Sports Bar, Not the Old Kind

Considering the popularity of Angel City FC in the NWSL and how much better Juju is than Bronny at USC, it is way past time for a women’s sports bar somewhere, anywhere in Los Angeles.

Enter Long Beach with THIS.

Hopefully, more will follow.

1st Visit – Long Beach Beer Lab Zaferia

It was an eventful first visit to the second Long Beach Beer Lab location in the Zaferia District of Long Beach. I had taken a couple sips of Brut IPA (you remember that sub-style right?) when that too familiar crunch sound made me swivel on mybar stool.

There was one car flipped over and one car with all air bags deployed. The fire and police departments were soon on the scene and attention could be turned back to the space and the beer and the pizza.

I have to say that the Wrigley location is more my speed but the more I thought, if this was in my neighborhood, I would be glad it was there. Yes, too many TVs but thankfully, most were about the brewery and bakery. And the cooler with mix and match and 4-packs is great.

And I did love the Brut (Brewte IPA) which was super dry but sweet with a pear note. So, thumbs up even for someone not from the neighborhood.

Last 1st Visits of 2023

So, I traveled over to El Segundo to check out two new breweries that I have posted about before. One The Boardroom was shut for a private party.

But I did get to taste the beers of nearby Five Point Five Brewing which has taken over the former Surfridge Brewing space.

The space remains the same. No drastic changes inside. The change is outside with a bright big paint job with the brewery name in big letters.

The beers were surprisingly good but in styles that I was a bit surprised by. In my sampler tray were two IPA’s, a hoppy blonde, a Nitro Red Ale and a big stout. The Hoppy Blonde, I Love That for You was my top choice. Light yellow in color. Nice flavor with a little hoppy burst that came through well.

The Proud Mary Irish Red on Nitro highlighted the creamy dispense very well and when that flavor dissipated, the malt flavors took over for a second round.

A promising start for sure that I might re-check.

To make this last 1st Visits post of 2023 factually plural, I tacked on a visit to Long Beach and the former promenade home of Beachwood Brewing that is now ISM Brewing. Ian McCall who brewed at this very location is back with his eponymous initials brewery and the word is good.

I had five tasters covering a bit of their beer menu and came away very impressed. Especially with their New Zealand hopped beers. A pilsner, Lag Rope and an IPA, Kiwi Fingers. Both really let that Nelson hop shine. Also quite impressive was a simple ale called Peaches for Days that harmed no peaches but the aroma and taste was 100% stonefruit. A hop magic trick for sure.

ISM is only a month old but they are already firing out hits so mark it as your first to visit next year.

1st Visit – Altar Society Brewing

Pine Street is both a prime and not so much prime location in Long Beach. A city that has a few micro cool neighborhoods outside the downtown core which has some not so nice spots.

Which makes Altar Society so needed and different. It is not just a brewery but a coffee shop and an event space. An all day one stop shop. And it was hopping. I grabbed a two top near the front after getting my first beer which was the All Seeing IPA. It was not bad. Mid pack which is not a bad start. You can tell a lot by an IPA from a new-ish brewery.

The space is large. And there are some great seats that overlook the fermenters on the floor below. They have a nice selection of styles including seltzers so it makes a good spot for a wide group range.

My second beer was the one that I had my eye on. A stout made with the coffee from their sister coffee shop. I did like that and appreciated that it was a low ABV version as well.

Lab Envy

It is not often that a seemingly normal tap takeover becomes the launch party for a brewery taking over a bar.  But Long Beach Beer Lab will be taking over the operation of Bar Envie which will become a new Long Beach Beer Lab tasting room and kitchen.

No timetable yet for the turnaround to LBB but good to see the growth for the brewery.

A Different Bend

The team behind turning the the Leisure Town of Modern Times into Villains Brewery in Orange County will be giving the former Portuguese Bend space a do-over, with former Blinking Owl master distiller Massimiliano Stecca at the still.

The Mosaic / Promenade is getting a new wave of producers such as the softly opened Altar Society, ISM Brewing taking over the Beachwood BBQ space and now the return of distilling after the acrimonious departure of the Portuguese Bend.

Turn over just might draw me as well as others to day trip.

ISM on the Promenade

For 12 years, the Beachwood Brewing hub was in Long Beach on promenade.  Now they are taking leave of that location and re-allocating, as it were over their other spots across South L.A. and Orange County. 

From their recent social media posting, “This sale will allow us to move our specialty beer production to our Huntington Beach facility – so all the variety you’ve come to enjoy from Beachwood isn’t going away. With a growing footprint in Long Beach and Orange County, a newly launched distillery with artisanal spirits, and expanded beer production, we are committed to the same ethos we started with 12 years ago ” 

Don’t fret though.  Former Beachwood and Riip brewer – Ian McCall will bring his eponymous brewery (ISM) and his medals to the space which is quite exciting.  A real win-win.

Beachwood – Long Beach’s last week will be October 23-October 29.

Anniversary at the Beach

Beachwood Brewing is now up to their 12th year of brewing beer and will be celebrating not just at the Long Beach Location but in Bixby Knolls as well on Saturday, July 15.

Whats happening, you ask? “beer releases, food pop-ups, giveaways, live music, and more at our Downtown Long Beach and Bixby Knolls Taprooms. Plus, a free shuttle to bring everyone between both locations! We can’t wait to celebrate with everyone then.”

Find more details on the Beachwood Facebook events page.