Normally when I take my five-year-old son off on a beer-drinking excursion it’s well-planned, if somewhat subtly executed. Something along the lines of, “Hey, how would you like to take a boat trip that just happens to end up at the Marin Brewing Company, big guy?” (this really happened). But the other day, in the course of helping him to learn how to ride a bike (OK, how about a collective “awwwww”?), we somehow turned this Norman Rockwell-esque, “my young man's growin’ up” moment in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park into a chance for Dad to suck down a new high-ABV Belgian-style ale he’d never had before.
My son was just tearing through the park on his training wheels, and it dawned on me that should he continue down the literal path he was on for another 20 blocks or so, we’d end up in THE BEACH CHALET & BREWERY’s parking lot. C’mon son, you can do it….! I hadn’t been to the Beach Chalet, I’m ashamed to admit, since around 2000-2001 or maybe even the late 1990s. It is in a beautiful spot – right at the end of San Francisco and the west coast, right on the Pacific Ocean. For nearly 12 years they’ve been serving a bevy of hand-crafted ales and lagers to tourists and some locals, often adventuresome hikers, bike-riders and kite-flyers willing the brave the area’s strong winds & generally foggy weather. We happened to be there on a fantastic sunny day (this past Sunday), and both of us needed a liquid reward after traversing many miles to get there.
I tried two beers. Let me just get the bad one out of the way first – it was an English-style bitter called D.B.A., or DEE’S BITTER ALE. It was warmly served out of a cask, and tasted alternately of copper and of metalloids of unknown origin. 4/10. That said, BEACH CHALET makes a very fine Belgian-style tripel called TRIPEL THREAT. It’s pictured here. Note the complementary crayons in the background. It pours a pumpkin orange color and is exceptionally yeasty. What I like about it is it was way more hoppy than I expected, sort of like one of them newfangled Belgo-American IPA/Tripel hybrids the kids are always getting their knickers in a twist about. It tasted fresh and alive, and could be at home at a more renown brewery like STONE or LAGUNITAS with no problem at all. I’ll totally make it back here before the end of the decade to try a couple more from these guys – just not that English thing. 7/10.