Here are a few of our highlights from the first Friday and Saturday of San Diego Beer Week; photos over on our Facebook.
11/4 – Stone Rare Beer Breakfast — You didn’t have to wait until the afternoon (or even noon) to starting drinking as San Diego Beer Week was kicked off with Stone’s Rare Beer Breakfast at 9am Friday morning. For those not looking to drink beer right away an all-you-can eat buffet was setup with some fantastic creations from Chef Alex. Highlights included the pork belly served on a Belgium waffle and the made to order omelets featuring cured meats, fresh vegetables from Stone Farm and black truffle. Add in a crepe station, bagels and lox, caviar, fresh fruit and a cinnamon roll-like breakfast roll and you were ready to start drinking the wonderful list of beers beverage coordinator “Dr.” Bill Sysak gathered for the event.
Lines for beer were short, even for the bottle pours that included rare beers from The Bruery, Deschutes, Midnight Sun, Goose Island and plenty of Belgium breweries. The draft list featured beer from many San Diego breweries along with Deschutes, Midnight Sun’s one off collaboration with Green Flash, Dogfish Head, Russian River, Lost Abbey’s limited one off blend Ad Lib, Sierra Nevada’s line of 30th Anniversary beers, even more obscure Belgium breweries the most people have never heard of and one-off Stone variations of Arrogant Bastard Ale with coconut and 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA with espresso beans.
The food aspect helped balance the otherwise continuous sampling of beer and it was fun trying to pair tasters of beer with all the food. It’s an event worth checking out next time around if you are able to take Friday off from work and willing to start drinking early in the morning. — Ryan Reschan
11/4 – San Diego’s Top Brewers Launch Party w/ Tap Hunter @ Mission Brewery — Hordes of San Diegans took shelter with their favorite brewers inside Mission Brewery on Friday night for the launch party of “the official book of San Diego craft beer.” A book signing with the beaming local celebrities that was meant to last just one hour turned into two as the line of attendees eager for signatures simply kept rebuilding; the brewers didn’t mind, though, and most were dumbfounded at how many books they’d actually signed. This event was not only significant on the brewer-fan level, but on the brewer-brewer level as well, for as much as we like to think of our local guys all collaborating by day and drinking by night, it’s actually pretty rare to have this many of them in a room together considering their hectic schedules. Dan Love of Vista’s Mother Earth for example commented that he’d never had the opportunity to sit and chat with Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey’s Tomme Arthur for such an extended period of time. Check out all the photos from this event, including links to Chefs Press’ “Have a Beer with the Brewer” videos, over on our Facebook page.
11/5 – San Diego Brewers Guild Festival @ Liberty Station — All 32 members of the San Diego Brewers Guild plus many of its affiliate members took part in SDBW’s official kickoff event on Saturday. Ticket sales were through the roof as local beer-friendly radio station FM 94/9 had also purposed the event as its ninth birthday celebration. Beer lovers Mayor Jerry Sanders and Sam the Cooking Guy teamed up to tap the kickoff cask of Karl Strauss’ Tower 10 IPA on the main stage. Both San Diego Beer Blog and Brewery Rowe picked out three of the brews they tasted at the festival. Over on our Facebook you’ll find 120 photos from the event.
11/5 – ASSEMBLY w/ LoveLikeBeer & San Diego Beer Blog @ Sea Rocket Bistro — Kory and Derek from LoveLikeBeer have now put on four vegan beer events around town benefiting various charities and philanthropic causes. On Saturday night, Sea Rocket Bistro played host to a sit-down, prix-fixe vegan beer dinner featuring Chef Chad White’s creations alongside rarely-in-SD beers from Michigan’s Jolly Pumpkin Brewery (all vegan beers by a vegan brewer); the local chapter of Engineers Without Borders received 5% of the evening’s proceeds. When asked how the charities they support are chosen, Kory responded that sometimes the venue will have a charity in mind, as was the case with To-Firkin Friday at Hamilton’s in early September. In other cases it’s simply a charity or cause that gives the guys inspiration. For this event, Kory had been inspired by Eugene of EWB-SD when he met him working at 3rd Space in University Heights.
The menu featured beer tasting notes from San Diego Beer Blog/WC staffer Jeff Hammett, who had seen Jolly Pumpkin’s Ron Jeffries speak at the National Homebrewers Conference in June. The first course, a pear salad with Belgian endive chipotle cinnamon walnut, aged cashew cheese, clove agave nectar & Port gastrique, was expertly paired with the brewery’s fall seasonal, Fuego Del Otono. Chef Chad White would later comment that the cashew cheese was the only part of the entire menu prepared before Saturday. Dish #2, a pumpkin gnocchi with cured black olive puree, fennel confit and nutmeg-roasted pepitas mixed with Jolly Pumpkin’s La Percela. The next course, a smoked seitan sausage with spiced apple chai tea, saurkraut, crostini & mustard was the highlight of my night, going very well with the brewery’s flagship, Bam Biere. The night was rounded off with a coffee-malted chocolate cake with ganache, beer-macerated cherries & curry gastric, paired with Bam Noire, the darker side of Bam Biere. Chef White, known as The Bacon Guy to many, had found creating the menu “a cool challenge that I really enjoyed. I’m very happy with everything here.”