Santa Monica Brew Works is expanding. Considering the big footprint they have already in a pricey beach community real estate market, that must bode well.
Alas, I was a little chuffed by their flight rules, which could be better. Choose two of four Barrel-aged and you get upped to the higher ($18) price from the standard ($12). Plus the excluded their new release beer hazy DIPA. I would think that on a late afternoon on a Saturday, a few days after release, they could safely pour a few 5oz tasters. Especially in light of the fact that they are charging $10 for a 16oz pour. They should really just do individual pour prices.
The space, though loud, is usually filled with people enjoying football on the TV or discussions while having their beers. I paid my extra price to try a couple special barrel-aged beers and here are my bullet point reviews.
Leitrim Dry Irish Stout – classically done. Good minerality and coffee taste.
Burnt Out Bartender – has initial malt hop hit. A little watery though. Also a little hop harsh at the back. Alcohol burn too. Bold flavors fade quickly though. Citrus peeks out at the end.
Catalina Cruise Imperial PCH – pretty much just bourbon. PCH flavor is buried. As it warms the big flavors tone down here too.
Gravity Coaster Barrel-aged Barleywine – pretty high on the spirits side. Wood notes.
Overall, the prices and the beer you get for that money are still not matching up. I think I will stick with PCH when on tap.