The fourth and final day of my Bay Area trip started off uneventfully. Leisurely packing, then coffee at a cool little cafe en route to the BART station. I got up to the Macarthur station platform, and the SF-bound train was right there with the doors open. I scurried onto the closest car, but soon noticed two things: there were way too many people on it for post-morning rush hour, and the doors weren’t closing. Eventually I found out that in one of the downtown Oakland stations someone had jumped onto the tracks (not in front of a train, though) and was running around the tunnels. The BART police were searching for him, but he was a slippery one, apparently — the entire BART system shut down for about an hour. By the time I finally got to San Francisco and ThirstyBear Brewing, I was quite the hungry bear. Ha! Yeah, anyway, the hostess kindly showed me an out-of-the-way spot where I could park my rolling carry-on bag before I sat down at the bar, where I got some food and a flight. An interesting thing about ThirstyBear is they are certified organic. Makes sense it being SF and all, but as far as I know there aren’t many organic breweries in the Bay Area, surprisingly. Go figure. Full disclosure: I’m a UC Berkeley alum, so I think this place has a great name.

Go ThirstyBears!

ThirstyBear’s taster flight at a very jaunty and artistic angle — San Francisco, CA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Grizzly Bear Red Ale – 6.5% – Fairly big caramel and biscuit maltiness, with big herbal and spicy hops.
  • Kozlov Stout – 6.3% – Nitro pour. Creamy smooth with solid coffee/chocolate flavors.
  • SF Winter Beer – 6.1% – California Common with spices. Light a little bit creamy. Caramel maltiness, herbal hops, and a nice spice profile that all mixed well.
  • Doppelbock – 7.2% – Light with roasty maltiness and herbal hops. Smooth, but with a touch of spiciness.
    The Rest

  • Polar Bear Pils – 5.7% – Light bready with spicy hops. Light bitterness on the finish. Very drinkable, but maybe too light at the end.
  • Panda Bear Ale – 4.5% – Golden ale made with cocoa nibs and vanilla beans. Caramel malt and chocolate and vanilla flavors. Interesting mix but didn’t work for me.
  • Valencia Wheat – 5% – Belgian-style wit with coriander and orange peel. Decent spice, some banana/clove flavor, muted sweetness. Should’ve been a lot more interesting.
  • Meyer ESB – 6.4% – Nitro pour. Really smooth. Big biscuit malt and a touch of honey. Body is a little weak, though.

They had a guest IPA on tap because they were out of their own. Usually this would make me put a brewery on my re-visit list, but with so many other places I want to check out next time I’m in the Bay Area I don’t think that’ll be the case with ThirstyBear, unfortunately. So many beers, so little time…

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