Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lamb Takedown at the Thirsty Bear Brewery

For our Anniversary, I took the Lumberjack to the Lamb Takedown, a new (?) event at the Thirsty Bear Brewery in San Francisco.  I had never been to this local brewery but always meant to go, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to not only try out their beers, but also try some interesting edible treats.

It was sort of an Iron Chef event, where local chefs all had to do something exciting with a bunch of lamb.  My favourites were teams that had put some work into their display (see #14, tiny lamb cakes with pine nuts - they were delicious, yes, but also such a cute display!).

It was a pretty good set-up in the brewery - certainly crowded, but enough room to walk around and try some of everything.  My only concern was that there weren't a lot of places to stand where you could put down your plate &/or beer, which meant we frequently had our hands full.  Since I had wanted to try beer/lamb pairings, this made things tricky and a little frustrating at times.  But still, the food was delicious.

My two favourites both involved pickled things, which was surprising to me since I'm still learning to like the pickled flavour.  My number one choice was #9, the "Braised Lamb Buns" which had pickled radish, cucumber, and apricot/sriracha bbq sauce.  SO DELICIOUS.  The best part was that they provided little cups of extra sauce.  And that sauce was damn good.  My second choice, which I believe was the Lumberjack's first choice, and which earned Fourth Place in the People's Choice voting, was #16: Braised lamb with bluecheese and lemongrass and pickled onion on a little polenta bed.  Holy crap, so good.

And then, there was the beer.  I had the Howard Street IPA (IPA, 7% ABV).  It had a pretty honey colour, and just a little lacing.  It smelled like apricots, and tasted nice and fruity.  It had a sparkliness to it, which was a good match for the spicier lamb choices.  I really liked the hops, which were light and gentle, and added to the bubbly/sparkly nature of the beer.  Overall: I am a big fan.

The Lumberjack had Kozlov Stout (Dry Stout, 5% ABV).  It was quite solid and dark, with just a little foam on top.  It was nice and dry, very toasty.  The website says there's chocolate and coffee in there, but I didn't taste that - just the same, it was a really solid stout.  It wasn't too heavy or thick, which made it a good match for a food competition.  The darkness of it blended nicely with the dark lamb meat, especially on the heavier options like pastas and stews.

Later I tried their ESB, which I thought was tasty, and I think it was nitro because it was very smooth and soft.  But after drinking half the glass I got a little bored (as is probably obvious since I didn't take notes), and traded it with the Lumberjack for the rest of his IPA.  So good.

Final thoughts: fun event, good food, tasty beer.  Now I want to go back and get a flight so I can try the other options!


  1. I want to go to this too. Can we schedule this and go with our special men friends?

  2. When it comes back to town, absolutely. It is a good place to bring a special man friend to. I wish we were in Chicago since the next one is a BACON TAKEDOWN. Holy crap.