With a name like Bitter Brothers Brewing Company (4170 Morena Boulevard, Bay Ho), one might think it a bit of a standoffish operation and think twice about attending its “family dinner” events. But taking part in one of these affairs is actually rather sweet. Company co-founder Bill Warnke was a professional chef for many years before getting into the beer-biz. Not only does all that experience mean he has chops in the kitchen. It also means he has a vast number of friends in kitchens all over San Diego County. It’s these very taste buds that help make Bitter Brothers’ Family Dinner series so special. Read more »
There’s no shortage of fermentable fun to be had during the month bridging Oktoberfest and All Hallow’s Eve, and we’ve culled through the plethora of beery affairs to highlight a few standouts. But there’s a lot more taking place in October, so be sure to peruse (and bookmark) our Events Page for even more good-time options.
October 1 | Oktoberfest Celebrations: It lasts around two weeks, but most places choose to honor Oktoberfest on October 1. Hit up Germanic-driven Lightning Brewery, celebrate the grand opening of North Park Beer Co.’s aptly sausage-centric Mastiff Kitchen, enjoy JacktoberFest at Midnight Jack Brewing, lift a stein of lager at Societe Brewing’s beer hall or head to Santee for its oktOVERfest over-the-line tournament. | Various Locations, Times Vary
October 1-10 | CRAFToberfest: Have plans October 1st? Not to worry—Liberty Public Market is stretching its festing over a ten-day span, and its tenants are pooling their resources. Bottlecraft will hold a German tap takeover while market purveyors will offer $5 bites such as pork schnitzel, cheese, sausages and ice cream to pair with those ales and lagers. A variety of activities will be offered on the market’s patio and the celebration will close out with an October 10 beer dinner at Mess Hall featuring the beers of Germany’s Mahrs-Bräu. | Liberty Public Market, 2820 Historic Decatur Road, Point Loma, Times Vary
October 16 | Pour It Black: Rare are the opportunities to indulge in a gallery of incredible dark beers in warm, sunny San Diego. So Stone Brewing waits until the temperature reaches a chilly 80-degrees to hold a festival focused on the browner, blacker side of beer. But it’s not all brawny stouts; black IPAs and sours are also on the menu at this indulgent grand-scale annual event! | Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, 1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido, 10 a.m.
October 28 | Allagash Night: Maine is known for its beer scene, but before its recent popularity, brewmaster Rob Todd made a name for The Pine Tree State’s Allagash Brewing, which specializes in Belgian ales and now includes a coolship-equipped center of funk and barrel-aging. Meet the man and his rarities as he helps Hamilton’s Tavern celebrate its 10th anniversary. | Hamilton’s Tavern, 1521 30th Street, South Park, 3 p.m.
October 30 | Celebrate the Craft: The Lodge at Torrey Pines was one of the first high-end spots in San Diego to back local craft-beer in a big way, and it started here, with executive chef Jeff Jackson inviting SD brewers to be part of this farm-to-table celebration of local crafters of food and beverage. Get to know your local purveyors over tasters of homegrown ales and lagers. | The Lodge at Torrey Pines, 11480 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, 11:30 a.m.
The stars have aligned on the beer calendar, with many quality events happening today, December 12, 2012.
Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Events
Stone Brewing Co.’s 11-beer series finally comes to an end, culminating with a grand event at the brewery and restaurant location in Escondido. Bars and beer-focused restaurants all around the county will also be holding events highlighting the Vertical Epic Ales in the days leading up to, and a few right after, the eye-catching date. The Regal Beagle, Blind Lady Ale House, Small Bar, The Local, O’Brien’s Pub, Ciro’s Pizzeria, Toronado San Diego, Neighborhood, Live Wire, Newport Pizza & Ale House, Burlap, Downtown Johnny Brown’s, Hoffer’s Cigar Bar, The South Park Abbey, The Lumberyard Tavern & Grill, KnB Wine Cellars, Tap Room, Sublime Ale House, Hamilton’s Tavern and URGE Gastropub will all host events with beers from the series; view more details for each spot here.
Westvleteren XII release
Some say it’s the best beer in the world — made harder to come by because of a production rate of just 160,000 cases per year — but a few local bottle shops (KRISP, Holiday Wine Cellar, Bine & Vine and Bottlecraft) will be selling it starting today.
Executive Chef Daniel Boling is pairing some great Belgian-style beers with a menu that looks tantalizing. Rare beers Cuvee de Tomme and Mayan Judgment Day will play a role; seats are $75 per person including valet parking. Reservations available by calling 858-777-6645.
12 beers paired with 12 plates from Chef Nick Brune make this one belt-busting dinner. The event begins promptly at 6:30 p.m. with courses served every 15 minutes. Reservations are $85 per persion and include sales tax, ticket service fee and a commemorative glass, but is exclusive of gratuity.
Visit 7 bars in Point Loma and Ocean Beach (Sessions Public, Slater’s 50/50, The Pearl Hotel, Harbor Town Pub, Raglan Public House, Newport Pizza & Ale House and Pizza Port Ocean Beach) via Brewery Tours of San Diego busses, for free!
Residents of San Diego are no stranger to a beautiful day. It’s easy for us to forget that at this moment people around the U.S. are layering and buttoning up for the frigid days ahead, while we brace ourselves for the onslaught of slightly brisker air than we’d care for. However, there’s something about wandering into the embrace of the Beer Garden, San Diego Beer Week’s (SDBW) swan song at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, that makes a bright November afternoon all the more exquisite.
After a 10 day frenzy of tap takeovers and Keep the Glass affairs, this event not only serves as SDBW’s closing ceremonies, but a counterpoint to the prior week’s debauchery. It’s a chance to truly luxuriate in the local brew scene with artfully crafted pairings of food and beer. It’s basically like a day spa for beer snobs, but with a lot less Enya and sandalwood candles.
The “garden” is actually semicircle of serving stations that are held on the 0.2% of sod that Torrey Pines has not allocated to golfing purposes. It allows the event to serve up haute cuisine and breathtaking panoramic ocean views in equal measure. It’s the kind of combination that makes you quietly pity everyone that isn’t presently you.
This year’s event inspired 11 chefs from restaurants as varied as Burlap and the Carnitas Snack Shack to perform their culinary magic. Each two or three bite course was paired with two different beers, demonstrating a clear understanding of the minimum food to beer ratio to excite a SDBW crowd.
It’s safe to say the Beer Garden is slightly more posh than most SDBW events. You needn’t don your monocle to attend, but it wouldn’t hurt. However, there’s a dark underbelly to the affair that must be exposed. While fine quaffs and delicate edibles certainly foster an air of sophistication and civility, the fact remains that finding a level surface upon which to enjoy them could be a cutthroat affair. Table real estate is a shockingly precious commodity, one guarded with all the ferocity of post-apocalyptic motorcycle gangs hoarding fuel. I understand that square footage is a little scant without forcing patrons to weave through a hail of golf balls, but when table inhabitants resort to sending out hunting parties while the remainder secure camp, something needs to be reconsidered.
A venison medallion served on a chanterelle ragout with beer dumplings and a cumberland sauce by Chef Gunther Emathinger from Karl Strauss is stunning enough on its own to conjure salivation, but shoulder to shoulder with a Ballast Point Navigator Dopplebock elevates the whole affair to the transcendent. The subtle dark fruit notes in the malty dopplebock beautifully cut the succulence of the sauce while accentuating the venison’s earthier notes.
Most of the other pairings were similarly thoughtful and masterfully executed. Virtually the only criticism I ever heard was that a current course didn’t match the potency of a previous one, which is not to say they weren’t just as greedily consumed. Other standouts included a molasses-chile glazed pork belly from Chef Hanis Cavin from Carnitas Snack Shack with Rock Bottom La Jolla‘s Moonlight Porter as well as a hazelnut, salted caramel & milk chocolate mousse by Tony Martin from Stone World Bistro paired with Coronado‘s Blue Bridge Coffee Stout.
If the revelry at my table was any indicator, the event was a rousing success. One tribemate, Ruby Lynn Carr (a Beer Garden Veteran and fellow high society drunkard), summarized my final impression by commenting “I am thrilled to be enjoying some of the best local craft beers while overlooking the ocean on a gorgeous November day.”
So long, SDBW 2012, and thanks for all the venison medallions served on a chanterelle ragout. Oh, and the beer too.