An occasional column on L.A. beer culture.
This summer, chef Gabriel Gordon opened a Long Beach outpost of his 4-year-old Seal Beach restaurant/bar Beachwood BBQ — and it has its very own brewery. It’s the realization of Beachwood’s original mission of celebrating craft beer, but Gordon wants to make clear that he will not be the one making beer.
“When I drink a beer, it’s still magical,” Gordon said. “It’s often not like that with food for me. I’m deconstructing the flavors for my own edification. With beer, it’s like, ‘I cannot believe someone made this!’”
In this case that someone is Julian Shrago, an engineer by day, brewer the rest of the time. The goal will be for about 12 of the 30-plus taps at Beachwood BBQ, Long Beach, to be devoted to house brews. First up is Shrago’s Thrillseeker IPA, a beer that made its Los Angeles debut at the recent opening of Atwater Village’s Golden Road Brewing and will be made available to other area bars.
“A signature of Julian’s, especially with IPAs, is that he brews very dry beers,” Gordon said. “Thrillseeker is a hop-forward beer, and one with a fair amount of malt, but Julian lets it dry out completely. It still has a body, but because it’s drier, it feels like it’s a little less of a big beer.”
Pumpkin ale is a beer in which Americans have bragging rights, it being a colonist creation, according to “The Oxford Companion to Beer.” It’s common today for pumpkin ales to be heavy on spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to more closely resemble pumpkin pie.
Not so with La Citrueille Céleste de Citracado. A collaboration by Escondido’s Stone Brewing, Placentia’s the Bruery and Seattle’s Elysian Brewery, La Citrueille Céleste de Citracado is an amber ale brewed with puréed pumpkins and yams. The tartness and the sweetness come from the additions of lemon verbena and roasted fenugreek.
Hurry, however, if one is curious to taste the beer. It was an one-time brew, said a Stone spokesman, and will likely disappear fast. Call first, but it’s recently been spotted on tap at Glassell Park’s Eagle Rock Brewery, Hollywood’s Blue Palms Brewhouse and Koreatown’s Beer Belly, and should be pouring at Santa Monica’s Library Alehouse soon.