Temecula Tasty: Microbrew + Chili Fest

A solid, it's-almost-summer pairing turns up the heat 'n hops.

IF YOU DIG CHILI AND BEER, what intriguing sound, when heard from the other room, is going to summon you more quickly to the kitchen? The opening of the bottle and the glug-glug of the foam filling up a pilsner glass? Or the slice-slice of a knife against a cutting board, as a piquant pepper gets turned into something that can festively, and flavorfully, top a bowl of chili? It's a hard call, but most chili peeps, and beer sippers, would likely look for the box that says "both" before casting their vote. And the reason why both sounds would hold such sway? Because of this: A hearty, ingredient-excellent chili and a deep-toned craft brew are one of the most timeless, don't-mess-with-it pairings of the food/drink world. If you need to experience both together -- if a side of chips with a beer is only a chili substitute, and if a glass of iced tea with your chili is fine but not quite your jam -- head for Temecula, and the Pechanga Resort & Casino, on the second Saturday in June.

THAT'S JUNE 11, which is when The 8th Annual Pechanga Microbrew Festival and Chili Cook-off sets up appetite-stoking shop. There'll be an octet of homemade, meaty, beany, peppery chilis to sample, all created by chefs on staff at the wine country resort. And there shall be "craft and small production brews" hailing from the region (think Riverside, San Diego, and points dotting OC and LA). Are your chili tastes limitless? They are. Is there a designated driver ticket? For sure -- it's $30. Will there be live music? One practically needs live accompaniment when indulging in spicy, sudsy goodness. Is there a beneficiary? There is indeed: Habitat for Humanity Inland Valley.

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