Tapas and Beer at Thirsty Bear

Looking for a restaurant in San Francisco that serves delicious food? There are many to choose from, but what about one that serves local and organic craft beer and food? Thirsty Bear organic restaurant and brewery is just the right place.

Ron Silberstein, founder, owner, and head brewer of Thirsty Bear, says that “Understanding huge environmental impacts to our soil, water, and health from using fossil fuels as pesticides and fertilizers,” is what led him to becoming “a certified green business by the city of San Francisco, and having [the] brewery certified organic by the CCOF…” back in 2007.

The restaurant purchases from local farms and purveyors such as Country Line Harvest in Petaluma, Frog Hollow Farms in Brentwood, and Cleanfish in San Francisco. All food and brew waste is composted through the city, thus providing future natural compost that will be given back to local farms for use in their fields.

Another reason Thirsty Bear became an organic restaurant and brewery was “The rising social consciousness of farmers and consumers” causing a “demand for organic products,” Ron says.  Keeping all of this in mind, Ron has provided a place “Where people can relax, socialize, drink, and eat in a venue where they consciously minimize the environmental impact to our earth.”

Thirsty Bear satisfies the need for a quality selection of organic craft beer with its variety of ten to twelve beers on tap at any given time, rotating throughout the year. “In deciding what type of specialty beer to create, one of the obvious determinants is seasonality,” says brewmaster Brenden Dobel.  Right now “The classics are Oktoberfest and Harvest Ales for autumn,” he says. The current Harvest Ale on tap is an earthy brew called the 15th Anniversary Red Ale, which is made with hops grown on Hopmeister Farm in Clear Lake, California.  Now, what could be better than pairing one of these delicious fall beers with a menu of gourmet appetizers?

Patatas Bravas. Photo by Melissa Vogt

Ron chose tapas, Spanish-style appetizers, to dictate the restaurant’s menu. The heirloom tomato flatbread was a lighter and much tastier version of an average pizza—consisting of green tomato compote, garlic confit, and a sherry reduction sauce on top of a crispy triangle of flatbread. The sherry reduction was sweet and complemented the acidity of the tomato compote quite nicely, providing a light and refreshing version of a normally very heavy meal.

The escalivada terrine, a grilled eggplant and squash cake-like patty, was topped with laura chenel goat cheese, romesco, and parsley oil.  The contrast of the pungent goat cheese and the sweet grilled eggplant was a well prepared culmination of flavors.  One particularly simple, but flavorful dish, was the patatas bravas—fried Kennebec potatoes topped with a tomato-based brava sauce, and served with a delicate aioli for dipping. The potatoes were cooked to perfection—perfectly brown and crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. The spiciness was enhanced by the bold flavors of the brava sauce, and the aioli acted as a counterpart, soothing the spice with its creamy and light flavor.

To wash it all down, The Local Dish sampled the tasting platter, which featured every beer on tap right now.  “Beer is very food friendly,” Brenden says, and he is definitely right. Swing by Thirsty Bear and pair up your own seasonal beer picks with delicious appetizers!

Top Image: Brewmaster Brenden Dobel. Photo by Melissa Vogt

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