The last spot for the Avery Brewing Co. Rare Beer Dinner tonight at Union? That went to the Sultan of Suds, U-T beer reporter Peter Rowe. So here are some other non-wine, alcohol-paired dinners with room for you.
Mixology Dinner at Grant Grill
Regular dinner hours, Saturday through Dec. 14. US Grant Hotel, 326 Broadway, downtown. $70. (619) 744-2077 or grantgrill.com
Named 2012's Hotel Bar of the Year (Nightclub & Bar), this swank old guy on Broadway presents four courses, four cocktails. Have clove-and-apple-cidery flavors on braised pork belly, courtesy of chef Chris Kurth. The dish's counterpart, from award-winning mixologist Jeff Josenhans, is an autumn mosaic in a glass (plum brandy, plum wine, aged sherry, bitters and wine tannins).
The entire menu invokes seasonal produce, spice and the warmth of a fireplace. See the duck breast roasted in molasses and balsamic honey (to achieve a Peking duck crispy sweet skin). It's served with slightly bitter endive and a vivid, curry-spiced granola. The matching cocktail for that one hits similar bitter notes (the walnut liqueur), sweetness (muscat), and that High West Double Rye brings in brightness. Note: This dinner is recommended for intrepid drinkers with a safe ride home. Food only delays alcohol absorption. And four craft cocktails = lights out for most of us.
Stone Epic Festival: The Final Chapter
12:12 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12. $150 ($75 designated driver). Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, 1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido. (760) 471-4999 or stoneworldbistro.com. Tickets brownpapertickets.com
The official farewell party for this landmark Vertical Epic Ale series, 11 beers are paired with 11 dishes made by chef Alex Carballo.
Yes, you can stay there all day (last call's 9 p.m.) and spend nine hours back stroking through Belgian-style ales--like a unique vintage made May 5, 2005: Called the Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale (and brewed by Lee Chase, whose now co-owner of Tiger!Tiger! and Blind Lady Ale House), this beer is paired with duck confit "PB&J" with hazelnut butter and fig jam. For more about Stone's Vertical Epic Ale series read Peter Rowe's story, click here.
Stone's Epic Ale celebrated at Burlap
6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13. $50. Burlap, 12995 El Camino Real, Carmel Valley. (858) 369-5700 or burlapeats.com
And for more of Stone's Belgian ales... See this menu pairing at the Asian-fusion fabric restaurant, featuring the hotshot chef Anthony Sinsay. He's bringing in four chef friends, including La Valencia's new acquisition Paul McCabe, to honor five of the Stone Vertical Epic brews.
Handling the 2008 is Cucina Urbana chef Joe Magnanelli, who's making baby octopus with gnocchi. The 2009 gets teamed with bittersweet cremieux and passionfruit from pastry chef Rachel King (Searsucker, Burlap and the other Brian Malarkey-owned spots). The 2011 brew is paired with pork cheeks and bread pudding from Carnitas' Snack Shack chef-owner Hanis Cavin. For the 2012, host Sinsay brings out the hatch chili-rubbed bison tenderloin and a burnt banana meringue. Stations with each offering will be set up on the back patio of Burlap. Have fun.
Read Keli Dailey's full story and more on utsandiego.com