Beer and Food Pairing with Partake and Ballast Point

Oh man, I am late writing this post. I apologize that it is two weeks late, I have been hunkered down writing my thesis paper for my grad program and boy does time fly when you’re having fun…

But this night was A-maz-ing and it is still totally relevant because Partake constantly puts on these events so after reading this, you will know how awesome they are, and you will go.

As you probably already know from previous blog posts, Partake is a gastropub located in Vista. On top of a fantastic menu on normal days, they also put on many beer and wine pairing dinners where they allow their cooks to get creative and bring out a special menu to pair with a guest brewery or winery. Tonight, was Ballast Point. Dun dun dun…

To begin….

Enter: Partake

Enter: Partake

We arrived at the restaurant a bit early. All of these events are held in the bar side of the restaurant.

Bar side

Bar side

We ordered some beers while we waited for the event to start. Partake is very intentional about supporting local breweries and wineries. All of the beers they had on tap were craft brews and, though the selection isn’t huge, they carried a wide variety of styles, ensuring there would be something for everyone.

Luckily the pairing started just as I finished my beer-appetizer.

This pairing was run by a representative from Ballast Point, who introduced the specific beer before each course, giving details about its creation, ingredients, and any other inspiration behind it. He, along with the Partake manager then discussed the food pairing and the ingredients to each course. All I can say is I was equally food and beer drunk by the end of this night and it was sooooooo worth the caloric hangover.

The first course:

Celery root & butternut squash soup, topped with chili oil + Cherry Fathom

Celery root & butternut squash soup with Ballast Point Cherry fathom

Celery root & butternut squash soup with Ballast Point Cherry fathom

Out of every course that evening, this one blew my mind. I will admit that I have never fully understood the concept of food and alcohol pairing beyond the red meat = red wine idea. However, this soup was so light and creamy and the chili oil made it just a bit spicy. The Cherry Fathom beer, is in fact cherry peppers, not fruit, and is a delightfully light and spicy beer as well. The combination of spice and cream brought a beautiful flavor and texture to this course. I am now a believer.

Second course:

Pork sausage turnover w/ Julian cider reduction & Dead Ringer

Pork sausage turnover & BP Dead ringer

Pork sausage turnover & BP Dead ringer

Considering this was mid-October, it was only appropriate that one course featured an Oktoberfest style pairing. This turnover was wonderfully light and the chef even used the local Julian Apple Cider to make the reduction for the sauce.

Dead Ringer is Ballast Point’s classic Oktoberfest style beer, full of toffee flavor, it accented the apple cider reduction and sausage to perfection.

Third course:

Pork belly with broken rice & Pumpkin Down

Pork belly with broken rice & BP Pumpkin Down

Pork belly with broken rice & BP Pumpkin Down

In pairing the pumpkin down, the chefs wanted to stray from the obvious, which would be some type of dessert. They nailed it with this one. The pork belly was actually quite lean, which is something I have never experienced. All of the herbs and corn relish that accompanied it were delightful.

Pumpkin Down is Ballast Point’s pumpkin beer. However, unlike many pumpkin beers it is actual pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie spices, brewed into a Scottish style ale. It had a roasted, nutty flavor, which was the perfect complement to the earthy flavors of the dish.

Fourth course:

Short ribs w/ purple potatoes & Black Marlin

Short ribs with purple potatoes

Short ribs with purple potatoes

oooops….I forgot to take a picture before I started eating. Honestly, I don’t know how I was still consuming anything at this point, let alone short ribs…

Needless to say, they were good.

Black Marlin is a pretty unique porter. It has deep, chocolaty tasting malts, but, as is typical of San Diego beers, has a dash of hops added in to give it some kick. This creates a complex flavor for a porter which, I think, makes it a possible love for anyone. It offers the sweet malty flavors for dark beer lovers, along with a crisp, dry feel for us “hop-heads.”

Final course, I made it.

Panna cotta with pumpkin puree &  White chocolate feuilletine

Panna cotta w/ pumpkin puree & white chocolate feuilletine

Panna cotta w/ pumpkin puree & white chocolate feuilletine

I know I said that the first course blew my mind, but this pairing was equally perfect. The light custard taste of the panna cotta was just the dish to end the night with. It was lightly sweet, but not too heavy after completely stuffing my face in the previous four courses.

BUT THE BEER THOUGH, calm before the storm is a cream ale with locally brewed coffee and vanilla. It is so smooth and wonderfully sweet and could be dessert itself. However, paired with the panna cotta, the two were like an iced pumpkin latte, or something equally magical.

In conclusion, I now understand why beer and food pairings are a thing. The chefs at Partake and the Ballast Point representatives did an incredible job choosing flavors to enhance and balance the  ingredients in each.

And the best part is, you can go to one of these events!!! They also do wine and food pairings, though I am partial to beer. But regardless, I have complete faith it would be equally amazing.

Partake. Eat there. Drink there. Go there.


721 S. Santa Fe, Vista Ca 92083

760 452 7217

Words and photos by Katie Cobb

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