Category Archives: Beer and Food

Scenes from Scott’s Seafood Fall Beer Dinner Featuring Hermitage Brewing Company

Scott’s Seafood in downtown San Jose held another successful beer dinner last week. It was their best one yet in my opinion, a sentiment shared by several others who had also attended previous beer dinners there.

Many aspects were stellar – the organization and service, the outdoor space, the views from the sixth floor, the company, the weather, the informative previews of each course by the restaurant and brewery reps and the food-and-beer pairings themselves.

The sold-out dinner – 55 attendees – showcased a seafood-centric menu and a variety of beer styles courtesy of the featured brewery Hermitage Brewing Company. The beer styles included IPA, Scotch Ale, Sour, Session IPA and Saison.

Below are some pictures and notes from the memorable evening.


Hermitage Brewing Company Citra Single Hop IPA.


Hermitage Brewing Company brand manager Nicole Marquez, Scott’s Seafood marketing director Joann Vaega, Hermitage Brewing Company head brewer and cellarmaster Greg Filippi.


Some of the sold-out crowd, including friends Mike and Lisa Pitsker (front and center).



Welcome and introductions from Nicole, Joann and Scott’s Seafood Food and Beverage Director Sammy Reyes.


Opening Reception: Oysters on the half shell with blood orange champagne foam, paired with Hermitage Brewing Citra Single Hop IPA.


The citrus notes – plus hints of caramel – from the beer nicely complemented the foam while the hoppiness cut through the fresh, buttery oysters.

Scott’s Seafood managing partner Dave Buhagiar topping off glasses with more Citra IPA.


Greg and Victoria Hatch enjoying the dinner.


Scott’s Seafood public relations manager Trinidad Pena and Joann.



Greg and Victoria.


Course One: Classic Greek salad tossed in a lemon vinaigrette dressing, paired with Hermitage Brewing Maltopia Scotch Ale.


The malty notes of toasted grain and caramel coming from Maltopia complemented the fresh salad and dressing.



Next up: Hermitage Brewing Strawberry Rhubarb Sour.



Course Two: Blackened Red Snapper Tacos with strawberry slaw and housemade potato chips, paired with Hermitage Brewing Strawberry Rhubarb Sour.


The tart and sour notes – along with hints of of strawberry and wood from the barrel aging – from Strawberry Rhubarb Sour provided varying contrasts to the spicy red snapper, strawberry and cantaloupe slaw and the chips.

Greg sharing a bit of his vast knowledge of sour beers and their production while introducing Strawberry Rhubarb Sour.


Hermitage Brewing 408 Session IPA from the tap.


Course Three: Mahi Mahi with a tropical relish, new potatoes, spinach and champagne sauce, paired with Hermitage Brewing 408 Session IPA.


The hoppy, tropical fruit notes – guava, in particular – of 408 Session IPA matched the mango and kiwi relish, while the flavors plus the body of the beer held up well to the meaty Mahi Mahi.


Friends Noreen and Jim Helvie.


Course Four: Poached “Myles Perry” Pear with French Vanilla ice cream, paired with Hermitage Brewing Myles Perry Saison.


There was only a mild sweetness from the Saison, enabling the beer to stand up well to the dessert course.

Newfound friends – siblings Z and Susan were awesome tablemates.



The last pic of the night: Wifey Andrea, Victoria, Greg, Nicole and Jim.


Scott’s Seafood San Jose Presents Fall Beer Dinner Featuring Hermitage Brewing Company

Previous beer dinners at Scott’s Seafood in downtown San Jose (185 Park Ave.) have been successful endeavors filled with excellent food, beer and service, all the more elevated <ahem> by the picturesque backdrop provided by the spacious, outdoor rooftop patio located on the sixth floor of the City View Plaza.

I’ve been eagerly waiting for any news about their next beer dinner. Thanks to a recent announcement, the wait is over.

Scott’s Seafood presents their fall beer dinner Monday, Nov. 7 starting at 6pm, featuring offerings from nearby Hermitage Brewing Company (1627 S. 7th St.).

The dinner will be a truly local, San Jose affair. The featured beers from Hermitage Brewing will have been crafted at the brewery just 2 1/2 miles south of Scott’s Seafood.

Food and beverage director Sammy Reyes and the culinary team have created a special, five-course dinner menu – including oysters on the half shell, grilled blackened red snapper tacos and Mahi Mahi – to complement the variety of Hermitage Brewing’s offerings, including IPA, Scotch Ale, Sour and Pear Saison.

The Menu

  • Opening Reception: Oysters on the half shell, served with blood orange champagne foam.
    • Beer Pairing: Citra Single Hop IPA
  • First Course: Classic Greek Salad, Cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, red onions, tossed in a lemon vinaigrette dressing.
    • Beer Pairing: Maltopia Scotch Ale
  • Second Course: Grilled Blackened Red Snapper tacos with Strawberry Slaw and Housemade potato chips
    • Beer Pairing: Strawberry Rhubarb Sour
  • Third Course: Mahi Mahi with a tropical relish with new potatoes, warm spinach salad, and a champagne sauce.
    • Beer Pairing: 408 Session IPA
  • Dessert: Poached “Myles Perry” Pear, Served with French Vanilla ice cream and blackberries.
    • Beer Pairing: Myles Perry Saison

Dinner Tickets

Tickets for the dinner are $45 dollars per person available for purchase at the dinner’s Eventbright page. Consider getting tickets sooner than later as previous beer dinners sold out.

As is the case with any good beer dinner, brewery representatives – including head brewer and cellarmaster Greg Filippi and territory manager Nicole Marquez – will be on hand to answer any questions about Hermitage Brewing and their beers.

About Scott’s Seafood

Scott’s Seafood San Jose is a Bay Area tradition in the heart of Downtown San Jose since 1986, offering a diverse dining destination in both cuisine and setting. Experience a friendly and relaxed environment to enjoy an intimate meal or a group gathering. With their modern lounge, stunning patio views, unique menu, and true hospitality, their American regional cuisine features the freshest seafood, pasta, chicken dishes, and USDA prime, aged steaks. Scott’s Seafood offers parking validation for its guests.

Michael Mina’s Bourbon Pub Hosts Beer Dinner Featuring Strike Brewing Company


The next Hops & Harvest beer dinner event at Michael Mina’s Bourbon Pub – located at Levi’s Stadium (4900 Marie P. DeBartolo Way, Santa Clara) – is set for Thursday, October 13 beginning at 6pm.

The 6-course beer dinner will showcase offerings from San Jose’s Strike Brewing Company. Strike represents the second local brewery in a row to be featured in Bourbon Pub’s beer dinner series.

Executive chef Steven Gotham has crafted an intriguing menu that highlights the various aspects of beer that make it such a versatile beverage when used to pair with food. Below is a sneak peek of the beer dinner menu:

Six-Course Menu

First Course
Hamachi Crudo Tostada with Classic Dot Blonde Ale

Second Course
Heirloom Kale, Pumpkin Seed, Dried Cranberry, Ginger Dressing with Horn Rounder IPA

Third Course
Roasted Butternut Squash, Spaetzle, Brown Butter, Speck with Hunt for Oktoberfest

Fourth Course
Beer Can Chicken, Roasted Marble Potatoes, Caramelized Shallot with Lumber Buster American Brown Ale

Fifth Course
Tapioca, Citrus Granita, Chamomile Foam with Lucky Bullet Belgian Wheat

Sixth Course
Mango Upside Down Cake, Crème Fraiche Sherbet with Screaming Hand Imperial Amber Ale


Tickets for the beer dinner are $65 per person (not including tax and gratuity). Seating is limited, and reservations can be made by calling 408-579-4460 or emailing

Representatives from Strike will be on hand to answer any questions about the brewery and their beers. There’ll also be raffles held throughout the dinner with chances to win prizes courtesy of Strike and the 49ers.

The beer dinner is the fourth such dinner in Bourbon Pub’s ongoing Hops & Harvest beer dinner series, which started earlier this year. The upcoming beer dinner follows a very successful beer dinner held in August featuring Santa Clara’s Golden State Brewery, which I had the good fortune to attend and write about.

Taco and Beer Pairing Event at Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant


Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant in downtown Mountain View is hosting a special Taco & Beer Pairing event Wednesday, September 21 starting at 5:30pm.

This tasty pairing event is a first for Steins and features 3 tacos paired with 3 craft brews for $15.

Bar manager Ryan Hummel has just finalized the beers for the pairings:

  • Pollo (chicken) – traditional chicken tinga paired with Stillwater Artisan Ales Fear of Ghosts (smoked, sour saison)
  • Carnitas (pork) – spiced rubbed pork butt, marinated for 2 days and cooked for 3 hours paired with Modern Times Fortunate Islands with Grapefruit Zest (hoppy wheat)
  • Carne Asada (beef) – 3-day jalapeno and herbs marinade paired with Berryessa Brewing La Fuerza Borracho (Mexican pale lager)

The corn tortilla will be hand made, and there will be a salsa bar available as well.

And as a reminder, Steins is also co-hosting Mountain View’s 4th Annual Oktoberfest, which is set for the weekend of October 1 and 2, from 11am to 7pm both days.

Folks are welcome to bring their steins from previous years, but no worries – there will be plenty of steins plus drink tickets available for purchase at the festival. Prost!


New Whole Foods Market and Tap Room Opens in Santa Clara

Whole Foods Santa Clara 01

A new 50,000 square-foot Whole Foods Market – built from the ground up – opened last month, July 26, in Santa Clara at 2732 Augustine Drive.

Located at the bustling corner of Scott Boulevard and Bowers Avenue, it’s the first Whole Foods store in Santa Clara and – for those keeping track – the 44th in Northern California.

The store also features its own Tap Room, which I recently had the chance to visit.

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Whole Foods Santa Clara 03
Jamie Silvestrini working in the Tap Room bar

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The Tap Room is bright, open and inviting, with indoor seating for about 60 guests. The cushioned benches lining the walls are comfortable and a particularly nice touch.

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There’s also a great outdoor space right next to the Tap Room that can seat 40 guests.

Whole Foods Santa Clara 05

I met up with Wesley Miller, the specialty associate coordinator for Northern California, and we discussed some of the highlights of the Tap Room and the store.

The Tap Room bar has 19 taps dedicated to craft beer, plus two taps for wine and a tap for maple cold brew coffee on nitro made in-house.

Tap specialist Art Escobar – having previously been at the Whole Foods Market in Fremont – has been busily procuring and maintaining the draft beers, setting up events and training bartenders.

The store has digital kiosk and self-serve stations, the first of their kinds in Northern CA. There are also wide and varied food options, including a sushi, ramen and bao (savory steamed buns) station and a special menu created just for the Tap Room by Top Chef finalist (from season 12) Melissa King.

Some of Melissa’s appetizer, hamburger and skewer creations include spinach sesame salad, kimchi summer squash, chicken karaage, lemongrass meatballs, Tokyo burger (served with shiitake mushrooms, greens, caramelized onions, yuzu miso aioli), Seoul burger (served with kimchi, arugula, sesame-gochujang aioli), chicken thigh and green onion skewer with yakitori glaze, enoki mushroom skewer wrapped in bacon with togarashi and simple zucchini skewer.

Wesley noted that Melissa’s exclusive menu items pair well with beer and wine and are meant to be shared and enjoyed in small bites.

Wesley also noted that specialty food items throughout the store will be featured at the Tap Room. For instance, look for cheese and chocolate pairing events to take place on an ongoing basis.

The opening of the Tap Room at the Santa Clara store continues Whole Foods’ contributions – especially with regards to fresh draft beer options – to the local beer scene.

The new Tap Room follows the opening of the Tap Room at the San Jose store on Blossom Hill Road this past October, the December 2014 opening of the Mission Creek Brewing Company and tap room at the SanJose Whole Foods on The Alameda and the opening of the Brew Hub tap room in the Cupertino store also in December 2014.

Below are some additional photos from my visit.

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Fries with Citrus Miso Aioli
Whole Foods Santa Clara 09
Skewers of Enoki Bacon and Shiitake Mushrooms
Whole Foods Santa Clara 10
Tokyo Burger, served with shiitake mushrooms, greens, caramelized onions, yuzu miso aioli

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Whole Foods Santa Clara 12
Beer Flight
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Wesley Miller, Specialty Associate Coordinator of Northern California

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Whole Foods Santa Clara 15

Scenes from Bourbon Pub’s Beer Pairing Dinner Featuring Golden State Brewery

I was very fortunate to have attended a special beer pairing dinner last week hosted by Michael Mina’s Bourbon Pub at Levi’s Stadium featuring Golden State Brewery. The dinner was truly a local event, as both the restaurant and Golden State Brewery are located in Santa Clara.

The beer dinner was the third such dinner in Bourbon Pub’s ongoing Hops & Harvest beer dinner series. The dinners – which take place every two months – feature a brewery and a carefully crafted, multi-course menu.

Each course is created to complement a particular beer from the featured brewery, taking into account the paired beer’s aroma and flavor profiles.

Bourbon Pub 01

Bourbon Pub 02

Bourbon Pub 03

The dinner was held in the spacious lower-level Tailgate area next to Bourbon Pub. There were close to 60 guests in attendance for the beer dinner.

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Bourbon Pub 05

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After an opening welcome,  Bourbon Steak & Pub manager Giancarlo DiTullio shared – among other items – that this year marked the 70th anniversary of the 49ers.

As a Bay Area sports fan, I appreciated the tie-in. I’ve been following the Niners ever since the ’80s, back when my dad, brother and I would watch them play on TV. I think I’m close to getting over the Billy “White Shoes” Johnson play from the ’83 season, but I digress…

Bourbon Pub 07

Giancarlo introduced Golden State Brewery representative Ryan Blake, pastry chef Amy Lee and executive chef Steve Gotham. Chef Steve recently joined Bourbon Steak and Bourbon Pub in June, following 6 years as the chef de cuisine at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Bourbon Pub 08

Ryan took his turn to welcome the guests and invited all of us to come out and visit the brewery, mentioning among other things Golden State Brewery’s close proximity to Levi’s Stadium and that the brewery is located at a former Memorex building. Ryan did a good job with engaging the guests when he introduced each beer and during multiple table visits throughout the dinner.

Before long, the first course had arrived.

Bourbon Pub 09

First Course

  • Golden Watermelon, Blistered Shishito Peppers, Yuzu Vinaigrette
  • Pairing: Bay Area Blonde

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The crisp and sweet watermelon provided the right amount of counterbalance for the spicy shishito peppers. The Bay Area Blonde – with its light melon notes – paired very well with the spicy yet refreshing dish.

The successful first course was an auspicious start to the dinner, and our table told chef Steve just that as he was making the rounds.

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Second Course

  • Tenbrink Farms Tomato Salad, Red Curry, Thai Basil
  • Pairing: Heritage Honey Ale

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The tomatoes were farm fresh and bursting with flavor, matching well with the slightly spicy, lemongrass curry and Thai basil. The Heritage Honey Ale offered a harmonious pairing with the tomato salad.

Third Course

  • Crispy Shrimp Lettuce Cup, Sweet and Spicy Sauce, Lime
  • Pairing: Poppy Pale Ale

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The battered shrimp, sauce, lime and lettuce tasted fresh and paired perfectly with the light floral, well-balanced Poppy Pale Ale.

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Giancarlo took a moment to preview the raffle prizes for the evening, which included an authenticated game-worn football pants that belonged to Justin Smith. I hope whoever won appreciated this prize given how great and valuable a player #94 was.

Fourth Course

  • Braised Pork Belly, Green Papaya Salad
  • Pairing: Golden Gate Red Ale

Bourbon Pub 15

The crunchy, fresh green papaya salad helped cut through the richness of the huge portion of braised pork belly. The peppery notes from the Golden Gate Red Ale nicely complemented the combination of the fresh papaya salad and the pork belly.

Though some at our table noted the hard crusts of their pork belly, mine was crisped to delicate perfection, reminding me of the pieces of delectable skin from the Schweinehaxe enjoyed in Germany earlier this summer.

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Fifth Course

  • Ancho Chile Crusted Flank Steak, Guacamole, Crispy Tortilla
  • Pairing: Cold Brew Coffee Stout

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This course elicited plenty of oohs and ahs from folks around me. The Cold Brew Coffee Stout paired wonderfully with the creamy, slightly citrusy guacamole, coffee grounds and buttery steak.

For some, the Stout was an unexpected pairing for the main course, but the subtle coffee bitterness in the Stout handily balanced the heartiness of the steak and the richness of the guacamole.

Sixth Course

  • Citrus Tart, Crème Fraiche Sherbert, Grapefruit Foam
  • Pairing: Eureka! IPA

Bourbon Pub 20

The dessert course was also a winner, though some were surprised by the pairing of an IPA with dessert. Those who expressed surprise soon realized how well the grapefruit aroma and the hoppy, citrus flavors of the Eureka! IPA matched the citrus tart and grapefruit foam.

I had a great time meeting a number of folks at our table, including beer enthusiasts and those new to the world of beer and its versatility, especially when paired with stellar food.

The pairings were creative and well executed. The service was excellent, and the vibe was festive. And I’m so grateful to have enjoyed all this with Andrea.

Bourbon Pub’s next beer dinner is set to take place Thursday, October 13, and will feature San Jose’s Strike Brewing Company.

Below are additional pictures from the evening.

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Upcoming Hops & Harvest Beer Dinner at Michael Mina’s Bourbon Pub to Feature Golden State Brewery

Bourbon Pub Golden State Brewery

The next Hops & Harvest beer-and-food pairing dinner at Michael Mina’s Bourbon Pub – located in Levi’s Stadium, Ground Level (4900 Marie P. DeBartolo Way, Santa Clara) – is set for Friday, August 19 at 6pm.

The beer dinner will truly be a local affair as each of the six courses will be paired with a beer from Golden State Brewery, which opened their taproom and brewery in Santa Clara back in February.

New executive chef Steven Gotham has crafted a menu to showcase the versatility of beer when paired with good food. Below is a peek at the menu:

Six-Course Menu

First Course
Golden Watermelon with Blistered Shishito Peppers and Yuzu Vinaigrette
Pairing: Bay Area Blonde

Second Course
Tenbrink Farms Tomato Salad with Red Curry and Thai Basil
Pairing: Heritage Honey Ale

Third Course
Crispy Shrimp Lettuce Cups
Pairing: Poppy Pale Ale

Fourth Course
Braised Pork Belly with Green Papaya Salad
Pairing: Golden Gate Red Ale

Fifth Course
Ancho Chile Crusted Flank Steak, Guacamole, and Crispy Tortilla
Pairing: Cold Brew Coffee Stout

Sixth Course
Citrus Tart, Yogurt Sorbet, Grapefruit Foam
Pairing: Eureka! IPA

Tickets for the beer dinner are $65 per person (not including tax and gratuity). Seating is limited, and reservations can be made by calling 408-579-4460 or emailing

Having started earlier this year, this is the third dinner in the Hops & Harvest series at Bourbon Pub. The previous beer dinner featured Coronado Brewing Company.

Cocina Central in Mountain View Hosts 7-Course Beer Dinner Featuring Santa Clara Valley Brewing

SCV Brewing beer dinner at Cocina Central

I’ve heard of 4-course beer-pairing dinners for sure, as well as 5-course dinners and even 6-courses. But I’m pretty sure that 7-course beer-pairing dinners are a rarity.

Cocina Central in Mountain View (2590 W. El Camino Real, Ste. 13) will host just such a beer dinner July 9, 5:30pm-8pm with paired beers – including new releases Alviso Mills Hefeweizen and Dairy Hill Milk Stout – from San Jose’s Santa Clara Valley Brewing.

This beer dinner is a result of meetings – and tastings – between SCV Brewing’s sales manager Peter Estaniel and Cocina Central’s executive chef Elias Cisneros, who recently announced the menu (updated below) – featuring regional Mexican dishes – for the evening.

Tostadas de Aguachile
Sinaloa-Style Shrimp Ceviche
Pairing: Dry Creek Blonde Ale

Poc Chuc
Pre-Hispanic Barbecued Pork Marinated in Sour Orange
Pairing: Alviso Mills Hefeweizen

Tikin Xic
Traditional Yucatan Fish Marinated in Achiote
Pairing: Umunhum Pale Ale

Sopes de Nopales Asados y Chicharron
Pairing: Big Moody Barleywine Ale

Carne Asada
Marinated Skirt Steak
Pairing: New Almaden Imperial Red Ale

Mexican Bread Pudding with Dried Fruits
Pairing: St. Isidore Belgium Strong Ale

Paletas de Banana Horchata
Cinnamon-Rice Ice Cream
Pairing: Dairy Hill Milk Stout

Tickets are $45 – reasonably priced for any beer dinner let alone a 7-course beer-pairing dinner – and available through the dinner’s Eventbrite page. With 60 spots available for the event, guests are encouraged to make reservations as soon as possible.

Below is a sneak peek to the 7 courses courtesy of Peter:

SCV Brewing Beer Dinner

Michael Mina’s Bourbon Pub at Levi’s Stadium Hosts 2nd Hops & Harvest Beer Dinner Featuring Coronado Brewing Co.

Bourbon Pub Hosts upcoming Hops & Harvest Beer Dinner featuring Coronado Brewing Co
Bourbon Pub hosts upcoming Hops & Harvest Beer Dinner featuring Coronado Brewing Co.

Michael Mina’s Bourbon Pub – located in Levi’s Stadium, Ground Level (4900 Marie P. DeBartolo Way, Santa Clara) – is set to host their second beer dinner event – a six-course affair – on Thursday, June 23 at 6:30pm.

The dinner is a part of their recently launched Hops & Harvest Beer Dinner series, the brainchild of operations manager Ed Tracy.

The inaugural beer dinner in April was a well-received event that attracted approximately 60 attendees. The upcoming dinner features a six-course menu, including offerings from well-regarded Coronado Brewing Co.

The Menu

First Course
Minted Melon & Speck
Pairing: Orange Ave Wit

Little Gem, Pickled Shallot, Citrus, Radish, Brioche
Pairing: Easy Up Pale

Crispy Cod Taco, Jicama Slaw, Avocado, Chipotle Aioli
Pairing: Islander IPA

Smoked Brisket, Baked Beans, Corn Hush Puppy
Pairing: Mermaid’s Red

Pavlova, Crispy Meringue, Coconut Sorbet, Compressed Pineapple
Pairing: Stingray IPA

Warm Berry Cobbler, Strawberry Ice Cream, Red Verjus Gastrique
Pairing: Berry The Hatchet (Hefeweizen)

Tickets for the dinner are $65 per person and does not include tax and gratuity. Seating is limited, and reservations can be made by calling 408-579-4460 or emailing

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Pastrami and Rye (Beers) Bottle Share


I was recently fortunate enough to attend a “Pastrami and Rye Beers”-themed bottle share organized by my friend and local beer enthusiast Matt Thompson. In his invitation, he mentioned that he was in the midst of making five pounds of pastrami and had the idea to pair the pastrami with rye beers.

Us early birds: Srish (host), Matt (organizer) and Mike
Several of the early birds: Srish (host), Matt (organizer) and Mike

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to stay long, but I did enjoy several delicious beers before leaving – folks were generous and brought awesome beers. More importantly, I was able to catch up with several friends I hadn’t seen for a while, as well as meet new friends.

Matt Thompson

Matt is a great cook. In addition to the pastrami, he also made pretzels and marshmallows.



Pastrami sandwich

Bruery Terreux Saison Rue 2015, 8.5% ABV
Bruery Terreux Saison Rue 2015, 8.5% ABV
North Coast Brewing Old Stock Ale 2014 Cellar Reserve (Ale Aged in Rye Whiskey Barrels), 13.75% ABV
North Coast Brewing Old Stock Ale 2014 Cellar Reserve (Ale Aged in Rye Whiskey Barrels), 13.75% ABV
An elevated beer pairing: Pastrami Sandwich paired with Old Stock Ale Aged in Rye Whiskey Barrels
An elevated beer pairing: pastrami sandwich paired with Old Stock Ale Aged in Rye Whiskey Barrels
Super fresh smoked salmon
Super fresh smoked salmon – caught and smoked within the prior 48 hours. Thanks, Michelle H.!
Discretion Brewing Uncle Dave's Rye IPA, 7% ABV
Discretion Brewing Uncle Dave’s Rye IPA, 7% ABV
To Øl Smoke on the Porter, Fire in the Rye, 13.2% ABV
To Øl Smoke on the Porter, Fire in the Rye, 13.2% ABV
Enjoying some last pieces of pastrami
Enjoying some last pieces of pastrami before leaving
Cheers from Matt, Michelle, Michelle, Anne & Mike
Cheers from Matt, Michelle D., Michelle H., Anne & Mike!

Thanks to Matt for organizing the get-together. Special thanks to Srish for offering up his place.

Cheers! Prost! Gunbae!