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Previous Pint Pleasures - September 13, 2014

guinness eileen

Timeless Pints, 3671 Industry Avenue, Long Beach, California

guinness eileen

Tilted Kilt, 6575 Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach, California

Last spring when I was visiting my mother in Southern California I was excited to discover there is a new brewpub in my hometown. Long Beach is already the location of the oldest operating brewpub in Southern California, the Belmont Brewing Company, located at the foot of the Belmont Pier. Although there's always a nice view of the ocean and the pier from the Belmont, the beer always reminded me of home brew in the most innocent, inexperienced sense. Granted, I haven't been to the Belmont for about six years, so things may have matured a bit by now. But there are so many excellent Southern California brewpubs that have popped up since those early days.

It was a Sunday afternoon when my Belgian friend Daisy and I decided to go in search of Timeless Pints. I knew it was somewhere behind the Long Beach Airport and close to Boeing, the former sight of McDonnell Douglas, which I used to pass every day on my way to work at Rockwell in Downey and Northrop in Pico Rivera back when I was a graphics programmer in California. But it took some wandering around the deserted little Sunday afternoon business-park roads before we finally stumbled upon the brewery.

Daisy was a bit nervous about walking into the light industrial warehouse where the bar was the main focus, but I promised her it would be a friendly and rewarding experience. We sat at the end of the small bar and quickly ordered pints. Daisy had a pint of The Good Mannered Belgian Witbier (5.4% ABV) which was nice and Belgian like Daisy, only quite a bit smoother than she is ("just kidding", as she always says). The beer was named after a Belgian monk who took a vow of silence, which is something I can never see my loquacious friend Daisy doing. (Just kidding, again.) When I told the barmaid I was a hophead she suggested I go for a pint of The Expeditious Guest IPA (8.0% ABV), which supposedly was named after an Indian insect. It was a nice drop but a bit too alcoholic for me to contemplate drinking a second pint. But it did have a super bitter PUNCH! POW! OUCH! BOP! ZAP! hops display. I felt a bit like Robin: where was Batman when I needed him? We had time for a second round, so I went for a pint of Flight Path Jet Black IPA (7.8%), simply because it was slightly less alcoholic than the Expeditious. This had a real hoppy rip to it, like Cessna tires zipping across the black asphalt.

The taproom is a very simple business-park taproom, with a corrugated metal bar front supplied with English-style hooks for hanging one's bags and jackets. Another British touch is the last-call bell which features a very long leather pull cord. The bar counter is a chipped wooden frame filled with cement, which prompted former interior designer Daisy to explain that this is quite fashionable nowadays for kitchen counters. The top is silicone, the bottom is pure cement, and the uneven edges are produced by the chipped wood. As Daisy expounded on the virtues of cement counters I was dying to pull out my camera and record her speech for the benefit of the Concrete Appreciation Society -- but I was too wrapped up in multitasking, which consisted of sipping my beer while talking about the brewery, the beers, and local brewery news with the bar staff. Apparently the Weiland Brewery, which used to be in Los Angeles, is due to open as a new brewery in Long Beach. My sleepy home town is becoming just a little more exciting.

Before we left we ordered one-litre growlers of The Good-Mannered Belgian and Flight Path, only $9.00 each, providing us with more sipping pleasure safely back home on my mother's patio. I'm so glad more British pubs are offering take-home pints as well. It's such a civilised tradition which gets a few intoxicated drivers off the road.

Timeless Pints was started last year by former post office technician and employee Chris Sparacio. There is no food license but on Friday and Saturday nights they feature a rotating variety of food trucks for peckish imbibers.

On another afternoon, when my elderly mother was feeling like resting at home, Daisy and I decided to get out for a few hours and enjoy some pints. After a stroll through Seal Beach, we stopped at the Marketplace in Long Beach to have a pint at the Tilted Kilt, located where the McKenna's Creek restaurant used to be back when I lived here. When we entered we discovered all the other customers were solitary men, and the strictly female waitstaff were all wearing minikilts with exposed midriffs. I felt as if we had entered a child-friendly version of a porno cinema. We sat at one of the oddly parallel counters, almost like casual pews facing the bar, and ordered pints of Little Sumpin' Sumpin' (7.5% ABV, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Petaluma, California), which started with a bang and proceeded into a proud announcement of zoompah! bitter hops. We shared a plate of calamari rings which was nice.

The original Tilted Kilt was started in Las Vegas as a Celtic-themed sports pub staffed with sexy waitresses, and the Long Beach bar opened in 2010. There are now Tilted Kilts all over the country, catering to America's lone soles who crave a good pint served by a scantily clad waitress. What a unique concept.