ChuckAlek Biergarten, North Park
[Note added 7/24/2018: ChuckAlek has announced that due to declining business and the fact that the owners are moving out of state to take new jobs, the Ramona brewery will close at the end of July 2018 and the North Park Biergarten will close at the beginning of September 2018.]
The Biergarten in North Park provides exactly what it says: beer, in a garden. There is no indoor space associated with this location. The fire pits and heaters will ensure you stay comfortable even on "cool" San Diego winter evenings (I think it went all the way down to 55 F this week!). It is a beautiful spot to sit on an afternoon, or even better when the sun is setting. The seating areas are nestled among the plants, so you can find a spot that feels like "yours" even if there are a lot of people there, whether you are with a group or on a date.
The Hussar (Smoked Beer, 4% ABV). The beautiful smokiness comes as a surprise after seeing the cloudy bright straw color. With a light flavor and aclean, smooth mouthfeel, there's a touch of sweet and sour on the finish. 3.5/5
The server was excellent: Friendly, helpful, and very knowledgeable about the "old world" beers ChuckAlek emphasizes. She even changed out a gas canister on the fire pit to make sure we were comfortable.
Trading Co. Burgundy (Flanders Red Ale, 6% ABV). This sour red delivers. Just the right pucker factor, some sweetness, almost a grape soda flavor on the lingering finish. The wine casks in which it was aged add a wonderful element. 4/5
There is no food served in this location but you can bring your own or order it in. Tostada's shares the front side of this building if you are interested in some ceviche. (By the way, although the address is on University Ave., the entrance to the Biergarten is actually on Herman Ave.)
Dowser (Altbier, 5.4% ABV). I first had altbier in its natural habitat, Düsseldorf, Germany. This version is not a dead-ringer for that, but it is very close and it is a good beer in its own right. Deep amber color, caramel flavors, quite drinkable. 3.25/5
ChuckAlek Biergarten is just a three minute walk from North Park Brewing, which is just a one minute walk from Mike Hess Brewing. That's a top-notch beer tour in a 0.2 mile radius!
Lo Cali Common (California Common Ale, 3.5% ABV). This tastes like a light session IPA. Very approachable. Would be very refreshing on a hot day, in large quantities. At the beach. With your favorite person. Now I'm Cali Dreamin'. 3.5/5
ChuckAlek Biergarten is a great place to send an afternoon or evening with your friends and some quality beers in a beautiful and relaxing garden setting.
ChuckAlek Biergarten, 3139 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92104
Don't Just Take My Word For It (Links to Related Beer Writing)
San Diego Eater's announcement of the opening.
San Diego Reader's nice write-up.