New restaurants opening in L.A. can no longer simply pay lip service to beer if they want to draw customers from the swelling ranks of craft beer devotees. The next new hot spots need a beer program as well thought out as their decor and menu.
When Eagle Rock Brewery first opened in 2010, the production brewery and tasting room in Glassell Park became a beachhead for the craft beer invasion in L.A. At the end of 2014, the team behind ERB finally opened the doors of the brewpub they'd dreamed of since the early days of launching the Eagle Rock Brewery brand. On Colorado Boulevard in the historic building that last housed vegetarian outpost Fatty's Public House, Eagle Rock Brewery Public House takes a chef-driven approach to a menu bereft of burgers.
"People have this preconceived notion that pub fare needs to be burgers, and fish and chips, and bangers and mash," says Eagle Rock Brewery founder and Brewmaster Jeremy Raub. "We want to explore new territory and have people enjoy good beer with good food in a way that maybe they're not used to, but that's still very comfortable."
Chef Jerry Su — who worked in the kitchens of Son of a Gun and Bouchon, in addition to countless shifts behind the bar at the Eagle Rock taproom — has filled the menu with some jazzed-up comfort foods, such as braised pork cheek, duck liver toast, and a colossal tomahawk pork chop that’ll feed the whole table. The beer list showcases the easy-drinking Eagle Rock Brewery beers, including some of their tough-to-find sour brews, and the taps provide some fun pairing possibilities. Try a pint of the dark-in-color but light-in-body Solidarity with a raw oyster for an unexpectedly fun match. 1627 East Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 739 0081, eaglerockpublichouse.com.
The food is rich and tasty, but the tap list will keep you holding court in the pub’s confines for many rounds. The taps skew heavily toward local breweries and cover stylistic ground from novel interpretations of classic German styles like the Gosebusters from Noble Ale Works to some of L.A.’s best hoppy brews. There are plenty of opportunities to experiment with different food and beer combinations, and the pub is equipped to serve cask-conditioned ales (like those from the British-themed Van Nuys brewery MacLeod’s Ale Company) the right way. 1538 W Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 278-0408, www.thelostknight.com.
Don’t miss: The bleu cheese haystack -- a pile of shoestring fries covered in blue cheese and buffalo wing sauce -- and the apple-filled glazed doughnut served à la mode.