Last night, I crashed The Grill at Torrey Pines for Ballast Point’s beer dinner. The dinner, a result of long interaction between Ballast Point’s Colby Chandler & The Grill’s Stephen Kurpinsky and Kyle Bergman, was a showcase of Ballast Point’s specially brewed chili beers paired with The Grill’s culinary talent.
San Diego Beer was heavily represented, with brewers and employees from 11 in ’11 members Ballast Point, Karl Strauss, and AleSmith in attendance. The President of the San Diego Brewers Guild, Adam Carbonell, sat alongside Luca Banafi of Tendergreens. Also present were Scot & Karen Blair, owner and senior manager of Eleven, Small Bar, and Hamilton’s, along with much of Evans Hotels upper-management. At over 60 people, the event was oversold, but The Grill had tables for everyone.
So how was the pairing?
Thai spiced blackened shrimp skewers paired with Ballast Point’s Bloody Mary Mix & Abandon Ship Smoked Lager came together for a spicy and smokey starter. The crispy roasted quail along with Dried Guajillo Pepper Calico Amber Ale pairing was more cozy than spicy, but delicious. The warm trout salad combined with a Roasted Serrano Green Pepper Yellowtail Ale; the trout salad served as a launching pad for the Yellowtail picante, in which you could nearly taste the skins of the serrano peppers. My mouth aflame, the curry spiced pork loin went along with Smokin’ Hot Habanero Sculpin IPA to create the apex of the event which further ignited my very public love affair with Sculpin as well as my palate. The fire extinguisher pairing was mexican chocolate cake paired with Smoked Chipotle, Cocoa Nib Black Marlin Porter.
As I was crashing (and working), I played wallflower for most of the night. Kyle Bergman poked his head out of the kitchen to check on me, and Scot Blair found us both. To Kyle, Scot stated: “This is the best beer and food event in San Diego. Ever.” Stunning praise, coming from the owner of the 3 hottest beer bars in town and also one of a handful Cicerone certified people in the country. For a beer pairing that was very experimental, it was exciting to see such creativity & risk work so well together.