© Sage Osterfeld/Lost Abbey
The barrel room at Lost Abbey.

Writer Christian DeBenedetti reported on San Diego’s craft-beer scene in F&W’s June issue. He recently returned to San Diego to attend the city’s first-ever Beer Week, with 300 events held in 40 bars, 45 restaurants and five hotels. Here, his highlights:

* At Lost Abbey’s Barrel Night, 150 guests gathered to taste 10 rare, uncarbonated ales that had been aging in oak barrels. The ales were paired with beer-friendly foods like seared pork belly on crispy brussels sprouts and mussels steamed in beer.

* Several guest brewmasters were on hand for Q&As and tastings. Colby Chandler of Ballast Point discussed why San Diego has suddenly leaped to the forefront of America’s craft-beer scene. His theory: “Ambitious home brewers in the 1980s and '90s helped spur the rise of commercial brewing in the area, which in turn has inspired a new generation of artisanal producers.”

* At 1500 Ocean, a restaurant at Coronado Island’s historic Hotel Del Coronado, chef Brian Sinnott created dishes to match distinctive local beers from Ballast Point, Lost Abbey and Coronado. Among the most successful pairings: Lost Abbey’s earthy-yet-tangy, orange-hued, 6.5-percent-alcohol, saison-style Carnevale Ale with braised chicken oysters (two small, round pieces of dark meat on the back of a bird, near the thigh) served piccata style.