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Lazy Dog chain turns to Golden Road for brews

Southern Californian casual dining chain Lazy Dog Restaurants is doubling down on its commitment to the local craft beer industry by contracting with Golden Road Brewing to help meet demand for its house-label brews.

Lazy Dog Restaurants was founded in 2003 with beer at its core, and in addition to a draught list that features both mass market macro brews and a selection of rotating and locally-focused craft beers, the family dining concept has a line of six contract brewed house beers, including a hefeweizen and an India Pale Ale.

But when Firestone Walker Brewing -- which produced half of Lazy Dog’s house beers, as well as contract brews for buyers such as Blue Palms Brewhouse and Trader Joes -- announced that it would be getting out of the contract brewing business, Lazy Dog’s executive chef, Gabe Caliendo, saw an opportunity to support a local brewery and further tune house beers to the tastes of guests.

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Caliendo, an experienced home brewer, wasn’t satisfied ordering off a menu of options, so he worked with Golden Road’s brewmaster, Jesse Houck, to develop three new beers. The results -- a pale ale, an IPA and a hefe -- showcase the clean flavors and dry finish that Houck is known for.

Based on Golden Road’s Aunty Sally Pale Ale, but with more malt body, the Lazy Dog Pale Ale makes a nice match for many of the dishes on the diverse menu, while the IPA utilizes a bevy of modern aroma hop varieties heavy in fruit flavors and pungent aromas.

Houck is great at laying many hop flavors in a single beer, and his skill is on display with the Lazy Dog IPA. The hefeweizen is based on Golden Road’s namesake hefe, and is nicely balanced between the fruity esters and crisp wheat body.

The house beers are available at all Lazy Dog locations throughout L.A. and Orange counties, and each outpost also spotlights nearby craft breweries with a handful of taps dedicated to locally brewed beer.

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