Eat San Francisco: Hogwash

San Francisco (well America, really…nay, the world) is experiencing a craft beer obsession approaching religious proportions these days; there are three multi tapped gastropubs within walking distance of my apartment, however, I frequent, and enjoy, all three. The people say they want specialty brews and salty, fattening snacks, give it them, good sir!!

Hogwash is one of the three, a Union Square (Sutter at Mason) spot outfitted with thirty taps pouring local suds, serving a simple but quality ingredient laden menu of sausages, fried stuff, and salads. They open at five, which is a bummer, because beer and a sausage sounds divine for weekend lunch, when everyone else in town is forcing eggs on the dining public, but, I digress.

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Since their opening last December, Hogwash has been packed from about 6:00 on, most especially (and most obviously) on weekends. My approach is to arrive at 5:00, for a pre-dinner dinner, or, to settle in for a long night of beer and grazing. The space is long and somewhat narrow, filled with as much seating as they could muster without sacrificing comfort; a communal table joyously arted out by a hog literally being washed along one wall:

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Four high tops set for six, but I’ve seen them accommodate more, including standers, along the other wall:

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A cozy back bar area with three two tops, flanked by cushy, full backed seats (they will pull extra up extra stools should you want to sit four)

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And of course, the bar, which I have just noticed does have two clandestine TV’s (bonus. No, a must, at times)

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Which houses the taps in a really lovely hunk of gleaming white marble-topped with celestially lit glassware:

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Overall, Hogwash has a modern, clean, smartly designed feel; the view from back to front is particularly appealing, with a full scope of the front room topped by a sort of geometric bubble bulb “chandelier”

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I’ll just get this out of the way now. At Hogwash, ordering a 56 oz glass of beer is an option. It’s not only option, it’s an option frequently chosen by many; they’re all over the place, including, but not limited to, my husbands hands should we be there. Yeah. It’s a two hander. Behold:

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If that doesn’t illustrate the point of the hog-goblet well enough (yes, it’s called a hog-goblet), perhaps this does.

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More importantly, Hogwash offers a five liter keg, to be tapped at your table. I see your challenge, Hogwash, and I raise you a blacked out keg stand. Beer offerings are as expected for such a place; a nice array of sours, pilsners, nutty browns, coffee stouts, barley wines, IPA’s, etc. For the beer hater in your life, and we all have one (it’s not just me, right?) red, white, and sparkling wine is also available.

The ordering system is, get in, get a table, get to the bar, start a tab, order both food and drink, take a number, get your beer and sip happily at your table, which will be set with all of the accoutrements necessary for a meal of sausage and fried goodies

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The kitchen displays a little hipster snark, courtesy of what appears to be a magnet wall, smart, for adaptability purposes

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The sausage comes to Hogwash from Le Beau http://lebeaumarket.com/, Russian Hill’s most fabulous local, gourmet, bodega. On our first visit we blew our load on the wurstfest platter, a sampling of them all, served with kraut and beer mustard.

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The spicy habanero chicken and lamb sausage were standouts, the lamb, nice and gamey, the habanero, full flavored, well seasoned, and spicy.

In a moment of overzealous and redundant ordering, we also went with a habanero caesar, then requested more spicy chicken habanero sausage as an add-on, and yes, it was a bit much. On its own, however, it’s a fine salad, tangy with a bit of spice, generously loaded with hunks of sausage and croutons, and nice, large, crisp pieces of romaine

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Because the four of us really needed to end the night in a bilious haze of sodium and cholesterol, we added a hearty tin full of crisp, hand-cut fries

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On another visit, we sampled the fried pickles that people absolutely lose their minds over, if the internet is to be believed.

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Yep. They’re awesome. The batter is light and fluffy and they taste like they had a tussle with some Lawry’s seasoned salt which is my hands down my favorite form of MSG. I loved these. Actually I loved them so much we got another order.

The curry fries are also pretty spectacular, a) because curry fries are just delicious, and b) because this curry has a particular and extra special depth of flavor, but let’s not ignore the elephant in the room; that duck egg on top…creamy egg yolk smothered all over salty fries. A yes, always.

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The Abe Froman, a beef and cheddar sausage with thousand island, tomatoes, and lettuce, a straightforward and tasty combo, housed in a nice soft roll

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And a revisit from the Chicken Habanero, which I didn’t enjoy nearly as much when topped with fried avocado, which I just can’t get behind. Avocado is one of my favorite foods on the planet, and I keep encountering it fried, and it just does not work for me. At all. My dining companions, however, enjoyed this combo.

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They’re not reinventing the wheel at Hogwash, which in a lot of ways is refreshing. It’s nice to just plop down and enjoy some serious beer with some not so serious food sometimes; we could all use a break from pretentiousness, yes?

Hogwash
http://www.hogwashsf.com/
582 Sutter st.
San Francisco, CA 94102
415-361-5500

Hogwash on Urbanspoon

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