Traveling Tuesday: Thirsty Bear Brewing Company – San Francisco, CA

While my wife (#102) and I (#13) were in San Francisco this summer, we stayed just off of Union Square, a major commercial area of the city.  That area is full of great independent and national hotels – we opted for the former – and it’s the kind of place where you’re as likely to find a Burberry storefront as you are to find a Walgreens.  Seeing as we don’t…um, “wear” designers like Armani, we didn’t spend much time around there.

But if you head southeast a few blocks from Union Square, you’ll run into a nice little park called “Yerba Buena Gardens.” Note that “yerba buena” translates to “good herb.”  It has a charming little park, but we spotted none of the aforementioned good herb.  Keep walking another block or so and you’ll stumble upon the Thirsty Bear Brewing Company.  Then you’ll go inside and have a couple great beers and some tapas.  You might even see some flamenco dancing.  Sure beats taking out a second mortgage on a Gucci purse, right?

At the Thirsty Bear Brewing Company, bears drink free…okay, not really.

Why is it called the “Thirsty Bear?” An article from 1991 on the wall sheds some light on the inspiration (click on the picture for larger image).  It goes something like this: bear escapes, bear wanders into Ukrainian bar, man offers beer to bear, bear bites man, bear gets drunk, bear falls asleep, AP staff writer has best day of career.

The bar showcases the serving tanks, the available beers, and the fact that the brewery is certified organic.

Here’s a better look at the beer list.


We were thirsty, too, so of course we got a sampler.  It included all their available beers, except the cask selections. But the very helpful bartender let us sample those as well.

The Golden Vanilla is one of their most popular, and with good reason. It’s very refreshing and has a pronounced note of vanilla, without tasting like a novelty.  It reminded us a little of cream soda…we would love to try it on nitro.  The Meyer ESB and Kozlov Stout were other standouts.

Here’s the carnage.  We really enjoyed our time at Thirsty Bear Brewing and highly recommend it.  Very worth checking out if you’re in San Francisco.

-John (#13) and Erin (#102)