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BEER WEEK: Raising The Bar At 1500 Ocean

San Diego Beer Week boasts well over 200 events. As is to be expected, the majority take place at bars, taverns and brewpubs, taking the form of special pint nights, happy hours and cask nights. One of the best things about Beer Week, however, is that it provides opportunities for quality craft brew to find its way into less-traditional venues and shine in a whole new light.

Yellowtail and yellowtail
at the Hotel del Coronado.

Photo by Heather Hernandez.

A fine example: The San Diego Craft Beer Week Celebration at 1500 Ocean, the fine dining restaurant at the Hotel del Coronado, where chef de cuisine Brian Sinnott and his kitchen team created a bevy of beer-friendly dishes for a sell-out crowd of thirsty foodies. From the event’s open—a reception on the Hotel Del’s posh outdoor patio that featured lamb Merguez sausage-stuffed olives, cornmeal-crusted lobster corndogs and plump oysters lavished with a chilled pilsner gelée—it was clear the fare du jour wouldn’t be everyday pub grub.

The last in 1500 Ocean’s “Celebrate Sustainability 2009” special event series, the multi-stationed seven-part meal that followed featured a line-up of recipes made largely of local ingredients. Development of the extensive menu was a team effort that even drew on gastronomic input from guest chef Eric Bauer of Little Italy’s Anthology. This approach provided for a broad spectrum of offerings.

A clever “Yellowtail with yellowtail” amuse (which paired a spicy-tart yellowtail tuna crudo with Ballast Point’s Yellowtail Pale Ale) started things off. That gave way to a duet of light bites paired with lighter-style ales. Piccata-style braised chicken oysters (a tender dark meat morsel located along the fowl’s backbone near the thigh) that burst with citrus notes, matched up well with The Lost Abbey’s Carnevale Ale, a gold medal-winning saison from this year’s Great American Beer Festival (GABF).

A number of other award-winners and highly-coveted ales also found their way onto the entrée portion of the menu. The Lost Abbey’s Cuvée de Tomme, a Flemish sour cherry ale, paired with lamb and porcini mushroom sausage garnished with a caponata of winter squash and pomegranate seeds. And Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA (GABF India Pale Ale silver medalist), was used to steam Venus clams served with succulent spiny lobster and chorizo in a warm tomato broth.

Ballast Point’s Bourbon Barrel-Aged Sea Monster Imperial Stout and Coronado Brewing Company’s Red Devil Anniversary Smoked Brown graced the combination cheese-and-dessert course, which featured perhaps the best beer-and-food pairing of the evening—the Sea Monster and a tableside “affigato” (fresh-brewed espresso poured over vanilla gelato).

The entire affair was a celebration of casting off traditional cuisinal boundaries and testament to beer’s incredible level of compatibility with all things edible.

SanDiego.com is offering continuous coverage of San Diego Beer Week (November 6-15). Check back for more stories, or click on these links for pieces already posted:


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  • City: Coronado
  • Phone: 619-522-8490
  • Name: 1500 Ocean
  • Address: 1500 Ocean