Notes from CA, Part III: Beers

So I am sad to say that our first drinking experiences in San Francisco were not all that we were dreaming of. Our first adventures in town (yes, of course, after a day of hiking through the Golden Gate Park and down along the Coast Trail–in rare low 90s temps for San Francisco even) were at Thirsty Bear Brewing. The place was nice enough although a bit more upscale than we were really in the mood for. The “tapas” menu was a bit ridiculous–I really wish I had taken pictures. The two-cheese appetizer for instance, was four incredibly small, thin sliced of unremarkable cheese with about a quarter teaspoon of marmalade and even less of a non-descript fruit sauce (what fruit was that anyway?). We did have a beet salad appetizer that was pretty nice but then we had a veggie “paella” that could barely be described as such. Some risotto in a puddle of chicken stock (so much for the vegetarian part, and so much for the delicious crunchy rice bottom that makes a paella) with no saffron, a few small pieces of asparagus and a few olives. Hmmmm. The beers did better, but not a whole lot. I did have the Golden Hallucination that was a pretty nice belgian ale, but otherwise everything was fairly bland (and the Golden Vanilla was fairly undrinkable in my opinion). This did not bode well for our California drinking adventures.

I had no real intention of going to Gordon Biersch, but it was close to our hotel so we thought we’d at least try a few more beers (and we were too exhausted by that point to hunt down better bars). It was pretty much as I expected: solid beers that were quite drinkable but nothing to go to California for. I had a Maerzen that was decent but that was about it.

Fortunately, I knew that we were just beginning and the good stuff was coming soon enough. And except for another disappointing experience at North Coast a few nights later, everything else proved to be all that we’d gone to CA for. But that’s a story for the next posting.


2 Responses to “Notes from CA, Part III: Beers”

  1. cbdilger Says:

    Funny, I thought much the same thing about Magnolia in ’04. Though Thirsty Bear was far, far better for us than it was for you. Did you make it to SFBC or 21st Amendment?

  2. GJF Says:

    Yea, I had heard good things about Thirsty Bear from several people so I was surprised–and a little saddened. Oh well, maybe it was a fluke.
    We didn’t get to 21st Amendment which was on our list–too many things to do, not enough time! I guess that sounds like an adventure for MLA in Dec.

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