Haunted by Owner

In rather quick succession, more bad brewery news here in Los Angeles. Phantom Carriage Brewing in Carson is being pushed out. The new building owner will be using the space for their needs apparently.

This was a fun spot to visit because of how strongly they leaned into the horror theme. The space was kitted out in such a way that it looked spooky even when the lights were on.

How a taproom that hung its hat on visiting hung on without going the to-go can route is probably a story in itself. But the hard fact is that land and rent in LA is expensive and finding a good landlord is not easy either and then the whole thing can come tumbling down if a good landlord sells.

The social media announcement did not close the door on a return and maybe there is a market or capacity at another brewery to have a co-tenant. I have always thought that there could be a space where breweries could either start their journey or re-ignite their business, where you could get pours from two or three breweries plus a sampling from all LA breweries. A one-stop City of Angels beer shop.

Review – Two from The Crac Brewery

I scurried down to Carson to to-go some beers from one of the newest breweries in the L.A. area, Crac and brought back a pair to try and here’ve is my review…

AphrodisiCrac.  Smooth taste.  Has a touch of smoke, coffee and just the right amount of salinity.  All tied together into a beer ver I like what normally comes in 16ounce cans.

The Bollox. Very nice example of a barleywine.  Has a bit of floral aromatics but the cheek warming ABV and the nice punch of hops works really well together. A dash of caramel here too that ties it together. 

There were three other beers on offer and if these two are any indication, they will be pretty good.

Two 1st Visits

To keep up withe L.A. beer scene, you sometimes have to hit two unvisited breweries in one day. I pointed south and hit a pair in Carson and Gardena recently and here is the 1st Visit report….

On Main Street near Honest Abe’s cider (more on that later) is Hōkūle’a which is the third brewery that Jeff Parker has helped to found in L.A. First was Strand Brewing and then The “Dude’s” Brewery.

#3 is in a nice big surfboard adorned industrial park neighborhood. Big windows look out onto a busy street which negates a bit of the island vibe on the inside. There are two ginormous tanks which you don’t normally see in a start-up brewery. Alas, they are for production of a new line of Honest Abe ciders.

There were three beers on tap on their soft open weekend. Gremmie’s Pilsner had a rough entry into the world with a glycol chiller that iced the beer. Parker had to go back and reverse engineer the now much higher ABV beer back to regular strength. It still tasted strong to me but wasn’t bad. Had an Imperial Pilsner feel to it which was fine.

The Key Lime Pai had both lime and lactose forward. There was a good tartness to cream balance. But the lime sort of loses out to the creamsicle aspect. I can see this being a favorite though. Lastly was the Keiki IPA which was grassy, green and dank. Classic West-Coast style IPA.

Parker is looking to add Hawaiian fruit focused Cerveza Frescas as well as a Kona coffee IPA in the future. Also upcoming is food service and the opening of the second level seating area.

Next stop, Gardena and Ximix Craft Exploration. Bit of a long name but the logo and branding seems retro space cool.

Ximix is near-ish to State Brewing but without the personality. It was dark and everything seemed gray from the tabletops to the stools. On the far end was an open window with bars which gave off a bit of a correctional feel. And there was not much in the way of continuing the theme on the inside. Unless you count multiple TV’s as a space theme.

The menu board had the “Big Batch” side and the “Small Batch” side. I went with the weirdly named Crangis McBasketball hazy IPA. There was some pineapple notes but it was not super juicy and probably too hoppy for the style and too clear.

Maybe this was just a slow Sunday and I will need to re-visit when crowds are there.

The Phantom Diner

Phantom Carriage is stepping into the beer dinner game with their first effort titled Volume 1 coming up soon on February 2nd.

Here is the menu for $50.00 ticketed event….
Introduction: Specialty beer cocktail made with our barrel-aged strawberry Berliner weisse.

1st Course: Heriloom tomato bisque paired with our “666 Feet Under” Brown Ale.

2nd Course: 1/2 chicken with roasted Brussels sprouts, butter poached carrots, and red wine demi-glace paired with our “Straight Outta Carson” IPA.

3rd Course: “Mole” creme brûlée (chili, chocolate and coffee) paired with our “Speed Demon Calamityville” Coffee Porter.

These will be small affairs, limited to 20 people so make a decision quick.

Not so Phantom Anymore

Rejoice all ye’ patient beer lovers for the Phantom Carriage has arrived!  I have been waiting for this day since Requiem Stout from Gentleman Scholar arrived years back.  But then Muis arrived and now the full Phantom Carriage deal is upon us in time for Christmas no less.

A great present for LA for sure.


Check it out as soon as you can (preferably with out of town guests) to show off the Bergman Blond sour and their cool cocktails…


..and you get to check out their even more cool glassware….