Grits’ “California Love” Beer Dinner highlights the Golden State in 6 plates


So far this year, Grits Fullerton‘s beer dinners have seen Chef Cody Storts explore, among several themes, Blood & Guts with Noble Ale Works and The Dirty South with Golden Road Brewing. But he had yet to properly mine his home state of California for inspiration.

For the “California Love” beer dinner Sept. 9, the Grits crew set out to prove why the West Coast is the Best Coast.

They tapped Chico, California’s Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, their Barrel Room and popular Beer Camp series for six beers to pair with courses highlighting the traditional twists and out-of-bounds ideas Chef Cody’s known for.


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Chef Cody Storts introduces Brian Bagby of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company


California Love contest winner Nathan Anderson



Course 1: Humboldt
Pickled Pork Belly, Savory Humboldt Fog Goat & Lemon Cheesecake, Whiskey Cucumber Dashi
Paired with Barrel Aged Bigfoot Barleywine

Chef Cody started with a huge beer and a savory play on dessert up top. The goat and lemon cheesecake had a subtle interplay between creaminess and citrusy-sharpness, with the whiskey cucumber dashi balancing the fat in the cheesecake.


Course 2: Somewhere Between LA and Oakland on the 5 FWY
Tartare, Honeycomb, Roasted Pepitas, Honey Black Garlic Mustard, garlic toast points
Paired with Family Style

With both seared and raw beef, this was a tartare of textures. Egg yolk provided sauce, but it was the aggressive mustard and thick pool of honey that really flavored the dish.




Course 3: Frisco
Mussel & Scallop Cioppino, Roasted Heirloom Tomato Bacon Broth, Lemon, Blueberry Thyme Biscotti
Paired with Tumbler

A bowl of cioppino any San Franciscan could get behind. The real star was the fragrant and fruity Blueberry Thyme Biscotti which accentuated the lemon and salinity of the dish.



Course 4: San Diego
Duck Carnitas Taco, Mole, Roasted Hazelnuts, Lime | Churros | Spearmint Chiclets
Paired with Narwal

My favorite course of the night based on its insanity. A taco, a churro made with biscuit dough and chiclets, which, when eaten in that order was the entree, dessert and an after-dinner mint all in the same course.




Course 5: Napa
Tur-du-ken Rillette, Foie Fat, Grand Marnier Cranberry Chutney, Garlic Crostinis
Paired with Sweet Sunny South

My favorite course of the night based on flavor. The essence of Thanksgiving distilled into one savory, sweet-tart bite. If I could have bought a jar, I would have.

Course 6: Los Angeles
Tart apple cobbler, tart black cherry jam, lemon gel, apple, graham crumble, currants
Paired with Peacho De Chico
Chef Cody’s ode to Los Angeles was a send up of molecular gastronomy with frou-frou plating and sour notes that mellowed out the fruity beer; my favorite glass of the night.


A drink for a job well done!

With California Love in the rear view, the Grits crew is already planning their next beer dinner …

Dinner … theater?

Grits Fullerton
133 W. Chapman Ave. #102
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 449-0939