Review – Gold Brick Pale ale from Ol’ Burro

My local Trader Joe’s (and by local, I mean across the street) has upped it’s beer game in the past 5-6 months.  More options and newer options as well. But that hasn’t meant a stop to their “house” brands.  So my beer radar was up when I saw Ol’ Burro Brewing of Los Angeles on their shelves.

Now their house brands are pretty solid. Unibroue and Gordon Biersch with Firestone Walker doing some as well and now it appears Golden Road as well. No mention of it on the box.  Other than a mysterious “brewed in Los Angeles”.


Since there are not many breweries in Los Angeles and not many at all that can. It is not much of a leap to Golden Road.  A cursory Googling found only an address.  An address on West San Fernando Road.  Which if you have been to Golden Road, is their street location.  After my Sherlocking, I asked the clerk where it was brewed and you can guess the answer I got.

Now I don’t know why the subterfuge.  The beer geeks will find out and all they are fooling are people who may not understand the contract beer thing.  And that may turn people off if and when they find out.  I would put proudly brewed for Trader Joe’s by Golden Road on the label and if people liked this lower priced offering, they might reach for the higher priced Heal the Bay Or Wolf Among Weeds the next time they beer shopped.

That is a topic oft covered on this blog so lets get to the beer…..

It pours a dark amber brownish/orange color.  For a pale ale, there is not much hop nose at all.  45 IBUs doesn’t scream hoppy though it is more in line with a traditional pale ale.  The first sips mirror the aroma.  Primarily maltiness.  Super easy to drink.  Leaves a pretty lacing on the glass too.  Very quenching but more an ESB than a pale.  And if the box and can replaced pale with ESB, I would have been pleasantly surprised.  As a pale ale, it is no great shakes and could use a serious bitter boost.


Obviously at a lower price point, you can’t expect Citra, Nelson or Rakau in your pale but you would expect more hoppiness to be there.  They also have four packs of a blonde ale as well.  Usually those don’t stray too far style wise.  That makes the choice easier.  If you want light, go for the blonde it will only set you back $4.99.  If you are in a malty mood then pony up an extra buck for the Gold Brick (ESB).

Review – Plan Check (Fairfax)

There are many, many L.A. craft beer spots that I need to visit.  My pace is slow for sure but thank to an invite from the folks at Plan Check, I was able to cross another establishment from the list while learning about their craft beer vision.


What struck me first was the simplicity of the menu.  There weren’t 500 variations of burger and 100 taps.  Nope.  You had a few options and a special plus fries in a couple preparations and appetizers.  16 taps. But you could do a lot with that number as you can see below.


And there tap take-overs aren’t one and done affairs.  They usually stretch over a course of days, so that if you day 1, you aren’t out of luck.  Though they did run through both 329 and El Hefe Anejo pretty quickly.

The space on Fairfax is roomy with booths on the edges and some cool industrial lighting.  The bar area is pretty cool looking with the bottles getting light on them and they have a hop vodka cocktail on the menu that I will be trying the next time that I am there.


Sean Suggests for April 2014


A very SoCal list for April.  We roam from 10 minutes from my home to Golden Road, then take a looooong drive to Redlands for a new IPA and then pick up one of my favorite beers of the year so far, made with a nut that I wouldn’t touch if you handed one to me.


Golden Road 329 Lager 4.8% ABV

“Medium-bodied, crisp and refreshing, 329 Lager is perfectly suited for L.A.’s outdoor culture and a drinkable complement to summer barbecues, beach hangouts, baseball games and everything in between. A balanced combination of Bravo, Tradition, and Opal hops, the merican-style lager emanates a delicate floral finish with notes of honeysuckle and jasmine.”


Hangar 24/ Betty IPA 6.5% ABV

“Betty is an American IPA boasting a blend of Mosaic, Citra, Simcoe and Centennial hops. We spent 8 months perfecting this hop blend, and we love the huge range of juicy aromas and flavors we were able to hit: tropical fruit, citrus zest, berries, stone fruit and pine are all packed in… ”


Monkish/ Seme Della Vita 9.4% ABV

“Belgian-style tripel brewed with pistachios and vanilla beans”

N to the YE


Now, readers of this blog will know that I do not prefer (to put it mildly) to go out on New Year’s Eve.  Much like I avoid going out on St. Patricks or Cinco de Mayo or the other “party” holidays.  But far be it for me to dissuade those who DO enjoy it.  If you count yourself as one of these “wrong” people then you have three solid options from the Golden Road group/collective:

For the foodie, beer enthusiast and neighborhood bar goer


Mohawk Bend: Best of Mohawk Bend, NYE for the foodie

When: Dec. 31, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Dinner: Most popular items of 2013, served family-style for each table

  • Buffalo Cauliflower (V)

  • Mohawk Burger Sliders (NV)

  • Bacon-wrapped Dates (NV)

  • Veggie Sliders (V)

  • Peel & Eat Shrimp (NV)

  • Soba Noodle Salad (V)

  • Chopped Salad (V)

  • Breaded Zucchini Spears (V)

  • Sweet Potato & French Fries (V)

  • Assorted Pizzas (V & NV)

Dessert: Dessert platter for each table with house-made sweets like brownies, cakes and cookies

Toast: Beer by Golden Road

Price: $40 per person includes food, beer toast and NYE party favors

Reservations: or online at and list Best of Mohawk in comments

Walk-ins welcome to enjoy a la carte menu items in bar area at regular price, not including toast


Tony’s Darts Away: NYE for Neighborhood Pub Goer

Dinner: Reliable Tony’s Darts Away favorites + specials (served in app size)

  • Pyntch’s Mad Sweet-Potato Fries tossed in maple-chipotle glaze 
and crushed almonds

  • Becky’s bad ass potatoes: russet wedges tossed in buffalo sauce, “blue cheese”, celery & carrots

  • Golden state salad: field greens, beets, sprouts, avocado, almonds, Point reyes blue cheese (optional), house vinaigrette

  • Fried brussel sprouts, caramelized onions, apples

  • Vegan meatloaf sliders, ketchup, tomato, lettuce & onions

  • Vegan & non vegan sausage platters: a selection of our best sausages served with mustard, grilled onions & pepper and French bread

  • and more

Toast: Beer by Golden Road

Price: $75 for food, unlimited beer, custom beer glass and raffle tickets until Dec. 20, $85 thereafter

Reservations: buy in-person, call 818.253.1710 or email

Pub @ Golden Road: For the Beer Enthusiast

Celebrate NYE at your favorite pub with beer pairing tasting menu + local live music

Food: Below a la carte served as tasting menu with beer flights ($30) or a la carte…

  • A la carte options include

    • Fuyu Persimmon Salad

    • Truffled Potato and Leek Puree

    • Braised Short Ribs

  • Vegan a la carte:

    • Fuyu Persimmon Salad

    • Truffled Potato and Leek Puree

    • Sundried Tomato Polenta

*regular menu also available

no reservations required

Music: Skin & Bones, LA-based duo performing blues/folk

#LABW5 Pick of the Night – Tuesday 9/24

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Each morning throught L.A. Beer Week, I will give you my Pick of the Night.  The ONE event I think rises to the top of the list.  Some days that choice will be harder and there might be 1A and 1B’s (if I get wishy-washy).  I will endeavor to pick events you can just head out to.  But if tickets are required, I will mention it.  But expect crowds.  Craft beer and craft beer in L.A. is popular.

Growlerfornia, Here We Come!

Tuesday, September 24th 2013 7:00-10:00 pm

Frustrated, relieved or just confused over the current state of California’s Growler Laws? You’re not the only one. Join moderator Tomm Carroll of Celebrator Beer News at Chloe’s Pub at Golden Road Brewery as he leads a panel of professionals to help explain the situation, including the recently amended AB-647 (California’s ‘Growler Bill’), presently awaiting Governor Jerry Brown’s signature. There will also be a Q&A.

Panelists will include State Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro (D – North Coast), who introduced and was the principal author of the bill’s amendments; Jeremy Raub, President of the Los Angeles Brewers Guild, as well as brewmaster and co-owner of Eagle Rock Brewery; and Lori Ajax, Deputy Division Chief of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).

The discussion will include the history of California’s Growler Laws, the state of the legislation currently, future plans and considerations for Growler-sale policies, and other related topics.

Sean Suggests for June 2013


Sam Adams Longshot 2013 Beer Flower Wheat 5.8% abv

“With the hot summer months and fun gatherings in mind, James brewed a refreshing wheat beer with an exotic kick. This beer is smooth and light bodied with the delicate flavors of hibiscus.”

Golden Road / Heal the Bay IPA 6.8% abv

“The two-row pale malt body takes a back seat to the Citra, Centennial, and New Zealand hops for a bright, citrus forward, summertime drinking IPA. Part of the proceeds from this beer will be donated to our hardworking friends at Heal the Bay – an organization committed to restoring and protecting the Southern California coastal waters and watershed.”

The Bruery Beer 15.5%

“Bois, our fifth anniversary brewed in the English-style Old Ale tradition using our house Belgian yeast strain and then blended using the solera method, where a portion of each of our anniversary ales is saved in our barrels and blended in with the next year’s production, providing more complexity and depth of character that comes with age.”

A Tony Beer Hop

Some great news for people who want to get driven to three of L.A.’s better craft beer spots….

LA Beer Hop has partnered with Mohawk Bend, Tony’s Darts Away and The Pub at Golden Road Brewing to launch a new shuttle route, ferrying hop-heads to some of LA’s best beer bars.

Every Wednesday in November, from 7pm to midnight hitch a ride for $5. Hop on and off as you please and enjoy perks like select beers for $4, complimentary snacks, and even some surprise swag! The first shuttle will depart from Mohawk Bend at 7pm.

Wednesday, November 7th is the inaugural hop, just RSVP for that run by calling Mohawk Bend at 213.483.2337 or at by Wednesday, 10/31.

If you want to reserve seats for any of the Wednesday hops after that then RSVPs go to, or interested parties can reserve by calling Hal at LA Beer Hop: 323.928.2113.

Event Review – Better Weather Festival

Since I was off stewarding at the Pacific Brewers Cup, I could not make it to the Better Weather Festival put on by the fine folks at Golden Road. But I did have a man on the inside, Rich Rosen from Cap’ns Bier Blog filed this report…..

“My Fellow American; [it is an election year after all!]. This past Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 was the Better Weather Festival @ Golden Road Brewing. The event started at high noon. Upon entry, one received a festival glass, 5 drink tickets, one ticket for a baseball cap and one ticket for a goodie bag.

Along with the fine food that the Golden Road Pub has to offer, a couple of food trucks were on hand. Parked strategically between the places where beer is brewed and where the brewers were dispensing their biers. Picnic tables were set up for one to sit and eat comfortably.

A good sample of the L.A. Craft Beer Breweries was present. A few craft brews from outside of L.A. were on hand. Dogfish Head, The Bruery and Hangar 24 served up some of there fine drafts.

Yes the temperature was well into the 90’s. It was after all Glendale, Ca. on the first day of autumn. Shade was in abundant supply where the beers were being poured. One could grab a pint and take a seat in a covered area easily.

Favorites included Bitches Brew from Dogfish Head, 4th Anniversary Dopplesticke from Hangar 24 close 2nd.

Also had Humulus and Autumn Maple from The Bruery and a Pumpkin beer from Taps.

Busiest Booth? I would say the Tour of the Golden Road Brewery was the busiest.

The festival was well run. No long lines existed. The exception was at the first half-hour at the entry. It was a good event for L.A. Beer Week!!”

Drinking with My Mom

In this “every once in awhile” series, I either send a bottle to my mom and get her review or she sends me a bottle and we both review it. That way, she gets some L.A. beers and I get my Portland beer fix.

This time around, I sent her cans. 16oz Golden Road cans of their Point the Way IPA and Hefeweizen. And to add another twist, she grabbed some friends to get their reviews. Mom was partial to the IPA. Though she thought it was more a pale. Name aside, she liked it.

The Hefe got good marks. “nice light summer beer” and “very mellow” The citrus did not come through but the cloudy banana that are hallmarks of the style certainly did.

The IPA impressed at first but the vibrancy and flavors faded as it warmed. But the balance was done well.

As a bonus, the Ninkasi / 21st Amendment collaboration was also sampled. The dates didn’t shine through, in fact a creme brulee taste was noted as well as barley wine notes to it. Certainly an interesting addition to a tasting.

Now I have to decide what next to send to my Mom.