Let’s Get Crafty, Long Beach By David Garrett & Taka Kaguma
Many of us remember the first time we tasted something other than the Coors Light that dad kept in the back of the fridge. That new beer with the interesting label had something extra than the run of the mill light beer found on the grocery store shelves. You found colors and flavors different than what you expected from beer. California played a huge role in the rise of the craft beer movement, starting with Anchor Brewing in San Francisco with roots reaching all the way back to 1849. When they started bottling Anchor Steam in 1971, Anchor established itself as the first modern “craft” brewery.
Strawberry Blonde along with rotating taps of current brews. But with the change in zoning laws, businesses that wanted to brew and sell their own beer no longer had to fit themselves into that more restrictive brewpub category. Breweries could now operate without being tied to food service, with a few restrictions, of course. Currently, Long Beach is quickly approaching ten of those brewing establishments, from nano breweries that make and serve a killer pizza to larger microbreweries offering more than a dozen of their own beers on tap, some aged in oak barrels. And that number will only keep growing with the arrival of Ficklewood Ciderworks and Altar Society Brewing Company later in 2019 and early 2020.
Fast forward to today and craft beer is no longer just a “trend”, with the industry stronger than ever and still growing. As of January, 2019, California has over 980 Craft Breweries. Before the craft brewery craze caught on in Long Beach, the city already had an impressive variety of drinking establishments ranging from dive bars to gay bars to fancy cocktail lounges. But in 2014, then-councilman Robert Garcia along with Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal, proposed an amendment to the Long Beach zoning code to allow for craft breweries with tasting rooms to operate in this fine city. In the spring of 2015 the city council voted unanimously and the amendment passed, allowing for this new segment of the brewing industry to operate in Long Beach. Prior to this amendment passing, Long Beach was not without its homegrown brew. Belmont Brewing Company, the oldest brewpub in Los Angeles county, continues to serve up a solid collection of core beers such as the
1. Beachwood Blendery
Whether you enjoy a beer from time to time or are interested in brewing your own, Long Beach has an incredible beer community. The Long Beach Homebrewers (longbeachhomebrewers.com) meet on the second Tuesday of each month and we can tell you from personal experience, the meetings are a lot of fun. And as the beer culture in Long Beach continues to evolve and mature you just might see some of those home brewers starting their own brewery some day. We encourage you to try some of these local places, or try them all! Like so much of Long Beach, it’s about the people. The folks running and visiting these breweries make each visit unique and memorable. So get out there and get crafty, Long Beach. Cheers!
2. Beachwood BBQ and Brewing beachwoodbrewing
beachwoodblendery Just around the corner from Beachwood BBQ & Brewing you will find the Blendery, Beachwood’s small batch brewery specializing in Lambic-style beers. If you love sours then this is the place for you. With 10 different sours on tap (and plenty bottled up in the cooler waiting for you to give them a new home) there is no shortage of options here. These aren’t just sours. They are sours done right, brewed using the traditional methods that have made the Belgian Lambic-style as loved as it is today. August 2019
You won’t find many people, especially locals, that haven’t heard of or tried Beachwood BBQ and Brewing. In 2011 the Beachwood BBQ founders partnered with brewmaster Julian Shrago to open what is now the Beachwood BBQ & Brewing brewpub in downtown Long beach. With a wide array of styles on tap, there’s something for everyone at this award winning brewery. But be careful, the BBQ sauce from that delicious pulled pork sandwich can make the glass slippery. Speaking from experience here.
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