San Francisco has a lot to offer in terms of food and drink with almost every street in the city’s 49-square miles filled with restaurants and bars. The best part? Some of those bars are breweries, too!
I decided to take a trip to the less-known Social Kitchen & Brewery and I am definitely glad I did. Social Kitchen is a semi-recent addition to the Inner Sunset district. Not even two-years old, it brings some serious flavor and funk to the beer scene. Their beer menu has the familiar beer-faces, but it also has some standouts that I had never heard of like grätzer. So, I decided to pick a beer in the most thoughtful way I know how – I picked the name I liked most!
The White Thai Affair is Social Kitchen’s Rapscallion golden ale, but with a serious edge to it. It has a see-through amber color and when first poured, it has a light and creamy head. It smells like many malty ale’s do with a slight heavy sweetness to its aroma. The White Thai Affair has flavors of lemongrass and ginger; both are clearly recognized when the ale first hits your tongue. The description also mentions galangal which I had never heard of prior to drinking this ale, but apparently it explains the peppery ginger-like bite that this ale possesses. Although not mentioned in the lengthy description of the ale, I tasted a sweet richness that reminded me of coconut milk which was my favorite flavor in the ale as it helped to smooth the spicy citrus from the other ingredients. The White Thai Affair is boiled for a long time which successfully increases fermentable sugars. While I generally like hearty and sweet ales, I found this one to be a little too rich for me. However, I think paired with the right food, this could become a quick favorite.
Hence the name, this ale would have paired beautifully with Thai food! The ale needed a rich-flavored dish and possibly a spicy one with some kick to enhance and mellow the flavors simultaneously. I chose to order Social Kitchen’s beer-battered sweet potato tempura fries which, while delicious, did not show case White Thai’s flavors enough.
Overall, I would say that the White Thai Affair teeters between a grade of good and outstanding. In this case, I feel I failed the beer by not ordering the right food with it. This may be an excuse to try the White Thai Affair again.
Social Kitchen and Brewery, 1326 9th Avenue San Francisco, CA 94122.
White Thai Affair: $7