1st Visit – Shadow Grove

The continued pandemic has not stopped breweries from opening up and now I travel to San Fernando to the still in softly opened phase, Shadow Grove Brewing.

Now, this is a curated space.  From the outside, you cannot tell what you are walking into.  Which is a woodland, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.  The outside windows let in plenty of light but the inside is moody with distinct seating areas.  British punk on the playlist added another note to the experience.

Five beers on tap for this second soft weekend. An old school classic style set.  So old school that there was a Nut Brown on offer.  No IPA either.  You read that right.  And the taster comes with what looks like a tarot card. Nice Wonderland touch. I also liked that they had a little chalkboard with which beer is low.  Nice sales touch that.

Pale Ale was my least favorite.  It was fine.  More earthy than hoppy which actually fits the motif but I am looking for a divergent note when you have this type of list. The lager was fine as well, had a bit of wine character to me.  The Hefeweizen hit the banana clove combo well and had a nice spritz to it.  Three beers in, I an thinking that they are off fo a solid start.  That this isn’t just atmosphere.  The Nut Brown is on mark.  Perfect for watching the new season of the Premier League. Everything is so low ABV too which is great. The sweet stout hit the markers as well.

I do not say this lightly or often but do not sleep on Shadow Grove.  

1st Visit – Telco Brewery

Time for a belated visit to Telco Brewery in Santa Clarita.

Waited out the traffic and arrived right at opening and there were already a few couples seated and drinking.  Telco is an Old school industrial park space, I passed sound stages and medical instrument companies on the way.  

Tip and Ring Pale – Dark and quite malty. British in temperament. Bit of berry note to it.

Static Haze – Has the right murk to it. soft on the palate.  bit of fruit and a bit of pine needles to it.

Busy Line Belgian Golden – has that initial Belgian quality but then it fades off into a place close to menthol. 

2 Rings IPA – starts off quite bright citrusy but the aromas and flavors quickly fade.

Overall, I kind of expected the quality to be higher for a brewery that has been around for more than a year (maybe two?).

Finally, on a more positive note the Telco branded phone booth is a great touch.  Great for photo ops.

1st Visit – Far Field Beer Co.

Far Field Beer Co. opened on Saturday after months of doing to-go only and here is my report on the beers and the taproom…

Feller Hoppy Pilsner – very toasty and malt forward.  Not much in the way of hoppiniess though. if sold as lager would work better for me.

Home Range IPA – quite dank. heavy bitterness. pine first and foremost. a little one note. many people ordered it but it lacked depth.

All Terrain Cream Ale – my favorite of the three. no head to it at all though. other than that it has a nice taste to it. a little refining and a little more body and it will be solid.

The taproom is a lovely little spot in the middle of a fast moving Rosecrans Avenue.  It is tucked in between auto shops, thankfully they have a nice big sign to guide you in.  big roll up doors to a small outdoor patio.  long reverse shaped L bar with comfy wooden stools.  7 beers on tap on opening day with 3 IPAs, a hoppy pilsner, a cream ale, a California Common and a Berliner Weisse. 10 barrels tucked into the corner might already be in use though I saw no stouts on the menu. Nice metalwork touches on the upstairs that match the design of the logo and merch. Though the second floor seemed empty at present.

1st Visit – Radiant Beer

I made a trek down to Radiant Beer Co. on a sunny day in early May to get a feel as to their range of beers. I have has a few Radiant cans up to this point but I wanted to sample a hazy IPA made with Phantasm! powder which is a grape product akin to hop powder.

Before that, I started with the Light and the Crispy. Blank Slate witbier and Sun Spangles amber. The wit has chamomile but it was a little too faint for me. The amber was solid which is a good indicator that attention was paid.

Then it was on to the hoppy portion of the taster tray. Hazy pale, Secondary Motion was a strong contender for best beer. Spoiler, it kept the #1 spot Super soft with a citrus smoothie taste to it. Then it was on to the Sounds Phantastic! which was another well done hazy. Both the pale and the IPA have the haze but didn’t have that ugly brown unfiltered cider look. They were colorful yellow in keeping with the brewery name . Lastly was the On Chill IPA (yes, i stayed away from the pastry stouts on purpose), it was my least favorite of the group. The combo of hops used ended up being a muddle to me

The location is right up next to a railroad track on busy Lincoln Ave. so when safe, I would recommend staying indoors which is a lovely space. I like the bright colors too. Visually makes one happy. And the staff was super friendly and helpful which I appreciated.

Certainly add this to any Anaheim brewery adventure.

1st Visit – Lawless Brewing in North Hollywood

The end of April saw the opening of Lawless Brewing and I quickly hopped over to check it out for a first visit.

The warehouse space outside doesn’t hint at the silver, metallic two floor space inside. There is the usual bar and indoor seating but because of the height it doesn’t seem constrained. Personally, I hope the mezzanine seating is opened because you can get a nice view of the brewing area and have some people watching.

The beer list was split in thirds by pilsner/lager, hoppy and stout. Between myself and beer buddy Richard, we tasted at least one from each category and found the light beers the best of the group. I voted the Mexican Lager winner with the Bohemian pilsner second over the West Coast IPA.

The time we visited issues arose for both their QR code menu and ordering system as well as their credit card system but the staff was friendly and gave updates and were flexible which made all the difference. That is key to return visits which is also helped by a new Single Hop Strata pils that is in the pipeline.

1st Visit – All Seasons Brewing

Crazy to think that breweries have been opening in this post inaugural less crazy time. But they have been and I made a quick first can release visit under cloudy L.A. skies to All Seasons Brewing.

The corner lot is just south of Wilshire in the middle of a flurry of subway and condo activity. It has a big outdoor but covered patio and some colorful murals (not to my taste) on one side near medium sized silo. Obviously indoors was shut but there was a line forming at the stroke of noon when they opened to sell their first three beers. Pilsner, lager and West Coast IPA. I would like to have seen something a little more left field for the third beer. A Belgian Tripel or hoppy red ale and I am not a fan of the branding design. I would lean more into the old-time race car aesthetic. All Season has a tire tie-in but I would have gone with some racing term instead.

But what about the beer, you say? The Pilsner defeated the Bullitt IPA but both could use a bit of tweaking to make them really sing. The Pilsner water profile was a little off key to me and the IPA was fine but is currently middle of the pack in a competitive style.

In Actual Hi-Def

When I spoke to 2/3 of the HiDef Brewing team, one thing that stood out was the comment, “If you can’t drink two of them then you screwed up.”

The other was that a German guy looking to buy a condo, probably based his decision on the fact that the the brewery was close.

More info on LA’s newest brewery to come next month over on Food GPS.

Thousand Oaks Duo

With restaurant restrictions lifting even here in SoCal, travel is going to return to its normal traffic-y condition but I made a quick jaunt to Pedals & Pints and to the very nearby Tarantula Hill Brewing to check out their beer. Not really a 1st visit since I am not ready to dive back into sitting inside (or outside, or on sidewalks) just yet.

Beer buddy’s Rich and I each bought a different four pack to split (more on that later) which I will review briefly below.

P&P looks a bit like a new house dropped at one end of a currently quiet mall. There was a nice indoor/outdoor facing bar on one corner and then a bigger bar inside. It was nice if lacking in personality. I had placed an online order for the Lizard IPA and once there, I was told it was not canned and that I could get a growler. I was also given the option of a mixed four-pack and as that is what I would have ordered anyway, took that option. It came with a lager, Vienna lager, pale ale and stout. Richard ordered online as well and his order wasn’t found in the system. He did eventually get it.

The second stop was a mere five minutes away and it is a huge space. All the bigger seeming with the tables and chairs removed from the inside. Here, once we got to the bar, our precise orders were ready. They have converted some of their parking lot to outdoor, properly spaced seating and the place overall was pretty bustling.

I tried two of the Tarantula Hill IPAs first. Gettin’ Zesty With It a grapefruit tinged combo with the 2020 Pink Boots Hop Blend. Both the fruit and hops were quite well balanced. Second was the Sabro hop focused Saaah Bro which was also well done and not a bitter meets coconut bomb that the hop usually comes across to me. I also liked the label design, especially the amount of information presented about each beer.

The Pedals & Pints labels were a little more DIY but I really liked the Vienna lager that I started with. Crisp and crackery with a beautiful garnet color. The Pale Ale was of a different stripe, a bit tilted to dill and grassy notes and it had that same reddish color but I enjoyed it. Caught a little orange hidden as well.

Beer wise, I have come away impressed.

1st Visit – Public Coast Brewing

The last time I was in Astoria, I had my first can of Public Coast beer and on my second trip to the Oregon Coast, I visited their Cannon Beach brewery to check out how it looks and to try another of their beers.

The outside style fits in with the beachy/touristy vibe that the little town has cultivated since I first started visiting with my parents and sister back when I was younger. Inside you have the novel approach of a casual restaurant where you go to the counter to get served and then take a number if you have food or take your beer if just having beer.

I had the Rosemary IPA and it was pretty good. They also had a cranberry kettle sour, a coffee cream ale as well as a Candy Cap Mushroom Stout.

The next time (there will be one), I will have to get a sampler tray and some food to get a full report.

1st Visit – Brewjeria

I wanted to get in one last brewery visit before Christmas so I jumped in the car and headed to Pico Rivera and Brewjeria.

You can find Brewjeria in two ways.  The main address is on Durfee off of Whittier Boulevard but there is a parking lot entrance to the grey cinder block space as well.  The rectangular space is split into one half for brewing and the other half for the seating.  The seating side is further broken up into three spaces.  Two seating areas and one main room for the well appointed bar as well as the cooler that holds the beer.  That cooler is a hold-over from the home brewing days of the founders and adds a cool touch to the back bar areas.

I like the font and wavy logo for the brewery too and the space is welcoming with an easy to read menu board.  As with many young breweries finding a footing as to what sells and what needs to be brewed more often is a learning curve.  At first Brewjeria had 11 taps of beers, when I visited there were 6 with 3 being IPA’s.  One West-Coast, one Hazy and one Belgian IPA, a style that I had not seen before.  They also had a blonde ale, California Common and a Belgian Tripel.

Here are my taster tray notes:

Hop off the 605 WC IPA – Malt comes through overall.  Hop bite is a bit strong and one note.  Pine.

Aurora Lights Belgian IPA – Mint note. Yeast driven. Same pine hops form the bitter background.  Bit of a burn on this.

Californio Common – Nice touch of sweetness breadiness.  Good crisp minerality.

Don’t Tripel – Same mint as the Belgo IPA, too sweet.  Some burn here to

Hazy Slater – Has that hazy image in the glass.  Could be a little softer and fruitier.