When Mike and Lisa Hinkley moved Green Flash from Vista to Mira Mesa, they created a lovely home for their booming business. When you have a lovely home, you want to show it off by throwing dinner parties. Monday night’s Green Flash Supper Club with Craft & Commerce was a dinner party that not only showed off their rapidly-growing operation, but also what great beer does with great food.
Dozens of people filed into the Green Flash brewery promptly at 6 p.m., and grabbed their favorite beers before sitting at the long communal tables. If the surrounding brewing equipment wasn’t enough of a clue, a spray of dried hop cones in the middle of the table made it perfectly clear that this evening revolves around the beer. Dave Adams, Certified Cicerone and Director of Beer Education for Green Flash, and Mike Kessler, Executive Chef for Craft & Commerce, served as dual emcees, and explained the beer and food pairings before every course.
Kessler used his background as a sushi chef to prepare the first course. Thin cuts of Kanpachi –the Japanese name for a mature Amberjack fish—wrapped around crispy potato straws was a light, but still elegant way to kick off the meal. The citrus flavor and aroma of Saison Diego complimented the sweet fish and blood orange sauce nicely.
Green Flash decided to spend a year creating six beers that celebrate all things hoppy with their Hop Odyssey program, and Citra Session IPA is the third beer in the series. Kessler paired this beer up with a Peruvian-style corn cake topped with spring vegetables in a light curry sauce. Citra Session’s citrus and tropical fruit flavor and aroma played well with the sweetness of the corn and spices in the curry.
For the third course, Kessler took the crowd on a trip to the bayou with a shrimp and andouille sausage jambalaya. Kessler cooked the shrimp in Green Flash Imperial IPA, and laid them on a bed of dirty rice with a creamy texture that more closely resembled a Cajun-spiced risotto. The bold hop flavors of Imperial IPA were perfect to cut through the smoky heat from the sausage in this hearty dish.
Green Flash Brewmaster Chuck Silva stood up to introduce the beer pairing for the fourth course, Double Stout, as “dark chocolate truffles rolled in cocoa powder.” Kessler used Double Stout to braise short ribs until they were fork-tender, and then used the braising liquid to create a sauce that he spooned over the short ribs and celeriac fondant. This would be a great dish to have on a cold winter day if such things existed in San Diego.
The dessert course came after a brief “thank you” to the Green Flash and Craft & Commerce staff from Mike Hinkley. Candela Rye Barleywine, a collaborative effort by Green Flash and Florida’s Cigar City Brewing, came paired with an Eccles cake with roasted figs and Stilton cheese. Kessler put a Green Flash spin on the traditional currant cake filling by soaking the fruit in the barleywine. The intense flavor of the Stilton cheese provided a nice counterbalance to Candela’s sweetness.
With five courses, it would be very easy to overstuff everyone, but the portion sizes for all of the dishes were just about right to make sure that everyone left full of great food and beer. Green Flash has two more Supper Club parties coming up this year: one with La Jolla’s Whisknladle (scheduled for September), and another tentatively scheduled with Port in December. That’s two more opportunities to go one of Mike and Lisa Hinkley’s dinner parties.