Mid-Week Mini-Pub-Crawl: LA #1

Posted by Darryl | Bars, Breweries & Alehouses, Craft Beer, Pub-Crawling, Restaurants | Posted on January 20th, 2012

Last month, along with my friends Mike and Jason, I took a day to leave the sheltered surroundings of Ventura County and head  40 some-odd miles into the Los Angeles area to discover some tasty craft beer venues. Turns out the original plan was a little overblown; trying to hit 9 places between Pasadena and Santa Monica in the course of one day. The fatal flaw was that the day in question was a Thursday, and I had received some misinformation about hours of a couple of the locations. In the end though, we “discovered” great places to visit, and drank some great beer.

THE ORIGINAL PLAN

THE REALITY OF THE DAY
Brent’s Deli in Westlake Village
For one reason or another, we got off to a later start than we had originally planned, and there was no way we were going to make it to Lucky Baldwins for breakfast. But knowing that a goodly volume of beer was in our future, we decided that starting our trek with food was still a necessity.

While Brent’s has a full bar and a few taps, we were only there for the food. Huge servings, huge selection of menu items — including breakfast served all day — great service, and huge servings. (Yes, I know I said that twice. Trust me, the servings are huge.) With our bellies full, it was time to go grab a beer!

Ladyface Ale Companie in Agoura Hills
If you follow me on Twitter or Untappd, you may already be aware that I make pretty regular visits to Ladyface, which is why it wasn’t on my original plan. But Mike and Jason get by there much less often so by popular demand we decided to stop-in en route to LA.

Santa's Little Helper

Their Cask of the Week was “Santa Baby”; their Blind Ambition with spiced tea. While I was enjoying my goblet of this tasty brew, Mike had a glass of the Blind Ambition — a Gold Medal winning Belgian Abbey Ale at 8.0% ABV — and Jason had pint of Ladyface IPA — a 6.9% ABV IPA with a moderate hop flavor and overtones of citrus.

While we were there our bartender whipped up a tasty margarita and gave us all a sample. Made with muddled lime, jalapeño, tequila, a splash of bloody mary mix, and a cherry tomato, the tasty concoction almost made us reconsider heading to LA in favor of just spending the day here. But, we had a plan, so once our glasses were emptied we headed on our way.

Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles
Again because of the time, and because all 3 of us had previously experienced Tony’s Darts Away (today was supposed to be about new places), we opted to skip it today.

Golden Road's Patio

Located on San Fernando Road West at the intersection of the 5 and 134 freeways, Golden Road Brewing occupies three large industrial buildings; a blue one with “Golden Road Brewing” visible from the 134, a red one, and a yellow one where the pub is located. The pub has a nice patio as well as a great seating area indoors. The interior looked fresh and clean and there were a number of beers listed on their new chalkboard. It wasn’t long before we found out why everything looked so new and clean; it was. So new in fact that they weren’t even open yet.

The staff on-hand greeted us warmly, but quizzically, apparently wondering what we were doing there. While I had been informed that the pub was already open for business, in actuality it wasn’t scheduled for even its soft-opening until the following weekend, with their grand opening scheduled for January 15th. What we saw of the place though, including the beers that were scheduled to be tapped and the openness of the pub, made us anxious to return.

Mohawk Bend in Echo Park
Leaving Golden Road behind with only the anticipation of returning when they open, we headed south on San Fernando Blvd. until we reached Highway 2, which we took into Echo Park. After the freeway ends and turns into Alvarado St, a quick right onto Sunset Blvd. brought us to Mohawk Bend.

Opened in August ’11, Mohawk Bend is formerly a Vaudeville theater converted into a full-service restaurant and bar. They feature a full menu, including a wide selection of vegan fare, as well as 72 beer taps (wow!), wine, and unique spirits. Absinthe anyone?

Mohawk Bend's Marquee

Remnants of a nitro Old Rasputian

Still full from our late breakfast, we stuck with liquid refreshment only. I started with a Pliny the Elder by Russian River Brewing Company, followed by a Walker’s Reserve by Firestone Walker Brewing Company, and finally an Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout on nitro! by North Coast Brewing Company. We didn’t rush through our drinks, taking the time to enjoy the enclosed atrium with its vaulted skylight ceiling, original brick walls, and plenty of greenery, as well as relaxing at the communal table centrally located in the bar area in the center of the restaurant.

A Walker's Reserve backed by Mohawk Bend's 70 taps

The Atrium at Mohawk Bend

Great surroundings, friendly staff, and a large and diverse beer assortment makes Mohawk Bend a location that I look forward to visiting again soon.

Library Alehouse in Santa Monica
As the late afternoon was now at hand, and my companions having a need to be returned home at a somewhat reasonable hour, we opted to make our next stop one of both food and drink. Making our way through the streets of LA, we caught Interstate 10 and headed west towards Santa Monica. There on Main Street we stopped in to Library Alehouse.

Just some of Library Alehouse's taps

Although smaller than I expected, the menu wasn’t. A substantial draft selection of close to 30 beers, as well an impressive bottle list, and a menu full of appetizing burgers, salads, and a variety of entrees. I opted for the Blue N Bacon Burger to go with a XPA by Smog City Brewing Co., and then a Barrel Roll Series: No. 3 – Pugachev’s Cobra by Hangar 24 Craft Brewery. For “dessert” I shared a bottle of Parabola by Firestone Walker with my companions. We were all impressed by the Parabola, and my friends began to understand why some quality craft beers have a justifiably higher price tag.

With full bellies and livers working at capacity, we concluded our day and headed towards home along Pacific Coast Highway with the moonlit Pacific to our left.

A GOOD DAY & LESSONS LEARNED
Although we didn’t get to visit all that was originally planned, we did get to discover a few great places, and most definitely drink some excellent beers. My biggest takeaway is that I learned that our next such journey will need to be a bit more conservatively planned, and hopefully we’ll be able to spend a few more hours on the road as well. While we didn’t hit everyplace we wanted to on this day, it left us plenty of options for future crawls.

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One Response to “Mid-Week Mini-Pub-Crawl: LA #1”

  1. It’s always a good day when you come by, Darryl. Nice to see Mike and Jason too. Next week, Jan 22-28, is our 2nd Anniversary Week and we’ll be circulating through the 32 beers we brewed and cask-aged over the last year, so you should be in Untappd heaven. All the special events, music, details etc are on Facebook and the website. See you soon!

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