|April 17, 2008|
I was lucky enough to be invited to beer dinner thrown by The Lost Abbey, held at the Port Brewing facility in San Marcos. Tables were set up inside the small brewery, making it a very cozy evening. Luckily, everyone knew one another and didn’t mind being in a candlelit brewery with over 120 others.
The first thing you always notice when entering the Lost Abbey is that there are barrels almost everywhere, from floor to ceiling.
The brewery was turned into a restaurant for the evening.
With co-owner Vince Marsaglia creating a mobile kitchen by the rolloup door and outside.
The Port Brewing/Lost Abbey brewhouse.
And some of the tanks.
Before the dinner began, we were served Avant Garde and an assortment of delicious cheeses and vegetable appetizers.
Most of us who arrived on the first bus just milled about the bar and stuffed ourselves, as we waited for the later arrivals to fill up the available seats.
And not just food, we also enjoyed refills of beer, too.
Sitting on each table is the Lost Abbey’s newest product, Holy Water, which is reverse osmosis filtered water which they will begin selling shortly for between three and four dollars a 750 ml bottle. Lest you think the name blasphemous, it was blessed by a Lutheran minister. Frankly, I think it’s brilliant marketing. If you’re having a dinner party or run a restaurant, you have this wonderful package to set on the table or sell to your guests.
Dinner started with a salad of mixed spring greens with raspberry vinaigrette, caramelized walnuts and gorgonzola, paired with Isabelle Proximus Collaborative Sour Ale, a beer made by blending beer by Tomme, along with Adam Avery, Sam Calagione, Vinnie Cilurzo and Rob Todd. Sam drew the artwork for the beer, shown here on a cask of it.
The mobile kitchen ran like a well-oiled machine, preparing each dish there at the brewery.
Our second course was Carlsbad Aqcua Farms mussels with barbequed oysters and seared scallops paired with 2007 Cuvee de Tomme.
At sat in the back corner of the brewery, surrounded by casks on four walls, with Vinnie and Natalue Cilurzo, Britt Antrim, Adam Avery and three of Adam’s brewers. Though between courses, some of us wandered around and others visited us, like Tomme did here.
Our third course were plantain confit egg rolls with roasted corn and peppers served with a maple cilantro reduction sauce and paired with Lost and Found Abbey Ale.
After which, Jennifer Talley and Matt Brynildson stopped by for a visit. Notice how the bottles are stacking up on the table?
As did table neighbors Sam Calagione, Bruce Paton and Jeff Bagby.
The main course was A duet featuring Old Viscosity braised short ribs with a pomegranate reduction sauce and rack of lamb, paired with Amazing Grace Ale, which is essentially barrel-aged Lost and Found Abbey Ale.
Before each new course, Tomme hopped up on the bar in the main room and told the crowd about each beer and its pairing. Our table was through the door behind Tomme and to the right, out of sight.
One of the main reasons for the dinner was the debut of Isabelle Proximus Collaborative Sour Ale, a beer made by the five brewers and inspired by their trip to Belgium two years ago with Italian beer writer Lorenzo Dabove, better know simply as Kuaska. This was first time all six of them were able to try the beer at the same time and they led a toast to the new beer.
And toasted one another, as well.
From left: Tomme Arthur (Lost Abbey), Lorenzo Dabove, Vinnie Cilurzo (Russian River), Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head), Adam Avery (Avery Brewing) and Rob Todd (Allagash).
Dessert was chocolate cheesecake with chocolate covered espresso bean shavings, paired with Older Viscosity Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Strong Ale .
Tomme came around again at the end mingle with his guests.
Things got increaingly louder throughout th evening, and at the end of the night there was some arm-wrestling, this match was between Matt “Handtruck” Thrall, from Avery, and Bruce Paton. Dave Keene, acted as the official starter.
It was close, but I think Bruce lost.