San Diego Beer Dinner at the Grill Torrey Pines April 9th, 2013
The sun is slowly disappearing behind the Torrey Pines Golf Course just as guests are arriving to the Grill's Quarterly Craft Beer Dinner. Chef Dan Boling has a smile on his face, and everyone on staff is buzzing with excitement. Dan Boling has a passion for food and beer, and anyone can see it when he starts talking about the Beer Dinner.
Head Chef Dan Boling
Three years ago, Dan Boling would have classified himself as a "wine guy" but after Kyle Bergman joined Boling's team at the Grill, his eyes were opened to the intricacies of beer and all the possibilities for pairing beers and food. Boling, Bergman and the Grill's Manager, Stephen Kurpinsky wanted the Grill at Torrey Pines to stand out from A.R. Valentien, the Lodge's premier dining restaurant. By focusing on local beers and great food, together they created one of San Diego's first Craft Beer Dinners. Since the beginning, the San Diego beer scene has grown tremendously, and the Lodge has helped San Diego celebrate it's newest niché by hosting San Diego Beer Week's Beer Garden and Celebrate the Craft year after year.
Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment
San Diego's newest brewery, Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment is the fun and flavorful new guy in town. They moved into the original Mission Brewery, which was used until prohibition in 1918. Since then many San Diego brewers have occupied this historic space, such as New English Brewing Company, Five Points Brewing Company and the Coronado Brewing Company. The creators of the beloved Encinitas Ale House and La Jolla Public House are the operators behind the new Belgian and American craft beers in town.
Sound Check Coconut Crusted Local Seabass
Paired with "Passion Pils" Session Pils
Guests mingle and meet the brewers while enjoying their first beer of the night, the "Passion Pils." Servers are weaving through the room with Boling's tropical and spicy Coconut Crusted Local Seabass with Curried Lentil Salad. To compliment the hints of passion fruit in Acoustic Ales' Passion Pils, sweet passion fruit was drizzled over the top to introduce the harmony of beer pairings.
First Set Shrimp and Grits
Paired with "Tush" Double Dry Hopped Session IPA
Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment is San Diego's newest brewery, but what they lack in experience they make up for with taste. Their "Tush" Double Dry IPA was a favorite among the chefs and guests. Chef Boling reveled the basics of beer pairings and what flavors work best with each different type of beer. IPA's generally pair best with salty and spicy dishes. The southern flavor from the bourbon shrimp and spicy Tasso Ham when paired with the Tush IPA, tastefully compliments the Shrimp and Grits. But Boling adds, "As long as it's good beer and good food, it's going to be great."
Second Set Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Paired with "Mad Dub" Unfiltered Belgium Brown Ale
The Beer Dinner is much more than just dining, it's an experience. The brewers and Dan introduce each course by explaining the thought and preparation that goes into each craft beer and innovative dish. Chef Boling was inspired to pair the "Mad Dub" Belgium Brown Ale with Jerk Chicken because Dub step actually originated from Reggae music! The "Mad Dub" was used to marinate the chicken, along with brown sugar and small flavors like his favorite seasonal ingredient, citrus. Citrus in the Spring is very versatile and can be applied almost anywhere. Citrus was incorporated into the Jamaican Jerk Chicken with pickled Kumquats and using tangerines in the Jerk seasoning for the chicken.
Third Set Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb
Paired with "Unplugged" Oatmeal Stout
I was pleasantly surprised to learn the inspiration behind this dish. Dan is a creative and innovate chef, and carried the theme "unplugged" throughout his traditional Mexican Oaxaca dish. Oaxaca is famously known for its “seven moles," tamales in banana leaves, various ingredients and lengthy cooking time, which makes this dish prefect for special occasions, like this Beer Dinner! Oaxaca is traditionally buried in a hole with charcoal and eaten the next day, so Dan "unplugged" his Roasted Leg of Lamb with a house made mole recipe and gave it a little Lodge twist! The chocolate lovers at the Beer Dinner enjoyed this dish with the hints of chocolate in the mole and in the silky and thick Stout. Acoustic Ales imports a pound of high grade Belgium chocolate for each batch to craft their silky and thick Stout.