19Monday March 30, 2009- Beer Dinner at the Cass House in Cayucos, CA- Jensen
and Grace Lorenzen are on their second restaurant together. The Cass House
is remarkable place right on the central CA coast.

4 courses, 4 beers and one hell of a time with a really cool chef, crowd
and property for $59.00. The menu will include…

– bistro salad with a truffled quail egg and housemade headcheese
(jensen’s favorite)
-“mussels from brussels”,
– belgian ale braised pork shank with hop infused croissant bread pudding
– dark chocolate beignets.

Beers will include favorites from the Rogue Brewery (which are not
available on the central coast and nearly impossible to get). As a bonus,
try 2 house beers made by the chef and wine director.

In case guests don’t happen to live in Cayucos and were wondering how
they were going to get home after so much beer and food, the staff has
graciously offered to take 30% off he cost of a room so all they have to
do is walk upstairs.

Interview with the Chef:

1. What is it about beer and food that interests you- aside from the obvious.
Jensen: There is something very satisfying about sitting down and drinking a beer.  Sometimes I appreciate a cold beer after working twelve plus hours in a hot kitchen; at this level I want a cold Budweiser or Corona, light and refreshing.  Other times, I appreciate the subtle nuances of a quality microbrew and like to compare two of the same types of brews made by different brewers to explore the variety of flavor compositions within the same category of beer. At any level, beer is comforting. Its as if after the first sip, somewhere between the bottom of the glass and the front of my palate the essence of the beer lets me know, “its time to relax.”

2. What beers are you currently brewing and why?

Jensen: I just finished brewing a Belgian style beer for the first time and decided that this would be one of the beers I serve at our beer dinner.
I have brewed several other American style ales (Amber, IPA, and a Negra with our wine director Daniel) and I wanted to try something a bit different, more of a dinner beer.  It came out really nice; great clarity for a Belgian, slightly sweet with notes of banana, popcorn and wet redwood.  It definitely brought me back to the 300 year old pub in Brussels where I had my first taste of a true Belgian ale.  Not to say that in my short history of home brewing I was able to surpass several hundred years of cloistered monk genius, but I think it would get the nod from a few Brothers at least.
I want people that have never had experience with home brewing to taste what is possible. Like I said, it’s not perfect but it is a great drinking beer and it has, without a doubt, made me appreciate the efforts of some of the best brewers in the world.

3.What beers are you drinking right now/ what are a couple of your favorites?
Jensen: Other than the every day brews like Anchor Steam, any of the Rogue Brews, and the old standbys like Bud and Coors (sorry to all of the purists that would say that these macro-brews are more sparkling water than beer, but sometimes I just want to slam a beer and crush the can on my head…).
I’ve been enjoying the Hitachino Red Rice and White Ales quite a bit.  I love the color of the Red Rice Ale and the nose on both brews.  The White smells more like a dry Sake than a beer and you definitely smell hints of jasmine rice incorporated in the aroma with Satsuma zest and lavender. The Red is just as striking; notes of red berry make way to ginger and cinnamon.  I would recommend serving these beers to anyone who might have preconceived notions about what a beer “should” taste like or who have in the past mentioned that they don’t like beer because, “It’s too heavy,” or “it’s too bitter,” or “all beer tastes the same.” At some point all beer lovers have heard this. The next time you go over to a friends house for a dinner party and half of the guests cringe when you set a 12 pack on the dinner table, the same people will be thanking you when they taste this beer with their poached king salmon.

4.Tell us about the upcoming beer dinner at the Cass House

Grace: We love wine maker dinners, and we host them at the Cass House often. Every once in a while we like to mix things up. We hosted a beer dinner at our previous restaurant about a year ago and it was a huge hit. We all had so much fun working with pairing beer and food, it really wasn’t something we had ever put serious thought into before. Since then we have learned a lot and we have had countless requests to put on another beer dinner, from people who heard about it and from people who were there. We are going to pick four of our favorite beers to pair with four beer friendly courses, and we will also be pouring two of Jensen and Daniel’s beers for some side by side tastings.

Writter: Joshua Smith

Photos: Rob Stark