ReCap - Chef Celebration and the San Diego Brewers Guild Demonstrate the Beauty of Beer at the Lodge at Torrey Pines Beer Garden

Chef Sinsay's Clam dish with Aztec Chipotle IPA
November 16, 2012

The 4th Annual San Diego Beer Week began with the raucous Brewers Guild Festival at The Port Pavilion at Broadway Pier, and ended with subdued elegance at the Lodge at Torrey Pines Beer Garden.  The two events could not be more different, and at the same time more demonstrative of the range of reach and application that beer has in our society. Presented by the Chef Celebration Foundation and the San Diego Brewers Guild, the sold-out Beer Garden event featured unlimited samplings of tasty, gourmet creations by San Diego's finest chefs, scientifically paired with beer offerings from the finest craft breweries our community has to offer.  It was a beautiful day in a gorgeous setting, and an event not to be missed in the future, as it seems to get better each year.
'Beer Jesus' is such an awesome nickname.
Great work, Sam The Cooking Guy!
Taking place on November 11th, the Beer Garden at the Lodge at Torrey Pines was packed with participants donning their Sunday best, bouncing from station to station to indulge in beautiful offerings from 11 different chefs, each presenting at least one dish paired with 2 craft beers.  Local celebrities Sam "The Cooking Guy" Zien and Stone CEO Greg "Beer Jesus" Koch both got the day off this time around and were spotted enjoying themselves with beer and food in hand.  

Much thought and preparation went into the beer pairings.  Local beer genius and Certified Cicerone, "Dr." Bill Sysak of Stone World Bistro and Gardens, was retained to assist in the formulation of harmonious combinations of food and drink.  Sysak reviewed each chef's planned dish, took them to the list of breweries, and came up with perfect craft beer pairings to demonstrate how beer works just as well (if not better!) with fine food as wine or any other beverage.   Pairing dishes with brewers, rather than the opposite, Sysak was able to show the scope of craft beer as an accompaniment and complement to delicious food.

Ritual Tavern's pickled beef tongue
The Beer Garden Event at the Lodge at Torrey Pines is a beautiful blend of fundraising for San Diego Brewers Guild and the Chef Celebration Foundation.  The San Diego Brewers Guild works tirelessly to promote awareness of fresh, locally-brewerd beer in San Diego, and they do a great job, as the San Diego craft beer community continues to gain worldwide notoriety as an epicenter for beer brewing.  For the fourth straight year, SD Brewers Guild has held Beer Week, which is embraced across the county by restaurants and pubs eager to showcase San Diego's most thriving industry.  The Chef Celebration Foundation is a non profit organization that brings teams of award winning local chefs together to raise funds for an annual scholarship program to send promising young culinarians to culinary school, spending a record $40,000+ on scholarships in 2012.  This year alone, Chef Celebration is proud to say that they were able to send 12 students to the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa, CA.  Together at the Lodge at Torrey Pines Beer Garden, the San Diego Brewers Guild and Chef Celebration Foundation become perfect partners for a rare opportunity to showcase how beer comes together perfectly with fine dining.

"Beer is a much easier pairing beverage than wine because of its effervescence," explained Chef Celebration President Jim Phillips.  "Champagne is an amazingly easy thing to pair with food because of the cleansing ability of the bubbles.  Same thing with beer only it's on a wider spectrum because there are so many possibilities of flavor."

The majority of the chef's cooking at the Beer Garden were members of Chef Celebration.  Chefs offered the following dishes and pairings at the Beer Garden:

Braised goat flatbread
Paul McCabe of Delicias
Braised Goat Flatbread with Beer Poached Pears, Goat Cheese, and Arugala
Paired with Stumblefoot Otay Chipotle Stout and Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard

Anthony Sinsay of Burlap
Smoked Razor Clam with Pickled Kabocha, Caviar Panna Cotta, and Sorrel
Paired with Karl Strauss Boardwalk Black Rye IPA and Aztec Chipotle IPA

Amy DiBiase's salmon dish
Amy DiBiase of The Shores Restaurant
Smoked Lock Evite Steelhead Salmon with Beet Relish and Horseradish Creme Fraiche
Paired with Lightning Thunderweizen and Monkey Paw Rauch Bier

Nick Brune of Local Habit
Rabbit Sausage and Salmon on Toast with Rye & Fennel Jam, Shallot Butter and Chive
Paired with Lost Abbey Avante Garde and Alesmith Horny Devil

Pamplemousse's ribs
Francisco Sedano of Pamplemousse Grille
BBQ Baby Back Ribs and Apple Horseradish Slaw
Paired with Rock Bottom Downtown Bourbon
Barrel Aged Porter and Wet 'N Reckless Honey Badger Don't Care

Kyle Bergman of Ritual Tavern
Pickled Beef Tongue with Crispy Rye Bread Pudding, Dill Pickle and Mustard
Paired with Societe The Debutante and New English Pacific Storm Stout

Lance Repp of the Sky Room at La Valencia
Duck Confit Bruschetta with Quince, Brussels Sprouts, Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese
Paired with Manzinita Gillespie Brown Ale and Hess Magna Cucerbita

Carnitas Snack Shack's chicken liver mousse
Hanis Cavin of Carnitas Snack Shack
Molasses Chile Glazed Pork Belly with Apple Frisee Salad
Chicken Liver Mousse with Caramelized Onion and Herb Preserved Lemon Salad
Paired with Rock Bottom La Jolla Moonlight Porter and Green Flash Le Freak

Daniel Boling of The Lodge at Torrey Pines
Wood Fire Roasted Clams with House Made Spicy Linguica, Roasted Pimentos and House Made Lamb Bacon
Spent Grain Flat Bread with Coriander Cream and Spiced Marcona Almonds
Paired with Pizza Port OB Bacon & Eggs Breakfast Coffee Imperial Porter and San Diego Brewing Welter Wit

Venison medallion
Gunther Emathinger of Karl Strauss Brewing
Venison Medallion with Chanterelle Ragout, Beer Dumpling and Cumberland sauce
Paired with Ballast Point Navigator Dopplebock and Mother Earth Double Decker Brown

Tony Martin of Stone World Bistro
Hazelnut, Salted Caramel and Milk Chocolate Mouse with Smoked Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Carrot Glass
Paired with Oggi's Black Magic Stout and Coronado Blue Bridge Coffee Stout

Carnitas Snack Shack pork belly and Green Flash Le Freak
Of the food offerings, favorites included Carnitas Snack Shack's molasses-chile glazed pork belly.  Hanis and Sarah Cavin know how to do pork belly, consistently shining at tasting events with their tender, flavor packed morsels of sweet pig stomach. Pairing it with Green Flash Le Freak, you can't go wrong, as this mutant of a beer is like no other, filled with flavor and absolutely delish.  It may be my favorite beer in the world - just wish it was easier to find!

Anthony Sinsay presented a beautiful shooter with his smoked clam offering and combined with the spicy smokiness of the Aztec Chipotle IPA, this combination really showed off how beer can complement food.  Amy DiBiase of The Shores proved again that she knows how to do fish, as her smoked salmon dish was one of the tastiest of the day, with the horseradish creme fraiche being the most impressive component tasted throughout the afternoon.

Crowd favorites included Pamplemousse's baby back ribs and Karl Strauss Brewing's venison dish, which was likened to a Thanksgiving plate by many.  The only dessert of the day was offered by Stone World Bistro, and even though we're not normally 'dessert people,' we found ourselves joining others in raving about this exquisite dish.

Each year we eagerly anticipate the coming of San Diego Beer Week and are thrilled to be able to participate in such a benevolent event atop the greens at Torrey Pines, where the sun always seems to grace us beer lovers with its fall warmth, ensuring that we all enjoy an afternoon of indulgence.

Next year, be sure to get your tickets early for the Beer Garden event at The Lodge at Torrey, as the event consistently sells out quickly.  Cheers!!