Another trip to the U.S. means another stop in LA to visit a great friend of BotF – Geoffrey. G has been threatening to become BotF’s North American correspondent for some time now. Well he should, because LA offers no shortage of material. LA cops a bad rap for its apparent ugliness. “LA is the result you’d get If you tip the U.S. on its side and all the sh-t not nailed down rolled into one place”. It isn’t pretty, but if you dig in, there are plenty of nuggets to be found. On this particular Friday, G and I turned some beauties.
A search for some microbreweries revealed that a great percentage of them are in the suburb of Torrance, which is next door to Manhattan and Redondo Beaches. According to one proprietor, the local authorities are small business friendly and it is relatively hassle free for Brewers to set up. Our first stop was Absolution Brewing Co. These guys have a great space and a superlative range. Whilst G and I were visiting a constant stream of visitors came in for growler fills. They’ve nailed the religious theme with a string of cleverly named beverages. Hefe, Pale, Reds, IPAs, Porters – they’re all here. The standout was “The Wicked” – a stunning Double IPA, which was suitably resinous, but held its 9.6%ABV well. A good start.
Lunch beckoned and after a tourist stop at the Manhattan Beach Pier, we popped into the highly regarded Brewco for lunch. 50 beers on tap and a menu chockful of US classics. There was plenty of support for the local Brewers as well as some of the bigs like Victory et al.
Two doors down from BrewCo is the distinctly old school Shellback Tavern. Amusingly decked out with kitsch and historical photos, Shellback is a must visit. We got a window seat and did some people watching as we sipped on a locally brewed Pale Ale (Strand Brewing). The appropriation of Paddies Day by Corona seemed odd to me, you can’t knock their marketing creativity.
G reckoned Barney’s Beanery’s Santa Monica outlet is about the finest sports bar he’s been to, so we had to give the Redendo Beach version a go. Great views of the beach, but it’s on the inside where the action is. There was a mind blowing array of screens and the staff were extremely accomodating (though puzzled) when we asked to watch the Cavaliers for a bit. Definitely worth a visit during happy hour.
Our last stop before dinner was King Harbor Brewing Company. This great little place was nestled in amongst a row of suburban shops, as opposed to an industrial estate. It’s sparse with the gleaming brewing equipment dominating. For a feed, you can bring your own or hope a food truck pulls up. King Harbor was doing a brisk trade in growler fills and had a good buzz for a joint that had been opened for less than 12 months. I haven’t had a finer brown than their Abel Browne. The Swirly was a dark beer designed to taste like a Mr Whippy chocolate/vanilla soft serve. They succeeded, but I’d rather those flavours in a cone, not a beer.
G’s family joined us for dinner and a very popular restaurant in Venice is Wurstkuche. Whether you are eating in or taking out, you order your food at the same counter. There’s apparently 24 varieties of sausage to be had. The rattlesnake and rabbit version I had was pretty good with a bit of zing in it. A Reissdorff Kolsch was the perfect match. A great range of German beers are to be had. So there you – LA delivers. Start writing G.