On a recent Saturday, after the SO got a haircut, we decided to hit up Biergarten in Hayes Valley since we were just around the corner. It's a venture by the folks from Suppenkuche just a few blocks over. It's an open air space surrounded by a fence and has two shipping containers set up--one for the beer pour and the other as a kitchen.
Being a rare, bright, sort of warm day in San Francisco, of course the place was packed. There was a line to order beer and food and most of the tables were full. The SO went to stake out a place to crash land while I endured the line. Part of the line reason is it's mostly draft beer that comes in 2 sizes--half liter and liter--which means big ass mugs of beer and thus it takes time to fill that many mugs. It took about 15 minutes to get to the order point. Since we weren't looking to get plastered we stuck with the half liters--which you can see are still pretty big.
I got the radler which is 2/3 Stiegl beer and 1/3 lemon soda and the SO got the Erdinger Dunkel Weizen. I'm not gonna say me or the SO are big beer drinkers, but we can appreciate a good brew every now and then. For me I don't really like beer that tastes too much like beer, so not very hoppy, otherwise it tastes like I'm drinking wet bread. I like this light pilsner with the touch of lemon soda. It gave it a nice undertone of sweetness and fizz that wasn't overwhelming. It was just enough to take the edge off the beer so it wasn't bitter, especially as it got less cold--since it took me some time to finish. I liked it. The Erdinger to me tasted like a cross between coffee and chocolate with a bit of that bitter aftertaste you can sometimes get with beer. It was dark and hearty, though not as thick as a Guinness. It wasn't my cup of beer, per se, but the SO enjoyed the chocolatey flavor and richness. Thus we each pretty much liked what we got. Since it was also dinner time and we hadn't eaten yet, we ordered a side bit of food to keep the alcohol from going straight to our heads. They had these things called a meat knot and a cheese knot on the menu so we got one of each.
Basically they were pretzel sandwiches. The cheese knot was pickled mushrooms and swiss cheese--the meat know was pastrami and pickles. Both were served on toasted, buttered pretzel dough rolls. The bread was nicely done with a touch of crunch on the outside and soft on the inside. The cheese knot was had pleasant small hits of sweet, creamy and tanginess and mixed surprisingly well. The pastrami was sliced thin and tender and had that great saltiness of corned beef. The pickles were also pleasingly sour without being puckery. Which can't be said for the pickled radish served with each sandwich. One bite and our cheeks just sucked right in--like the sourest of sour candies without the sweet aftertaste. While we weren't a fan of these we did like the sandwiches as a great compliment to the beer.
All in all we had a good time and good food, though as the sun went down it got windier and colder and some of the crowd got drunker and louder. You'd almost think you were in a German beer hall if it weren't for all the flannel, iPhones and folks speaking English. And although we aren't exactly ancient in age, we were part of only a handful of folks over the age of 40 who don't work at a start-up. That being said, if you are in the neighborhood on a sunny day I still think it's worth stopping in for a brew and snack. They have some German potato salad, deviled eggs and other items of note worth trying on the menu. Grab a beer, grab some grub, grab a seat and Prost! Zum Whol!