It was late summer, and I had a business trip to San Francisco. I was scheduled for all-day meetings for four straight days, and I knew it would be hard to find any free time to explore the local beer scene. So I went out to San Fran early and spent the weekend before my meetings with my friends Martino and Lana, who live in the Sunset District and were the best hosts that a beer-loving couch-surfer could ask for.
My co-worker Todd and I landed on a Saturday afternoon and took a cab to Martino and Lana’s house. Before my visit, I had mentioned that I wanted to visit Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant, which is on the Pacific Ocean. Lana said that the brewpub was a short walk away, so we all decided to trek over.
Three miles later (no joke), we were there. But it was worth the effort. We walked down the jogging path that runs parallel to the Pacific, with a great view the entire way. And the view of the beach from the second floor dining room of the Beach Chalet was awesome. I love the natural beauty of California, and the beer ain’t bad either!
After the cross-country flight and 3-mile hike, I was ready for a beer. Or eight…
The “Sampler Set” included all eight house beers (pictured from right to left):
- V.F.W. Light, a light lager for the masses (4.8%)
- Columbus Pale Ale, a single hop ale with Columbus hops (5.5%)
- Bavarian-Style Hefeweizen, a traditional German-style wheat beer (4.8%)
- Catcher in the Rye Roggen, a dark German-style Rye Ale (4.9%)
- Biere De Garde, a dark Belgian-style ale (6.0%)
- Presidio IPA, a classic West Coast IPA (6.8%)
- Riptide Red, a solid Amber Ale (5.6%)
- Oatmeal Stout, a smooth Stout brewed with flaked oats (5.5%)
I love IPAs, especially West Coast IPAs, so no surprise that Presidio was my favorite, but the hoppy Columbus Pale Ale was excellent too. Beach Chalet offered a nice variety in their beer line-up, with American, English, German, and Belgian styles on the menu.
The food however, was a miss. I ordered Poutine, my favorite pub grub. It sounded good: Braised Beef Poutine, with Onion Gravy, Mozzarella Curds, and Crispy Roasted Potato, Confit Garlic. But the potatoes in this dish were roasted potato wedges, not French Fries, and I didn’t like this twist on the traditional dish. And I should have known better than to order a Carolina-style BBQ sandwich in California. The pulled pork sandwich was served with Shaved Organic Baby Romaine, Jalapeño Tempura, and Apple Coleslaw. It was interesting, at least.
But you don’t go to Beach Chalet for the food. The location and hand-crafted beer are the reasons that Beach Chalet was packed.
Beach Chalet is on the second floor of a 1925 Spanish Revival building at the western end of Golden Gate Park. On the ground floor is the Golden Gate Park visitor’s center, and after dinner, we spent a few minutes checking out the visitor’s center and learning about the park. It’s a really cool spot and was a great way to kick-off our weekend in San Francisco.