The Coast News Group
Smoked shrimp hotdog from Chef Paul Arias with an AleSmith Hop Cypher, Double Dry-hopped West Coast IPA. Photo by Jeff Spanier
Smoked shrimp hotdog from Chef Paul Arias with an AleSmith Hop Cypher, Double Dry-hopped West Coast IPA. Photo by Jeff Spanier
Cheers! North County Columns Food & Wine

San Diego Beer Week ends with celebration at The Lodge

The San Diego Brewers Guild on Nov. 13 celebrated the end of Beer Week 2022 on the Arroyo Terrace at The Lodge at Torrey Pines. The culminating event featured local chefs matched with San Diego brewers to create food and beer pairings.

The event, according to San Diego Brewers Guild executive director Paige McWey-Acers, “is a crucial fundraiser for both the Chef Celebration of San Diego and the San Diego Brewers Guild so that we can offer our industries educational programs and training. The restaurant and craft beer industries are pillars of the San Diego economy, and our organizations support these small businesses all year long.”

“Chef Celebration coordinates the restaurants while the guild coordinates the breweries,” said McWey-Acers. “This is a highly-anticipated and sought-after event by our brewery members, so we conduct an annual lottery to help us put together our list of 28 breweries that Chef Celebration then matches with their 14 selected chefs.”

The day couldn’t have been more stunning: 72 degrees and sunny.

Clayton Leblanc, co-owner of Eppig Brewing (left) with Chef Hanis Cavin of Buona Forchetta Restaurant Group. Photo by Jeff Spanier
Clayton Leblanc, co-owner of Eppig Brewing (left) with chef Hanis Cavin of Buona Forchetta Restaurant Group. Photo by Jeff Spanier

My first stop was to meet Jeff Lozano and chef Tommy Dimella, both with Ballast Point Brewing Company. Chef Dimella was serving chargrilled marble potatoes with bacon jam and parsnip bechamel. I paired the potatoes with a Wahoo White Belgian-style white ale and let Lozano share his thoughts on food and beer.

“We’ve [Ballast Point] taken an elevated approach to the food component to compliment our world-class beer,” Lozano explained. “And we’re having fun in the kitchen again!”

In my attempt to fully appreciate the pairings, I turned to chef Lance Repp of the Cove House. Repp’s roast butternut squash and avocado toast with crispy prosciutto, honey sherry syrup and toasted hazelnuts could be paired with a dark lager, Negra Magnifico by Dos Desperados or a chili beer, Blakely by Smoking Cannon.

 Carly Poulson of Jacked Up Brewing with a plate of Prime Firecracker Sirloin Strips. Photo by Jeff Spanier
Carly Poulson of Jacked Up Brewing with a plate of Prime Firecracker Sirloin Strips. Photo by Jeff Spanier

“Each beer will bring out different flavors in the dish,” Repp said. “The roasted flavors in the Negra Magnifico bring out the autumn notes in the squash. And the chili beer compliments the sweeter notes.”

“Our goal is to showcase the close relationship between artisanal food and craft beer, and we are so fortunate to have both right here in San Diego,” said McWey-Acers. “By having each chef paired with two breweries, the guest has an opportunity to experience the three C’s of pairing: contrast, complement, and cleanse. By having two different beers paired with one menu item, guests can directly taste the impact a beer can have on food.”

I found a sunny bench overlooking the golf course and the Pacific Ocean and gave it my best shot. It was easy enough to recognize I had a wonderful dish and two great beers at hand.

Jon Bautista, chef at Kingfisher, prepared a Baja Bay scallops plate that was simply amazing when paired with either Coronado Brewing’s Weekend Vibes IPA or Thorn Brewing’s Foreplay Belgian Blonde.

I asked Bautista about the meal: “Every time I taste this dish, I think [Wow!]–I made this!” I concurred with his enthusiasm, and several guests were noted making repeat trips to Chef Bautista’s station.

My expertise in food tasting is limited, so I’ll sum up by saying everything I tasted was, in a word, exceptional.

The Cove House and Smoking Cannon team. Photo by Jeff Spanier
The Cove House and Smoking Cannon team. Photo by Jeff Spanier

The beer selections were equally impressive, with many breweries bringing something different than the standard IPA offerings. A few standouts included California Wild Ales’ Diabolical, a barrel-aged spelt saison. This farmhouse-style saison was spiced with notes of coriander, white pepper and clove with a dry finish.

Eppig Brewing showcased its 6th anniversary Imperial Schwarzbier. Rouleur Brewing and Mother Earth brought stout ales, Grimpeur Oatmeal stout and Milk Truck Latte stout, respectively.

“It’s a beautiful setting. I love playing golf here, so being here and drinking amazing beer and eating craft food like this [gesturing to the scallops], what’s not to like,” said Sam, a guest on his third trip to Chef Bautista and a Thorn beer.

“It’s never too early to start planning,” said McWey-Acers. “So mark your calendars for November 12, 2023, for the next one.” The date has been noted on my calendar.

Jeff Spanier is the host of I Like Beer the Podcast, available wherever you get podcasts. You can also follow him on Instagram @ilikebeerthepodcast.

Do you want to buy a house?

Leave a Comment