Well times change and when the bar changed hands a couple years ago, a lot more than the name changed. In just a few short years, the new ownership have taken a fairly run-down local watering hole, and morphed it into one of San Diego's premiere destinations for beer afficionados.
When Hamilton's owner Blair showed us his ambitious menu for The Avery Experience beer dinner, we have to say, we questioned whether the bar could pull it off. After all, a 5-course menu is tough for restaurants to execute well, but Hamilton's is a bar. And one that had yet to even try a basic sit-down. And when you add the fact that they planned to serve 3 different beers for every course - that's right...15 beers in all! - we frankly wondered how he'd ever make it work.
But make it work he and his excellent staff did! They somehow managed to serve all 5 courses and 15 beers to more than 40 guests seated snugly - using just half of the bar. The main bar remained open and was packed, further adding to the circus-like atmosphere of the event. Somehow, amid all the organized chaos, we managed to be fed a pretty fine meal and drank a wide range of crazy beers, while learning about each of them from their creator Adam Avery. The Avery Experience...was a great one!
Here is a quick recap of the menu. Note that the beers were grouped, not by style, but by ABV (alcohol content) and I neglected to capture that info. I do know that the first course beers were around 6-7% and the final ones were all over 15%. Whew! You can visit http://www.averybrewing.com/ for more info on the beers - or stop into Hamilton's and try them yourself.
The Avery Experience Dinner at Hamilton's Tavern
First Course: Heirloom Tomato Salad w/Herbed Goat Crostini
Beers: Karma Ale, White Rascal, India Pale Ale
Second Course: Spinach Salad w/Chicken, Walnuts & Raspberry Vinaigrette
Beers: Ale to the Chief, Collaboration Not Litigation Ale, 15 Anniversary Ale
Third Course: Pork Ribs w/Avery Mephistopheles' Stout BBQ Sauce, Cole Slaw, & Taleggio/Comte Cheeses from Taste
Beers: Salvation, The Reverend, Hog Heaven
Fourth Course: Grilled Steak, Potato Salad & Fourme d'Ambert/Fiscalini 18-mo Cheddar Cheeses from Taste
Beers: The Dictator Series - The Maharaja, The Kaiser, The Czar
Fifth Course: Eclipse Chocolat Truffles, 5-year Farmer's Gouda
Beers: The Demon Flight: The Beast, Samael's Ale, Mephistopheles' Stout