These days, craft beer isn't just a plus on the menus of fine restaurants—it's a must.
Michael Mina’s namesake restaurant supplements the extensive wine list with Westmalle Trappist Tripel Ale, while mainstay fancy eatery Jardinière takes things up a notch. The Civic Center Cal-French restaurant not only has a stellar beer menu, but it also has its own Jardinière Ale, a strong ale brewed by FiftyFifty Brewing Co. and aged in the restaurant's Elijah Craig 12-year barrel.
More and more, restaurants are designing entrées specifically with beer pairings in mind. Here are three great SF restaurants focusing on beer almost as much as food.
Recently opened in Cow Hollow, this brasserie gives classic Belgian dishes a San Francisco twist. Bar manager Ryan Murphy, also a certified cicerone, says, “I hope to give back to our guests by broadening their understanding of beer in a way that allows them to communicate preferences and tastes, while at the same time getting them excited about craft beer.”
Murphy suggests you order the dry roasted mussels with an Oud Beersel Geuze ("The brininess and sweetness from mussels is tempered by the brightness and acidity from the Geuze"); asparagus salad, celery hearts and sauce gribiche with a St. Archer White ("The wonderful natural flavors of asparagus are highlighted by the refreshing, low intensity of an American made Belgian Wit”); or Carbonade, the Flemish beer stew, paired with a Rodenbach Grand Cru (“Rich and elegant, this short rib stew is like a hug for the stomach. Rodenbach Grand Cru balances the subtle flavors of wood, fruit, wine and balsamic vinegar").
This Tenderloin favorite is already known for their housemade sausages and burgers. Jasper’s currently features Chef Sally Yu’s entry for The James Beard Foundation’s Better Burger Project. Having spent time in Australia and New Zealand, she created a jazzed-up version of the burgers she enjoyed there.
The California Oz Burger (a 60/40 blend of chuck beef and mushrooms topped with melted cheddar, pineapple aioli, avocado, beetroot carpaccio, tomatoes, red onion, leaf lettuce and a sunny-side-up egg) pairs perfectly with Anchor Brewing’s Brotherhood Steam. Similar to Anchor’s flagship Steam beer, this one is dry-hopping with Citra and Nelson Sauvin hops for a zestier citrus bite that’s perfect to slice through the juice of the burger. Jasper's is one of the few places where you can find Brotherhood Steam on tap.
A little over a year ago, new owners Andrew Chun and Jan Wiginton revitalized not only the interior of this venerable German restaurant but the menus as well. The beer selection, originally curated by master cicerone Rich Higgins, is now maintained by beverage director Mauro Cirilli, while chef Manfred Wrembel oversees the food.
We recommend ordering the wiener schnitzel a la Holstein (so called for the addition of Spanish anchovies, capers, and two fried eggs) paired with Maisel’s Weisse. Wrembel says Maisel Weisse is one of his all-around favorites any time, but he particularly recommends it with this dish because its crisp acidity gives the meal a lighter feel for summer.
Schroeder’s is hosting events on the second Saturday of each month with live music from local bands like Polkalicious. The next event is July 11.