One of the best things about the popularity of the American craft beer movement is the opportunity it provides to raise money and awareness for worthy causes. After successfully overcoming a breast cancer diagnosis in 2010, Green Flash Brewing Company Co-Founder Lisa Hinkley launched the company’s Treasure Chest initiative. Through the annual release of a special beer and a series of nationwide events, the program has raised over $300,000 for regional cancer-related charities. Sunday marked the beginning of the yearly campaign with the 6th iteration of the Treasure Chest Beer and Food Fest at Cellar 3 in Poway.
While previous versions of the gourmet beer and food pairing event took place at the company’s headquarters in Mira Mesa, the move to the Poway barrel aging facility provided a few distinct advantages. The biggest benefit to the relocation was the ability to host live music, which isn’t permitted at the brewery. The largely-outdoor setup also provided a more continuous flow, as attendees didn’t have to mingle throughout the barrels, brew kettles and bottling equipment of the production area.
As usual, the lineup for the festival featured 10 dishes from restaurants across San Diego County, each with a Green Flash beer pairing. The offerings ranged from upscale coastal comfort food (scallop and polenta from Tom Ham’s Lighthouse) to gourmet confections (goat cheese tart from Decoy Dockside Dining). The most outlandish pairing of the day also happened to be –in my opinion—the best bite of the entire festival. A play on ferrero rocher made with chicken liver pâté, hazelnut, spiced chocolate and poppy seeds by Blank Slate restaurant consultants packed a sweet and salty combination that paired beautifully with Lustrous Frumento with Luxardo cherries.
With guests traveling between stations, the soundtrack came in the form of live performances by The Sleepwalkers and Brawley. For further entertainment, attendees participated in cornhole competition, took aim at a dunking booth and even participated in beer trivia with the winner scoring a Green Flash prize pack.
Along with the main thoroughfare of culinary offerings, a side tent held the latest edition of the company’s Behind the Craft educational series. The first session featured oyster shucking with representatives from Ironside in Little Italy. Next up was a question and answer session with brewers from Green Flash as well as Cellar 3 Barrelmaster Pat Korn. The final presentation was a beer and cheese pairing led by Green Flash Vice President of Retail Operations Dave Adams and Rob Graff from Venissimo Cheese.
Sunday’s event marked the beginning of the 7th annual Treasure Chest campaign, but there are plenty of other celebrations throughout the country. Schedules for tappings of the Treasure Chest IPA can be found on the Green Flash website, and those on the East Coast can look forward to a Treasure Chest Fest at the company’s Virginia Beach brewery on October 15.