Saturday, November 14, 2009

Celebration of Beer Week (Part 1 of 2) - Karl Strauss

Leave it to beer week, to have an event titled as such, but that actually goes for 10 days long!  Hey, I'm not complaining :)  This was the 1st annual beer week for San Diego, and it was a HUGE success.  Kudos are in order for those folks that volunteered to create and update the website, San Diego Beer Week (SDBW).  It was brilliantly done and extremely easy to view all the events around our city.  Unfortunately, we didn't get to visit tons of places, but we did make it to both Karl Strauss and Blind Lady Ale House (twice).
The first event we attended was the Karl Strauss Brewing Company 20th Anniversary Beer Dinner.  They had been holding several beer dinners throughout 2009 to celebrate the anniversary, and this was their final one.  I'm so glad we were in attendance!   All 4 courses were paired deliciously with a unique beer that complimented the dish.  Another welcome aspect of the evening was a chance to hear the local history of Karl Strauss from the CEO, Chris Cramer, along with the brewing process that went into each beer we tasted, from Brewer James Petti. The group picture above is a photo of me with (from left to right) James, my boyfriend Mark, and Chris. 

The dinner began with a Seared Salmon Salad, baby lettuce, honey chive mustard sauce, and Amber Lager sherry vinaigrette paired with the Karl Strauss Amber Lager.  The salmon was perfectly cooked and beautifully presented. 

The second course was a large portion of IPA Steamed Mussels, Shrimp, and Bay Scallops with andouille sausage, peppers, and garlic herb broth served with their Tower 10 IPA.  Interesting story about the Tower 10 IPA:  when the CEO and his college friend, along with the master brewer, Karl Strauss, came up with the idea to create the local craft brewery, they were living in south Mission, right by the tower 10 station. 

Onto the next course, where we had Fullsuit Belgian-Style Brown Ale (Mark absolutely loved this beer) paired with a marinated pork chop, potato cake, root vegetables, and a spicy mustard Belgian Brown Ale soy reduction.  As if we weren't stuffed enough, we embarked on our last course; the dessert.  Beer N Banana Foster with vanilla bean ice cream and a spiced biscotti, served with they 20th Anniversary Bourbon Aged Trippel.

Now if someone had asked me before this evening about pairing dessert and beer, my response would have been less than desirable.  I'm a changed woman.  This dessert came alive, the beer came alive.  The melding of the two was pure happiness in my mouth.  I'm not a "dessert" person and would normally pick one of the savory dishes as my favorite, but tonight, I pick the dessert and the Bourbon Aged Trippel.  I must say both these chefs and these brewers know exactly what they are doing.  Thank you, Karl Strauss, for an excellent kick-off to San Diego Beer Week!

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