The 4th Annual Mission Valley Craft Beer & Food Festival | Going Out With A Bang!

March 30, 2013

There's no better way to celebrate Sunday Funday than with all you can consume craft beer from 30 of the finest breweries in San Diego county paired with tasty offerings from nearly 20 of the best local chefs and restaurants in America's Finest City!  That was the setting at the parking lot of the Handlery Hotel for the 4th (and allegedly final) Mission Valley Craft Beer & Food Festival, which took place this past sunny Sunday, March 24th.  If you missed out, you may not get another chance, but you can live vicariously through our experience!  Let's ReCap!!!

San Diego is host to so many beer-centric festivals that you can attend at least one every month.  The Mission Valley Craft Beer & Food Festival differentiated itself from the lot (except maybe The Beer Garden at The Lodge At Torrey Pines) by focusing equally on providing patrons with the best in San Diego craft beer and upscale food offerings from some of the hottest in our thriving restaurant industry.   In attendance were such hot spots as Carnitas Snack Shack, R Gang Eatery, Farmhouse Café, Local Habit, Sea Rocket Bistro, Delicias, Slater's 50/50 and more.  Unlimited samplings of food and beer were offered throughout the day, although some brews and bites ran out far before the event ended, which is all too typical at such tasting events.

Photo by Gio Barela Photography
It was a gorgeous day in San Diego for the final installment of the MVCBF Fest, and aside from the never-ending queue at the Slater's 50/50 booth, lines were very manageable, making it easy to get firsts and seconds of any favorite taste.  Like most beer festivals, attendees were in great spirits, making it easy to find quick friends.  Many participants dressed up for the event (Comic Con pre-show?), which was entertainment all on its own, and live music from a corner stage kept the crowd invigorated throughout the day.

Handlery Hotel's delicious stuffed mussels
Of the many offerings (full list below), we absolutely adored MVCBFF organizer Handlery Hotel's offering of stuffed mussels with andouille sausage.  The stuffing used Hess Brewing's Ursus Augustus blood orange trippel which the mussels were also paired with - a smooth and delicious beer, definitely complementing the dish.  We went back for seconds and thirds of this dish as well as the beer.  Other favorites included Chef Hanis Cavin of Carnitas Snack Shack's braised pork cheek stuffed arancini ball lollipops, Farmouse Cafe's flatbread tuna melt, Brooklyn Girl's wild boar baby back ribs with kung pao glaze, and our favorite beer of the day was Societe Brewing's Harlot, a crisp and flavorful Belgian style pale ale.

Chef Karl Prohaska of the Handlery Hotel explained the reason that that this year's Mission Valley Craft Beer and Food Fest would be the last:  "MVCBF Fest IV is going to be our last. We’re going to pull back and focus on our smaller events following our original concept where the details don’t get lost in volume and we honor local craft beer and food; events like Chef Karl’s Country Boil with Societe Brewing and New Kids on the Block II, focusing on San Diego’s newest breweries. We’re going to do events that allow our Brewers and Chefs to do what they do best."  If this year's MVCBF Fest is truly the last, organizers should take solace in the fact that they definitely went out with a bang!

MVCBF Fest Organizers GM Gus Thompson and Chef Karl Prohaska
of The Handlery’s Postcards American Bistro
Follow the Handlery Hotel online and check back to learn about all the events that they have in store.  We can vouch for the fact that they know what they're doing and take pride in organizing these deliciously entertaining festivals.  For a full list of what was being offered and poured at the 4th Annual Mission Valley Craft Beer & Food Festival, see the list below:

Amore Cheesecakes - Beer Inspired Cheesecake
Baker Shake Foods - Tri Tip & Shrimp
Bernardo Winery - Chocolate Goodness
Carnitas Snack Shack - Braised Pork Cheek stuffed arancini balls
Delicias - Beer Dusted Chips, Belgian Braised Carnitas, Ghost Chili IPA Cheese Sauce
Farmhouse - Café Flatbread Tuna Melt
Handlery Hotel - Ursus Augustus Stuffed Mussels Hess Blood Orange Trippel with andouille sausage
Local Habit - Chicken & Sausage Gumbo
O'Briens Pub - Beer Braised Pork Belly Pibil Rillettes, Blood Orange Pickled Onions, Crostini
R Gang Eatery - Triple Tailgate Mac
Saiko Sushi - Sushi/VIP Only
Sea Rocket Bistro - Pork Belly Tacos with a pickled red onion, fermented jalapeno & radish salsa with Korean  BBQ sauce
Slaters 50/50 - Signature 50|50 Burger
Stone World Bistro - TJ Dogs with habañero pickle relish
Sweiners - Sweiners!
Brooklyn Girl - Wild boar baby back ribs with Kung pao glaze and peanut slaw
Terra - Beer Braised Beef Cheeks w/ Beer Mac 'n Cheese
Toronado - Red rice mac salad with soy marinated short rib.
Urge Gastropub - Shepherds's Pie with Speedway Stout Gravy & Chorizo

AleSmith - Lil' Devil & AleSmith X
Ballast Point - Dorado IIPA & Indra Kunindra Curry Export Stout
Belching Beaver - Milk Stout & Double IPA Infused w/ Habanero & Cilantro
Cold Bore - IPA & Porter
Coronado - Orange Avenue Wit & Idiot IPA
Golden Mead - Mirth in a Bottle (Orange Blossom Honey Based Mead)
Green Flash - Belgian Blonde & Green Bullet
Hangar 24 - Orange Wheat & Double IPA
Helms - Hop the RIPA (Red IPA) & Wicked as Sin West Coast IPA
Hillcrest - Banana Hammock Scotch Ale & Hoppy Endings IPA
Iron Fire - Synner Pale Ale, Dead on Arrival DIPA & 51/50 IPA
Karl Strauss - Big Barrel IIPA, Boardwalk Black Rye IPA, Pintail Pale Ale
Lightning - Elemental Pilsner & Thunderweizen
Mad Lab - IB Blonde Ale, Anarchy Citrus IPA & One Night Stand (Chocolate, Coffee Oatmeal, Vanilla Stout)
Manzanita - Riverwalk Blonde & Rustic Horizon Red IPA
Maui (w/ Stone) - Big Swell IPA, Coconut Porter, Bikini Blonde Lager
Oggi's - Double Dribble Imperial Red Ale & Presidio IPA
On The Tracks - Golden Spike Ale, Eald Cifesboren Old Ale, & Mildly Sour Stout
Lost Abbey - Red Barn & Lost & Found
Prohibition - Ruby Red & Extra Pale Ale
Rough Draft - Belgian Style Blonde & Weekday IPA
San Diego - Old Saxon & Blueberry Wheat
Societe - The Harlot Belgian Extra & The Pupil IPA
Stone - Levitation & Ruination
Thorn St - IPA & Agave Amber
Wet-n-Reckless - Honey Badger Don't Care & Golden Boy

Additional Brews by:
El Cajon, Hess, Latitude 33, Monkey Paw & The Beer Company