San Diego Beer Week (SDBW) 2011

The kickoff of San Diego Beer Week 2011 is in less than 3 weeks… and this gives craft brew aficionados in SoCal a real reason to celebrate! This third annual event is sponsored by the San Diego Brewer’s Guild and will host more than 500 events celebrating craft beer in San Diego, which gives plenty of options for people to join in the fun. The SDBW will take place from November 4-13, 2011 (kickoff on Saturday, November 5 with the San Diego Brewer’s Guild Festival at Liberty Station), and will feature various events throughout the week which are organized by the individual breweries. Events will include beer dinners, tastings, pairings, classes, and much more. Check here for the schedule of events.

The culminating event, which I had the pleasure of attending last year, is the Beer Garden at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, which will be held on Sunday, November 13. While I would have loved making it to more of the events during the week last year, as a working gal in OC, weeknight jaunts down to San Diego just really weren’t a feasible option. However, the Beer Garden proved to be a fantastic conclusion to the week, with local chef and brewery pairings that were nothing short of amazing… all within the gorgeous garden setting that The Lodge offers. Of the 12 amazing pairings I sampled that day, here are a couple of my standouts:

  • Gunther Emathinger’s (Karl Strauss) Roasted Pistachio Crusted Lamb Chops – Fig & Root Vegetable Hash, Brewers Special Brown Ale Demi Glaze. Paired with New English Brewers Special Brown Ale: The lamb was delicious (my favorite food of the afternoon), and the brew was excellent… a wonderful pairing.
  • Tom McAliney & Patrick Heyman’s (Brandt Beef) Brandt Beef & Kidney Pudding – Caramelized Swede. Paired with Stone Brewery’s Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers and Old Guardian: This was also a well-suited pairing… and the pudding was actually quite tasty despite my initial aversion to the ingredients.
  • Jason Graham’s (Cal-a-Vie Spa) Gluten Free Chocolate Cake – Silken Tofu Frosting, Toasted Hazelnuts. Paired with Karl Strauss Brewing Co.’s SDBW Licorice Stout: Such an interesting dessert pairing… who knew that gluten-free cake with tofu frosting could taste so amazing with beer?!

If this didn’t tantalize your taste buds, or if you just want to see what’s cooking this year, check out the 2011 menu here. For more on SDBW in general, visit the official website at http://www.sdbw.org. Cheers!

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