On Friday we were so excited for what we thought would be the event of the week, the Ballast Point Tap Takeover at The High Dive. They offered 20 of Ballast’s specialty beers, with 5-6 different beers released every hour starting at 5pm.
We were there close to 5, ready to partake in the evening. We were quickly disappointed to find out the beers were poured in 8-ounce servings at a hefty price of $6.00 each. That is $12.00 per pint! Because of this, we did not stay long. We tried five 8-ounce pours, totaling $30! We liked the pineapple and guava Grunion, blueberry Calico, and the passion fruit Grunion, but we both agreed the beers were not worth the price. We headed out to another one of our favorites, Small Bar in University Heights, for more reasonably priced local beers.
Small Bar was not on our tentative list of places/events to hit up over SDBW, but it’s always a good choice for quality beer. We met up with some friends, who opted to avoid The High Dive event due to the prices. As always, the beer and company were good, making this stop the best part of the day.
This was The Meatmen pairing their hand-made artisan, dry sausages with Thorn Street Brewery’s craft beer. This event was fabulous. Each of the four pairings were served with a Meatmen dish and an 8-ounce pour. Tickets were $25 each, which was a decent price for what we had.
The first course was a charcuterie sampler with the Meatmen Flagrant Seed and Naughty Constable Dry Salami, whole seed horseradish mustard, Dubliner stuffed olive, petite kosher dill pickle, cherry pepper and garlic crisps with Thorn Street’s Foreplay Belgian Blonde. Both of us really liked this beer and we agreed it paired well with the course. However, I didn’t like the Flagrant Seed Salami. I found it to have a background note of a musty cellar. Steph, on the other hand, liked the salami.
Course two was a creamy bratwurst stroganoff, made with cremini and shitake mushrooms, peppercorns and parsely, and it was paired with the Double Oh 7 English Pale Ale. This was a super yummy beer that was perfectly paired with this dish. Both of us agreed that this was our favorite of the day.
Course three consisted of the Meatmen’s hot salami sub sandwhich, with tomato, pepperoncini, oil and vinegar with the Tropic Daze IPA. We both thought “hot” meant the sandwich would be served warm. We were disappointed to realize the “hot” was in reference to the spice. However, it was good and the spice provided a nice balance to the IPA, which was a really good IPA.
To finish up the event, we were served a Kaiserkrauner dough dog, with smoked gouda, a pretzel wrap, and served with a spicy ketchup, mustard and pepper relish. The Thorn Street brew was the Abbey Roof Belgian Quad, a 10% ABV beer with hug flavors of rum, raisin, and malts. We loved the beer, but, by the time we got this course, we were already satisfied with food. That didn’t stop us from finishing the pairing, but we were stuffed by the end.
We enjoyed the event overall and would definitely check out another event held at this location, featuring Thorn Street beer, and/or with The Meatmen. Our only complaint was the music. It was so loud at times, it was echoing and hard to carry on a conversation.
We rounded out the spectacular Beer Week with Donuts, Coffee & Stout at Benchmark. This event featured 5 tasters: 1.) Oatmeal Stout; 2.) Here’s Your Damn Stout; 3.) Cask Oatmeal Stout with Papau New Guinea Beans; 4.) Cold brew coffee on nitro; and, 5.) Here’s Your Damn Stout with Columbian Beans on cask. The donuts were provided by Donut Panic. We split a sampler of the coffee and beer, and we shared two donuts. We both enjoyed all of the beers and the coffee on nitro. My favorite was the Here’s Your Damn Stout with Columbian Beans. Steph Preferred the Here’s Your Damn Stout.
The donuts were fresh and excellent. We shared the vegan old fashioned and the maple bacon donuts. I would definitely welcome the opportunity to have another donut from this place.
And, that rounds it out, the 10-days of San Diego Beer Week, celebrating the best of the craft here in our city. Cheers to you all, as we look forward to SDBW 2016.
Keep following up to good beer!