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Are bears really thirsty?

This past week was busy and uneventful for the most part. I took a day to do absolutely nothing but sit at home, watch movies, cross things off my to-do list, etc. It was a day of lazy glory. I loved it and needed it. I haven’t done it in so long I forgot how fantastic it was to do NOTHING. I might need to do it more often.

But this past weekend I did none of that. I was out and about trying to wrangle up a few last minute gifts, enjoy a birthday celebration and have friends over for dinner. Did I mention I had a HUGE mountain of laundry I had to fit in there. No one wants to hear about my dirty clothes so I’ll spare the details because they aren’t pretty.

On saturday night we had dinner plans with a big group of friends for a birthday celebration. The birthday girl picked the place and we all met up.

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We went to the ThirstyBear in San Francisco. It’s a brewery that serves Spanish tapas. I’m not a huge tapas person because they are generally over priced for what you get. But this place wasn’t too bad. Darren and I decided to split two items since we weren’t too hungry. We probably made the two best decisions EVER.

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I’d like to introduce you to bocadillos. These bad boys are mini-burgers made from a mix of pork, lamb and beef with a caper aioli, slice of hard boiled egg and the tastiest bun. They were served with a fingerling potato salad that was all right. The real star of this meal was the mini-burgers (most people call them sliders). They were a little rarer than I usually like  my burger but it didn’t matter at all because once I took a bite I forgot all about the pink meat and only enjoyed the mix of flavors in my mouth. I’ve never had a burger with any type of egg except a fried one but boy was the boiled egg a nice touch. Mmmm.

Our second choice was by far our favorite. The burgers were good and had a nice flavor but the flavor in this soup won hands down. I will definitely be re-creating this chorizo, lentil, bacon and kale soup. The flavors all went together perfectly. It had just the right amount of seasoning and spice and was not at all overwhelming or too much of one thing. I can’t explain it any other way but to say it was absolutely delish! I’ve only tried lentils this year and have quickly fallen head over heels in love with them.

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I’m not a huge beer drinker so I didn’t try much of the beer. I sipped a friends Golden Vanilla beer which had a hint of vanilla which was actually quite good. I also split a Polar Bear Pilsner with Darren simply because I liked the name. It was pretty tasty and refreshing. I’m not a beer connoisseur so I can’t give you much more in depth info than that.

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One thing I took note of and really like about this place is that it’s the only SF certified organic brewery. I thought that was really interesting and cool.  “ThirstyBear offers the beer drinker traditional beers, unique interpretations of traditional beers and wholly unique beers. Our ingredients must respect our earth and our bodies. Thus we are San Francisco’s first and only CCOF certified organic brewery. Our beers are good for you and growing those grains and hops did not pollute the earth or the farm workers with chemicals, pesticides and petroleum based fertilizers.”

Anna’s great job at her 5k on this past Saturday inspired me and I’m signed up for my first one on January 15th. I’m not much of runner but am trying to get better at it and improve not only my distance but my time. So here goes nothing on my first attempt. I’m off to the gym for a little cross training and some leg work to get them burning.

* I was not compensated for this review. These are my own opinions about a restaurant I went to on my own accord and paid for out of my own wallet. *

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Just What the Doctor Ordered

Maybe the doctor wouldn’t have ordered a Sierra Nevada Brewing tour complete with 8 beer tasting but that’s what I did the day after Thanksgiving. Myself, Darren and my dad made the hour drive down to Chico from my parents to tour Sierra Nevada. I wasn’t THAT interested in it when we were going but they might need a sober driver so I obliged. Pictures are sprinkled throughout – sorry for the bad lighting – it was good in some places and bad in others.

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We got there around 1pm only to learn that all the tours were full until 4:30 pm. We only got on that tour because there were two spots open and I begged asked if it was possible to squeeze one more person on. They agreed – only after I bribed them. So we decided to grab lunch and do a little perusing around Costco. I don’t know about all of you but I LOVE Costco. I have no idea why but even if I don’t need anything I like to walk around and look at everything. Call me crazy but I think its fun!

After lunch and a Costco trip we headed back with a little time to kill. Darren and my dad both bough pull over sweatshirts within seconds of being in the store. It was like the world was ending and all the Sierra Nevada sweatshirts would no long exist. I’ve never seen two grown men whip out their credit cards that fast for a piece of clothing.

After they sold their soul bought their new fashion accessory sweatshirts we were just about ready for the tour. Putting aside my feelings of disgust for 90% of beers I actually enjoyed the tour. Sierra Nevada is doing some really cool things. Here are some interesting facts I learned:

  • They produce 85% of their own electricity.
  • They have a cow farm that supplies their restaurant and the left over’s of barley and stuff from the beer making process is food for said cows. They also sell it to many local farmers in the area as well – simply because they have SO MUCH.
  • They are starting a canning line so you can drink Sierra Nevada out of a can now!
  • They are the 6th largest brewery in the U.S.
  • They grow the hops, etc. on site for their Estate Homegrown Ale
  • They are able to recover and recycle most of the CO2 for use around the brewery and during the bottle-filling process to assist in dispensing ales and beers.

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The tour with tasting lasts about 2 hours. The tour itself was about 1 hour and 15 minutes. That leaves 45 minutes for the best part. Beer drinking! I liked two of the beers and could handle a few others. I say of the 8 we tried I liked maybe 4. I really liked the Kellerweis and an un-named Rye IPA.

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If you are ever in the area I DEFINITLEY would recommend taking a look at it. Even if you’re not a big beer drinker (I’m not either) the way they run this facility is really cool and very green and forward thinking. Plus its free and everyone was so knowledgeable and friendly. For people that like art they had some really cool paintings on the wall that looked 3D (but weren’t) and tiles that no two are alike that someone painted.

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