sushi you’ll find Flavas Jamaican Grill.  Enjoy Jerk Pork, Chicken, or Oxtail to just name a few of their dishes.  The portions are large so you’ll definitely get your money worth when you order a plate with them.

9. Asian Food- If you’re looking for something different try Ben Tres’ their mouthwatering Vietnamese food will leave you wanting more.  Looking for BBQ? Try Fil-Am located on Grand Ave, they specialize in Filipino cuisine and offer favorites like pancit and lumpia.  Peanut Sauce? Thai Satay offers Thai food dishes that are both tasty and filling.  If you’re looking to get your heart rate up, this is the spot to try some spicy food.

10. Tired of all the eating?  Check out Bitters & Bottles, they have a spirits selection that will blow your mind.  They do a great job of stocking hard to find items and will help you find that perfect bottle for that hard to shop for person in your life.

There you go our list of top spots to stop by the next time you’re in South City or just hungry.

Bring Craft Distilling to South San Francisco

Like many other great American success stories ours too started from humble beginnings in our founder Nick Armstrong’s garage.  We strive to push the envelop each day at Armstrong Brewing Co. from our novel approach of recapturing CO2 in our process to our one-of-a-kind brewing system that delivers high quality beers while at the same time reducing our overall environmental footprint.  Today that same great energy that inspired Nick to start our brewery is alive and well with our nextventure.   We were the first  craft brewery in South City and now we want to be the first to bring craft distilling to our hometown and still make it uniquely ours. 

We have heard your requests and feedback for distilled beverages and are up to the challenge of creating fine whiskeys in a fraction of the time required through traditional methods.  We have the concept and the drive to do this, but we are going to need your help.

Your contributions will assist us in securing the necessary permitting, the components to build our prototype, and resources needed to develop this innovative process.  The faster we can recieve funds the sooner we will be able to develop and release these new beverages.  Join us on our journey to turn the whiskey industry on its head and put South City on the map for being a pioneer in one more industry!

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