San Francisco boasts a guild of craft breweries. There are some great names on the list from Anchor, who I will always consider the grandfather of the West Coast IPA, to Speakeasy and 21st Amendment who I’ve been very impressed with but haven’t visited yet. I also went to Magnolia while I was in town and I loved that place so much that I forgot to review the beers. All of that to say that I am a big fan of San Francisco’s craft beer scene and there are a lot of great places to go if you’re ever in town.
Which brings me to the bad news. Beach Chalet, while a great place with good food and view of the bay is quite frankly an embarrassment to brewpubs anywhere. I should have known when I looked around and didn’t see people drinking their beers that this was going to be a bad tasting. Unfortunately, once one person gets a sampler, everyone starts ordering one. I share this with you so you will not make the same mistake I did by doing a sampler even if you see someone order it.
VFW light – Beach Chalet was created during the depression and that’s somehow supposed to explain the name of the beer. This has a unique malt characteristic unless it’s coming from the hops. No info on the menu or a sheet to tell me anything about the beer. Called an Ale, but it has a pilsner sour aftertaste.
Presidio IPA – served second but I’m not doing that. Really think it’s a shame they serve this second. Lots of sour in the aftertaste. This is one you want to drink side by side with water. My drinking buddy hated it.
Riptide Red – a little light on the caramel for this style but it’s still present.
Crystal Wheat – served fourth but I tasted it second. Lighter than the VFW. Filtered. Similar in taste to Stella Artois. Surprised it’s a wheat beer actually. No evidence of it in the taste or head. My partner assures me that this had more flavor and a heavier mouth feel. Great beach beer. I think this was the strong pale – described as Floral and citrus hop flavor and aroma. And this is my point. I don’t think they even served me the beers correctly. I’m positive this wasn’t the wheat even though the map said that’s what it was. Very disappointed. And this was Sunday brunch. You’d think they’d put their best foot forward.
Strong Pale – I really think these were served out of order and this was indeed the filtered wheat. Nice head that lasted a long time.
Green Death – maltiest beer on the menu – Belgian style made for beer week in Feb – this is a winner. Great flavor. It’s got a sweetness but it’s not the right word. Fruity, strawberry? Partner tasted caramel. Takes over your whole mouth. Great beer. Paired with crab eggs Benedict which was delicious.
Dark Passenger Imperial Black IPA – quite a bit smoother than the Presidio. Full bodied – roasted flavor.
Trippel – served the best for last. Unfiltered, sweet, smooth. Perfect aperitif.
So, there you go. Two beers out of eight were good but the whole experience was tainted by the lack of information given with the sampler, the fact that two beers were mixed up on the tray indicates that the servers were not well versed on their beers, and the décor and smell of the whole place reeked of a hotel lounge bar. I’m all about historical significance but when you’re a slum lord who rests your reputation on a mural on the wall downstairs instead of really trying to brew a beer worthy of your San Francisco counterparts, then shame on you for even joining the guild. Maybe membership is mandatory? It would be like having a strip club owner join the chamber of commerce. Seriously, stop ordering the beer here.