1st Visit – Eagle Rock – The Landing

RIP to the Empire Tavern, gone too soon, a victim of the Covid scourge. But now the space in Burbank has been reborn as The Landing.

It is a cross of a specialty market, bottle shop and Eagle Rock Brewery. Multiple taps of Eagle Rock beer with a couple guests as well as wine.

The space is warm and bright with bright colors on the wall. And it has the same welcoming vibe as the OG Eagle Rock taproom.

When you are done shopping at Ikea or you find yourself in upper Burbank, you should drop in.

Tony is 13, the Darts, Who Knows

I do not follow hashtags but if they are still a thing, then #TDA13 will probably start trending at midnight as we transition from May 19th to 20th.

The event is the 13th anniversary of Tony’s Darts Away in Burbank where crowds gather to be the first to have a midnight beer, this year brewed by Beachwood Brewing.

Then over the weekend there will be hourly special tappings of fun beers that will get beer geeks frothing.

I haven’t seen a midnight in a bit but I am tempted.

Burbank In-Cider

I used to be in Burbank five days a a week.  But now I am WFH so I totally missed that Story Tavern now has The Ciderworks next door.

They have some interesting combos such as cherry/blueberry, pineapple, ginger/lemongrass, strawberry/orange that use fruit fruit from the owner’s home as well. 

If you need a cider break, might be a place to check.

The Landing

A month or so back, I teased that Eagle Rock Brewery was expanding to a location in Burbank.  That location has a name and logo now…

…it also has a bit more information about it.  You will obviously be able to buy Eagle Rock beer but there will be wine and other goodies on sale as well.

Opening date is not set but I will certainly 1st Visit report on it.

1st Visit – Brews Brothers / Burbank

What once was the Burbank Simmzy’s is now the Burbank brewpub for Brews Brothers.

I have visited the original Brews Brothers and liked the space and the beer selection but now they have their own beer. The space is still the same. A bit clunky and cramped and dark with a sound system that sounds better outside than in. The brewing system is shoehorned in with not great access for when the staff had an empty keg that they had to hoist over a little wall.

I went Belgian with my choices a blonde that came in at a whopping 8.5% which seems more a Tripel to me as well as a Belgian IPA, another biggie at 8.25%.

Both were good, not great. The blonde fared better than the IPA which was quite a muddy color in the glass and not exhibiting much of a hop presence. I avoided the beer named Butt Chin since I believe that you should not name a beer with the word butt.

Prices are a bit high. Maybe there is a Burbank surcharge in there. But the place was hopping (pun intended) for a Wednesday. I think I prefer the NoHo branch a bit better.

May the 7th Be With You

Calendar time and also a blast from the past. Tony’s Darts Away is a great little spot in Burbank that I have not been to in a long time. Working from home instead of working in Burbank has dropped visits to the neighboring city down.

One of their yearly highlights was a midnight tapping of their Darts Away IPA and then a weekend of hourly special tappings.

Guess what? It’s back…

….and the IPA is from Beachwood! Follow their socials to see what goodies will be on tap and when.

NoHo to Bur

Looks like the corner property that was once the brewing operations for Simmzy’s is staying in the beer family…

Brews Brothers who have a spot in the North Hollywood Arts District are taking the Media District location. I do not see anywhere in a cursory internet search if they will brew or not there but they have a pretty good amount of taps to fill.

Henson’s Woes

Since I work 9-5 in Burbank, I have been quite happy to see the city grow with breweries and while Trustworthy and Simmzy’s have taken a firm lead on my beer leaderboard, the two others have lagged. Lincoln Beer Co. has a lovely and well appointed space and though the beers have bit hit and miss, I feel that the operation could slowly find their beer footing given time.

Henson Brewing, on the other hand seemed a far distant fourth from the start. From taproom ambiance to beer, everything seemed “in process”. And recent social media posts have told a story of undercapitalization, equipment issues and lack of revenue. Any new business needs luck, capital and a product that sells. You can swing it on any two of those components but if you bust on all three, well, that leads to trouble.

I have been binging The Great British Bake-Off and what I have taken from that show is that you can slide by on decoration or flavor but a some point you need both if you want to make it to the final. Henson has had neither in my admittedly small sample size of two visits. But if they are in enough dire financial straits to be needing rent help and are entertaining offers from other breweries, then I am not the only one who has shown up just once or twice.

Here is the takeaway though, failure is fine. It is not a harbinger of doom (most of the time) It means that the bar has been raised. No longer can you just open up an industrial space and expect full attendance and 4-pack can sales. You need to build a community. You need to market well. You can’t do whatever everyone else is doing especially if your beer is not on point. And if you can’t compete in your city, well.

Since the hard shoveling of getting the space approved to brew in and getting equipment in is complete. The taproom can be used by a brewery looking to expand north (from the South Bay) or south from your Lancaster/Santa Clarita area, then the 5 freeway adjacent space can be a spoke in a wheel for a brewery to exploit a new market.

Now maybe Henson can gain the financial room to operate and grow (it is a good sign that the landlord seems amenable) and if they do, they will need to up their brewing game. Hopefully they are given the full chance to prove their staying power.