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Eldos Grill & Brewery : Four Years and Going Strong
By Angela Wagner

Joe Agrillo, brewer, and George Smith, owner of Eldos. Photo by Angela Wagner

Sometimes you just love a brewpub, and sometimes you love it even more because the owner and brewer are such great people. This is definitely the case with Eldos Grill & Brewery, located in the Inner Sunset district of San Francisco. Just a few blocks up from the City’s open-space playground, Golden Gate Park, Eldos will celebrate its fourth anniversary this summer. With this milestone at hand, it seemed like a good time to sit down over a pint and some nachos and reflect with owner George Smith and Brewmaster Joe Agrillo.

The pub was opened by George, the warmest of restaurateurs, in 2001. Given that the location already had brewing equipment, it was decided that the place should remain a brewpub. New to brewing, George hired Joe to take over the fermentation reins in 2002. A great selection of beers is produced, including one of my favorite San Francisco–brewed pilsners, Nine Ball Pilsner. It’s a traditional Czech-style pils that’s crisp and refreshing.

A few special beers are in the works for anniversary celebrating. Joe is brewing a Belgian-style dubbel using Trappist yeast, as well as a double IPA called the Rumble N-Judah, named after the public transportation line that runs right by the pub (with this beer at 8.5% abv, one may need to seriously consider this streetcar as means of departure!). And, aging nicely in a Pinot Noir barrel is Joe’s Pollywog Porter. This is a special wine barrel–aged version of the standard Eldos porter.

All of this creativity comes from a brewer who was self-taught. With a rich science background, Joe has always been interested in fermentation. He has fermented his own miso, wine and cider and continues to create cyser (an almost-winelike beverage with apples and honey — kind of like mead meets cider). Joe got started in professional brewing at the venerable San Francisco Brewing Company in 1999.

It’s a warm place with good people and really good beer. Comfort abounds.

Joe’s creative side is further exhibited by his musical talent. He’s a guitarist of formidable skill, and he frequently plays with the beer industry’s Rolling Boil Blues Band.

As for the pub itself, it’s a long, narrow space with touches of photographic art and paintings reflecting a Southwest theme. To this end, the menu is decidedly California with a touch of Southwest spice. My favorite menu items include the pozole soup, fish tacos and quesadillas. You can also get a great burger, chicken sandwich and fresh fish dishes. Food is presented in ample portions and goes well with the beer selections. The nachos are “mountainesque.” A full bar is featured as well.

As for the neighborhood, Eldos is just down the hill from the University of California Health Sciences Center, so it’s a favorite place of many med students and docs. It’s also a real family neighborhood with lots of regulars that stop by the pub. Its location, a couple of blocks up from Golden Gate Park, makes it a natural stop on the way to or from any park-related activities. It’s a warm place with good people and really good beer. Comfort abounds.

Heartfelt congratulations to George and Joe on their fourth anniversary. Look for a summer solstice anniversary party this summer.

Eldos Grill & Brewery
1326 9th Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94122

Angela Wagner is a San Francisco–based writer/photographer.


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