Left Coast Brewing Co., one of the oldest craft beer breweries in Orange County, opened a new location in Irvine Wednesday with a tasting room and smokehouse specializing in Kansas City barbecue.
The 5,300-square-foot facility offers 24 beers on tap, including Left Coast’s core brews — Hop Juice Triple IPA and Trestles IPA — and experimental recipes produced on site. There is also a 650-square-foot, dog-friendly dining patio.
The facility at 6652 Irvine Center Drive is the second brewery in Irvine; Evans Brewing Co., which doesn’t offer a tasting room, is the other.
Left Coast’s original location, a 30-barrel brewery, is in San Clemente. Irvine, with a five-barrel capacity, is the first satellite location.
Tommy Hadjis, general manager of Left Coast, said Irvine will act as an innovative space to test various recipes.
The five-barrel production system will allow the company to create more small-batch, specialized beers unavailable anywhere else.
Jim Clarke, who joined Left Coast in 2006 and served as head brewer in San Clemente, will lead brewing in Irvine.
In addition to on-site service, the Irvine brewery also sells cans, bottles and crowlers to-go. Keg orders require 24-hour notice.
Aside from beer, Left Coast’s Irvine location will distill vodka, rum, whiskey and gin — a first for the company. Spirits are also available for tastings.
Hadjis said Left Coast employees had wanted to distill spirits for years.
The brewery will also serve Kansas City barbecue — fried pickles, beef brisket, pulled pork, hot links — to pair with its beer menu.
Executive chef Jason Tsiames slow cooks and smokes the beef brisket for 75 hours.
“That way it’s juicier, but you can’t over-smoke it,” Tsiames said.
The facility, which has a seating capacity of about 200, is meant to evoke beach and industrial vibes, Hadjis said.
Brewing barrels are splayed for customers to rest their drinks. A large barn door separates the main tasting room from a private party room. The ceiling is open. A large mural of the San Clemente Pier — an ode to Left Coast’s roots — decorates one of the walls.
George, Dora and John Hadjis opened Left Coast Brewing in 2004. George and Dora are Tommy’s parents, and John is his uncle.
Early on the brewery adopted the surfer vibes of the nearby community, naming one of its more popular brews Trestles IPA, after the world-renowned surf spot.
The Hadjis family also owns the San Clemente-based Oggi’s Pizza & and Brewery Co.