Skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon
Visit the Midday Edition homepage

Great Craft Brew And Beer-Inspired Food In San Diego

November 6, 2012 1:19 p.m.


Bruce Glassman, president Chef's Press, publisher/author of Brew Food,

John Egan, Brewmaster, Mission Brewery, San Diego

Related Story: Great Craft Brew And Beer-Inspired Food In San Diego


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. For some San Diegans, the only thing that's better than a winning candidate on election night is a nice cold beer. As you probably know, San Diego is celebrated as the craft beer brewing capital of the country. And since we are right in the middle of San Diego's annual beer week, we thought we'd talk about something new to do with beer: Cook with it! A new cookbook is packed with recipes that incorporate San Diego beers as ingredients and pair menu items with the perfect beer. Bruce Glassman, president of chef's fest. His newest book is called Brew Food. And John Eagan is here too, brew master.

EAGAN: Thanks for having us.

CAVANAUGH: You brought a few things with you, Bruce!

GLASSMAN: I did. When we talked a little bit before, you said that you weren't really a beer drinker.

CAVANAUGH: I wasn't going to say anything about it.


GLASSMAN: That's a challenge. And we like that. San Diego brewer, they have a saying, if you say you don't like beer, you just haven't tried enough of them.

CAVANAUGH: Well, that indeed looks like it's going to occur! But I want to start out, what in general -- you have this brew food cookbook that incorporates brew as an ingredient in all of these menu items. What in general does beer add to a recipe?

GLASSMAN: Well, different beers add different things. There are dark beers like stouts and porters that add a malty caramely type of thing. And you can use those in sauces and braises and meats. Hoppy beers tend to add a crisp citric qualities, acidity, you tend to add them toward the end of a recipe. So depending on the beer style and what you're trying to achieve by adding the beer to the recipe, you'll get all sorts of different outcomes. The really cool thing about beer as opposed to wine is that brewers are really much more like chefs. I say that all the time than wine makers are. Wine makers are sort of constricted to creating a beverage with the grapes that they have. Brewers are able to create real recipes and add all sorts of different flavor components, aroma components. And when they part of the beer, then you can use that beer sort of as a palette of seasoning in different recipes.

CAVANAUGH: Do you find yourself more like a chef than a vintner?

EAGAN: Yeah, I'd definitely say closer to a chef. You're limited to what grapes you have available. And as a brewer, we've got a huge amount of ingredients to choose from. It seems like every year there's just more and more like this new malt or that new hop. So when you think about those two ingredients and then you add yeast as another ingredient and water, you can change your water profile and use the same ingredients and the beer is going to taste different. You can use the same ingredients and use 100 different yeast strains, and they're all going to be different. So the amount of flavors you can come up with are just mind boggling.

CAVANAUGH: Bruce, give us an example from the book of a standard recipe that's livened up with the edition of beer.

GLASSMAN: Well, there's a beer-braised leg of lamb that gingham does. And what he does is he uses Heffeweizen, which we actually have one to taste today. It's got some crisp acidity to it, and he adds that to the lamb to offset the fattiness of the meat. That's why quite often you'll see chefs adding crisp, hoppy acidic beers to offset the richness and featness of something. There are other chefs that will braise pork belly in a dark, rich malty beer to compliment or bring out the nuttiness and the caramel qualities both in the meat and the beer. So it really depends on what the chef is trying to achieve. You can go with complimentary or contrasting.

CAVANAUGH: I'm going to ask John a question. It might be time for you to --

EAGAN: I'll get to work on that.

CAVANAUGH: You got a recipe, John, featured in this book for beer-battered fish tacos. How did you choose the beer? Obviously it's a mission brewery beer.

EAGAN: It is. It's our shipwreck, double IPA. I had made fish tacos in the past with a couple different IPAs, and I chose an IPA because it was lighter in malt character, but the crispness of the hop made it stand out a little bit in the batter. So when I tasted shipwreck for the first time, and I was cooking fish tacos around the same time, I tried that in the fish tacos. And I don't know what it was about it, but there was a little bit more malt in that beer than a typical double IPA, and it just seemed to set it apart. Then with the addition of finely sliced hab annieros in the batter, it was really tasty.

CAVANAUGH: And also the photographs in this book are just fabulous.

GLASSMAN: Yes, our photographer did an awesome job. We're really happy with that.

CAVANAUGH: So you poured out a small amount of what it looks like beer.

GLASSMAN: Is it too small for you?

CAVANAUGH: No, it's quite all right! I just want to mention the last time we did a beer tasting on the program, we were on at 9:00 in the morning.


CAVANAUGH: So this at least is a little bit better. What is it that we're going to be trying here?

GLASSMAN: This is Carnivale, host abbey does this, world-renowned for doing Belgian style ales. And this is a Belgian/French style ale that uses American hops. And it's sort of a light, crisp, refreshing farmhouse ale. And I was think figure you're more of a wine drinker, this might be appealing because it has a lot of wine-related qualities.

CAVANAUGH: It does! I just took a sip. It's very nice. It doesn't have what I would -- what my uneducated palette would talk about, that sort of beer after taste.

GLASSMAN: Right, yes.

CAVANAUGH: I know some people who love beer love that. But that's kind of the thing that I don't like. And it's really sweet. It's light.

GLASSMAN: Right, light, crisp, refreshing. And a lot of brewers in town do CÈzanne do them with things like orange peel.

CAVANAUGH: Oh, that would go nice with this. When you went to San Diego chefs and got them involved, did they tell you they were used to cooking with beer or this was a new thing?

GLASSMAN: Yes. No, most of them were very used to doing it. That's sort of where the whole idea for doing brew food came from. We really wanted to celebrate the exciting stuff that's going on in San Diego with creating beer-centric cuisine. And there are chefs all over town, at Hamilton's, and O'Brian's, they're creating dishes that go with beer that go way beyond the usual pizza and hot dog and Hamburgers, to pair with beer and bring out the different qualities in cooking. So all of these recipes were pretty much already there.

CAVANAUGH: That is great. What was that again?

GLASSMAN: We might have converted her already. This is Carnival, lost abbey, French Belgian inspired says an ale. Bruce, you talked about the fact that you can do in a sense more with beer than you can with wine when it comes do creating different flavors, and therefore you can incorporate them into different recipes in different ways. I think a lot of people might be used to cooking a little bit with wine. Is there any difference in the way that you actually need to use beer in a recipe than you would use wine?

GLASSMAN: Yeah, the basic guideline is that the malt-forward beer, the darker beers, the ones that are lower in bitterness they're things that you can reduce to create, like, beer caramels and beer sauces, and you can bruise meats in them, and they can reduce and they won't become super bitter. There's a higher malt profile on the to think than the hops. For the hoppier beers like appeal ales and IPAs and such, those are mostly used in recipes toward the end. They're used for finishing touches to add citric quality, hoppiness, a little bitterness. So you don't want to bring those to a boil.

CAVANAUGH: Now, John, besides cooking with a certain beer to make your beer-battered fish taco, you also paired, you recommend a pairing of the recipe with a beer. And that's, for all the recipes in here, all these items are paired with a certain beer. So when you're looking for that kind of pairing, I think, again, all of us know it's like white wine for fish and red wine for beefs and red sauces. Are there general pairings for types of beers with types of recipes?

EAGAN: I'm probably not the best person to answer that. But I could definitely say that --

CAVANAUGH: Well, which beer did you pair your fish tacos with?

EAGAN: I had shipwreck in there with it. But I definitely would say that I'm a big fan of spicy foods. Especially like Thai food, I think that a lot of people would agree with me when I say that if you're eating really spicy Thai food, IPA goes well with it: The bitterness and the hop character for me at least tends to offset some of the heat. So that's one specific type of beer with the food. And then also with, like a dessert. You could go either a chocolate or vanilla type dessert. And a really rich stout would seem to compliment the chocolate or the vanilla. Whereas I wouldn't recommend drinking an IPA with I chocolate dessert. It seems like it would clash.

GLASSMAN: Probably the greatest beer pairing that I did in the course of doing this book was an IPA for a dessert. We had just finished shooting a dessert that Tyson Blake did, a Doppelbock rum caramel and a blue cheese whipped cream. And we had a dark beer paired with that originally. But we had this hoppy beer called Skulpin, one of San Diego's best. And I took a bite of the bread pudding with the rum caramel, and riched for the IPA, and it was absolutely the most perfect pairing. Because the bitterness and the hoppiness of the beer cut through the really sweet caramel. And the maltiness in the bread pudding was really beautifully offset by that.

CAVANAUGH: I can't help but notice though that a lot of these recipes in this book are what would call man food.


EAGAN: Totally!

CAVANAUGH: You've got three different kinds of Mac And cheese. A burger, lots of fish tacos.

GLASSMAN: Plenty of pork belly.

CAVANAUGH: You even have Belgian waffles paired with bacon.

GLASSMAN: Yes, that's right.

CAVANAUGH: So was this on purpose?

GLASSMAN: I don't know. I think probably that's what the chefs that are doing beer food in town tend to gravitate toward. But there are a bunch of lighter things that we did too. Catherine Humfis did this really, really beautiful brown butter seared scallops with an IPA gas streak, with hop flower dust and candied peanuts. So there are a bunch of recipes in there that aren't so -- well, that was manly enough, I guess. But not so manly.

EAGAN: Add bacon to it.

CAVANAUGH: Exactly. Just add bacon to anything. We have to talk about the desserts.


CAVANAUGH: And you brought one with you.

EAGAN: Do you want to get a quick taste of the thunder white? It's one of my favorite heffs.

CAVANAUGH: That's nice too. Are these beers you brought specifically for people who don't like beer?


EAGAN: They're part of my -- yeah, part of my conversion program, yes. When I heard you were not a beer drinker, I sort of chose these knowing that they're good possibilities for beam who like wine and sort of bridge beers. And they don't have the flavors that you typically associate with the beers that you've probably tasted before. This one is sort of light, refreshing, crisp wheat beer, but with tones of banana and cloves. And Jim Crute does a really great job with this.

CAVANAUGH: Okay. We need to get to the dessert.

EAGAN: You hear my keys rattling, that's my ballast point bottle opener moving here.

CAVANAUGH: Why don't I ask you about beer week itself? How big a deal is this for brewers in San Diego?

EAGAN: It's totally a big deal. It's become even more of a big deal especially in the last couple years. There's a ton of events going on. And a lot of brewers use this time to kind of showcase new beers, they know that they're going to be seeing people from out of town. There's the San Diego brewers' guild beer fast valwhich just happened Saturday. And so it's a time for people to show their best and also see each other. You know, everyone in the -- San Diego brewers, most of them are good friends, and they've known each other for many years. So these little get-togethers or events that we have, it's a good chance to see but other brewers out and about. During the rest of the year when events aren't happening, everyone is working so much.

CAVANAUGH: Well, San Diego really broke through on the international beer scene.

EAGAN: Absolutely.

CAVANAUGH: Just a couple of years ago, really. Have we maintained that status?

EAGAN: Definitely. And it's increasing too. There are a lot of new markets opening up in Europe and all over Asia and Australia. Specifically San Diego craft beer is very desirable in those areas. I've actually got some family in Sweden who are dying to get my beers over there. Upon so we're in the process of just figuring that out.

CAVANAUGH: That's exciting

EAGAN: Yeah, it's really fun.

CAVANAUGH: Now, I have to tell you, I am running out of time. But I tasted the dessert. Tell me what this dessert is.

GLASSMAN: This is one of my favorite recipes from the book. It's a stout trifle. It's actually very simple to do. It's lady fingers that are soaked in stout. He uses Speedway stout from Ale Smith, which is one of the greatest beers in town, I think.

CAVANAUGH: It is really to die for. This is just incredible. I have to go and read some news after all this. So I've got to tell you thank you so much.