CoffeeBeer >> Pint Pleasures >> Previous Beer Columns >> 2 Downtown Long Beach Pubs

Previous Pint Pleasures - July 29, 2012

guinness eileen

Beachwood BBQ, 210 East Third Street, Long Beach, California

guinness eileen

Congregation Ale House Chapters, 201 East Broadway, Long Beach, California

On my recent visit to Southern California I was hoping to discover more new brewpubs selling exciting microbrews. What I wasn't expecting at all was to find two of them in my hometown.

After Mistah Rick and I spend two days exploring the industrial archaeology, cemeteries, and pubs in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, we headed back to Long Beach where we spend the night at my mother's house before Rick's trek back north. In the morning we took a scenic drive through Belmont Heights and East Long Beach where I once lived. Around lunchtime we parked in downtown Long Beach to find somewhere for lunch. Our destination was Beachwood BBQ on Third Street, as I'd had such an enjoyable afternoon at the original Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach on my previous visit.

Subtitled "Where the Fork Meets The Pork", both Beachwood BBQs specialise in not only microbrews but also meat. They are proud to announce that their pork is smoked for 13 hours, their pulled pork marinates for 24 hours, and their meats are served dry with a selection of barbecue sauces, because they believe meat should be served on its own merits without a sauce. I would probably agree with them -- if I ate meat, that is. But sine I don't, I was more interested in their brews.

The Long Beach Beachwood open out on the Long Beach Promenade between Third Street and Broadway, with a view of System M where I used to see performances years ago and just a few steps fro the Mosaic Mural that now crowns the top of the Promenade. This mural, which I remember from my childhood, dates from around 1938 and used to be located on the north wall of the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium. Created by 40 artists from an original design by Henry Allen Nord, the mural was rescued in 1975 when the Auditorium was demolished, and it's been adorning the Promenade since 1982.

We spent quite awhile at the Beachwood bar chatting with the barman. After having a taste of James (5.2% ABV, Beachwood BBQ Brewing) we went for pints of Breaker Pale Ale (5.5% ABV, Beachwood), a good classic and classy IPA style, and Citraholic IPA (7.1% ABV, Beachwood), a real mind cleaver with its spicy choppy hops. We also had tasters of Alpha Wave Session IPA (3.2% ABV, Beachwood), cool and refreshingly perfect for an afternoon in the sun; and Forever Bitter (5.6% ABV, Beachwood) brewed with Maris Otter malt and American hops creating a biscuit flavour like Bass Ale but with more hops. It was excellent, and I knew that my British friends Andrew and Trevor would both like it. They had one cask ale on, but as it was a darker maltier ale we didn't try it.

We juggled our collection of pint and taster glasses out to the front patio, sitting thankfully distant fro the patio heaters which were blasting away unnecessarily on this sunny Southern California day in May. We sat back and sipped and compared tasting notes, happy as two cask ale aficionados in paradise.

But what was this? Were we hallucinating from the lunchtime effects of so many strong brews? Or was that -- literally a few steps down the Prom -- another pub? It appeared more like a church, except for the fact that a couple of people were sitting in its front patio sipping pints.

Seeking religion we entered through the hallowed doors of Congregation Ale House Chapter and found another bar featuring a wide range of microbrews. Most of the beers here are Belgian and European style, ranging from numeric Trappist ales through Lambics to Saison farmhouse ales, the odd American IPA and English mild thrown in for good measure. I decided to veer from my usual style and have a pint of Pescadero Pilsner (4.0% ABV, Ballast Point Brewing Company, San Diego, California), which was served in a proper pilsner glass. It was a very nice pilsner, a refreshing change from my usual hop-heavy IPA domination. It grew on me once the Beachwood hops domination had faded from my tongue, regardless of the depressing Radiohead soundtrack dripping morosely from the pub's speakers. It promised my tastebuds redemption with a gorgeous blue sky with billowy white clouds. Rick had a pint of G'Knight Imperial Red (8.7% ABV, Oscar Blues, Longmont, Colorado), brewed with 6 malts and 3 hops and then dry-hopped with Amarillo. It was like a fuzzingly hoppy red boat deep beneath the waves, with views of halibut and grouper through the portholes.

Once we ordered our lunch we moved out to the patio to enjoy our pints. Our flatbread sandwiches were delicious as well. The menu features sausages and also the very intriguing Chimay cheese, made by the same Trappist monks who brew the beer.

There are two more Ale House Chapters pubs, located in Pasadena and in Azusa. The Long Beach pub's Sunday Services features brunch and a pub quiz, and Monday Mass is an all-day happy hour session.

If I still lived in Long Beach, I think I might just convert.

Beachwood BBQ Updates
(Last updated 1 January 2017)
Congregation Ale House Updates
(Last updated 29 June 2013)