With the close of another San Diego Beer Week, the people who produce and serve all of the flavorful brews finally get a chance to kick back and relax. Hundreds of events throughout the county over the course of ten days provide a showcase for the best of the local craft beer industry, which can certainly be draining. Before dropping the curtain on 2015’s festivities, the San Diego Brewers Guild closed things out with the annual Beer Garden at The Lodge at Torrey Pines on Sunday.
The official closing event for Beer Week is always a favorite for locals and visitors alike. From the lodge’s Arroyo Terrace, the rolling fairways of the Torrey Pines Golf Course stretch out towards the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. With that kind of backdrop to the gourmet food and beer pairing event, San Diego Brewers Guild President Kevin Hopkins realizes that this event –along with the rest of the week’s festivities—is an obvious draw for people from every corner of the map.
“It’s what I like to call near and far,” said Hopkins. “You always want to take care of people who live here in San Diego, which is a wonderful thing. At the same time, it entices people to come from afar. We can see where people are coming from when they buy tickets online, and we have people from Chicago, DC, Philadelphia and even Europe. It’s amazing.”
For locals and visitors alike, the Beer Garden party provided a sumptuous afternoon of dishes prepared by 12 different San Diego chefs, each with two paired beers. While each dish was delicious in its own right, the most popular dish of the day had to go to the folks at Ballast Point, where Chef Colin MacLaggan from the brewery’s restaurant was serving scallops with fennel, mustard greens and port syrup. Accompanying the dish was Wahoo Wit and barrel-aged Piper Down Scottish Ale.
Aside from the scallop frenzy, there were several other outstanding dishes. Chef Kyle Wiegand from The Grill at The Lodge at Torrey Pines served octopus that was perfectly grilled with fennel agrodolce and chicharrón, and that bite paired nicely with Rip Current’s Take Off Tripel. Paul McCabe, chef at the Town & Country Hotel, brought a foie gras bratwurst served over warm potato salad and fig mustard. Each element of that dish worked differently with the two accompanying beers, which were Stone Brewing’s Matt’s Burning Rosids Smoked Saison and Prohibition Brewing’s Black Rye Double IPA.
While clouds hovered ominously in the distance as part of the El Niño’s early salvos, the weather managed to stay clear for long enough to have a successful party. “It’s the best culmination of beer week that you could imagine,” said Hopkins. “It’s ten consecutive days with 600 formal events all finishing up here. When you’ve had a long week of working hard to have a great time, how could you finish it any better than here at The Lodge at Torrey Pines?”