The Trevese Brewers Dinner featuring the beers from Devils Canyon Brewing Company (DCB) took place just about a week ago. I did the main write up on Beer Connoisseur (BC), you can read the post here. I’m not going to spend a great deal of time rehashing what I wrote about on BC. Everything I wrote there still stands but I’d just like to expand on a couple of things I just barely touched upon there.
Before I get into the criticisms, I’d just like to say that I think DCB did a great job at the Brewers Dinner. I can’t say enough good things about the people at DCB. Jason, Chris, Jim, John, Kristiann do a fantastic job brewing good beer in a relatively beer-desolate part of the peninsula. Their passion for craft beer shows whenever you talk to them and it shows in the final product. If you happen to see their taps around the Bay Area, don’t hesitate to support them. It’s through our continued support that small, independent craft breweries such as DCB can continue to make the craft beers we love to drink.
At the end of this post, I will have embedded two videos I stitched together from that night. Let me know if you found any value to them. It’ll help me decide if I should continue with the videos or if I should just focus on the other stuff.
Now, onto the criticisms.
This first item, it’s not really a criticism more than it is what happened. Outside of the DCB crew who attended the dinner, turnout was pretty small. Many things could have contributed to this. First, the date of the dinner kept on changing. It was originally supposed to be held on July 7th but kept getting pushed back for a variety of reasons. Eventually a stake was driven into the ground and July 21st was the hard date. Fortunately, Sammy and I were still able to make it. Second, I’m not sure if this event was promoted enough. I feel that I didn’t do enough on my own blog to support the event and I promise to do better in the future. Even so, one can’t really pin all your hopes on a single blogger. Third, I think the $100/person price tag was a huge hurdle for many people to jump over. I will readily admit that I was able to secure a discount to the event, which made it easier for me to attend. I’ll talk more about the price point a little later.
Having hosted several beer/food pairing events in the past, I can tell you first hand the South Bay craft beer scene is horrible. By no means am I pointing fingers at the South Bay brewers, it’s more a reflection of the general attititude people here have. There’s just no respect or appreciation for good beer. Most people I know get their beer education from the commercials on TV. It’s rare to get a great turnout for any of the South Bay beer events I’ve been to outside of beer festivals, so I would’ve been very surprised had the Trevese Brewers Dinner sold out.
My biggest criticism, and one I barely touched upon, was the lack of Trevese Executive Chef Mike Miller’s participation in the dinner. The press release stated that Chef Miller and DCB brewers would be out during the reception to talk to the guests as well as talk about the dinner as it progressed. DCB held up their share of the billing but Chef Miller was notedly absent. Not only was Chef Miller absent during dinner, it is my understanding he left right as dinner was over. I don’t even remember him coming out to thank us for coming out to his restaurant.
I can only speculate on why Chef didn’t make himself available during the dinner. I’m hoping that it’s because they were short handed and he needed to stay in the back to help out. I’m hoping he left early because sort of emergency popped up that he needed to take care of. Frankly, any other reason would leave me disappointed. At the very base level, I was expecting to be able to talk to DCB brewers as well as the Chef of Trevese and not all my expectations were met. DCB held up their end of the bargain but Chef Miller fell short on his end.
When the Executive Chef of a Michelin Star-rated restaurant skips out on his own event without notice, that doesn’t paint a really good picture of him or his restaurant by extension. As someone who really enjoys good food, I was looking forward to hearing Chef talk about the dishes, what was his inspiration and why he made the culinary decisions he made. Call me curious. His absence fills me with questions and doubt. You could tell from the way Jason talked about his beers that he has a real passion for what he does. I was looking forward to hearing the same from Chef Miller but obviously, it wasn’t to be.
Was it worth it?
This is a tough question to answer. Assigning worth or value to something implies it is in comparison to something else. That’s just how currency works and by extension, monetary worth. The short answer: no, it wasn’t. Let me explain further.
The first $100/person dinner I went to was the Gold Medal dinner I went to last year in Boulder, Colorado. The Gold Medal dinner was easily worth the $100/person cost, in fact, I would’ve paid more. The breweries in attendance were Allagash, Avery, Dogfishead, Russian River and Lost Abbey/Port Brewing. As you can imagine, Rob Tod, Adam Avery, Sam Calagione, Vinnie Cilurzo and Tomme Arthur (respectively) were all in attendence to talk about their beers indepth as well as relate a few stories of the time in Europe together. This was a 5-course meal paired with 2 beers per course from different breweries. It should go without saying but the food that night was awesome. Like I said, I would’ve paid more for that dinner so while $100/person may seem like a lot, it was a fraction of what the true value was. Still, the Gold Medal Dinner is the benchmark for future $100 beer dinners. Ridiculously high expectations, I know but would you be any different?
All that being said, I cannot honestly say the value of the Trevese dinner matched the Gold Medal dinner. Nothing against DCB but had there been 4 additional breweries that night, I would be 4 additional breweries closer to saying it was of even value. Both restaurants cook at such a high level that it would’ve been a wash had the number of courses matched up. Most importantly, the chef of The Kitchen in Boulder came out during every course to explain what he did and why. It was great to hear about the food portion of the beer/food dinner. Most of us were there for the beer anyway so to get background information regarding what we were eating was the proverbial “cherry on top”.
The thing is, I’m not even asking that Trevese lower their price. I’m not going to sit here and say that Trevese shouldn’t have charged what they did for the dinner. They know the price of their time and skill and that’s the the number they came up with. I am okay with that. I am mainly pointing out that my expectations weren’t met and that when compared to another $100 beer/food dinner, the other dinner provided more value for the same price. Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t think it’s too much to expect what was promised or to wish for more value for the cost.
Despite all this, I would support another Brewers Dinner at Trevese, assuming of course Sammy and I could afford it. There’s just not much happening in the South Bay with regards to beer and fine dining so when the opportunit presents itself, I do my best to support my local craft beer scene.