Barcade, System of a Stout + Session Fest 2019

Craft Beer Los Angeles

At Barcade, it's possible to pair Q-Bert with Hangar 24's Orange Wheat.

Video games on phones come and go. One day Candy Crushin’ and the next wandering a neighborhood looking for Pokemon, but what has not gone out of style is the joy of standing in front of a retro video game and getting that frog across the river of logs.

Granted all of those references are dated, but when the mini-chain Barcade opened up in Highland Park earlier this month, I opened the door to see NBA players of yore herky-jerkily moving across the screen, nothing like the smooth motion captured sports games of today. Q-Bert is off to the left, the OG Star Wars game is near the bar, and multiple pinball machines line on the walls.

The beers Barcade is pouring is most important for the sake of this column. Over 20 taps are in use with a cask handle coming in the near future. I would rate the list as a step or two over medium. On my visit, Barcade didn’t have much Los Angeles beer on tap, El Segundo, Three Weavers, Beachwood Brewing and oddly for a New York founded bar, there was not a lot of New York craft on tap either. Maybe in the future, they will have a New York brewery tap take-over.

The former El Arco Iris space on York Boulevard is near the historic Galco’s Old World Grocery. The main bar offers not only beer, but wine and cocktails as well. They also have a food menu with appetizers, pizza bagels, and burgers. A back bar has more seating and more games. Thankfully, despite both music and games playing, the sound is not oppressive anywhere in the building.

Obviously, Barcade is driven by people coming to play in the arcade with beer and food being better than average. I could certainly see where people might prefer the Los Angeles version, Button Mash, as more adventurous in food and beer, but Barcade solidly hits the more casual fan.

Choose your own adventure for the latest Non-IPA Beer of the Week. Beachwood Brewing just released their System of a Stout (and in 16-ounce cans). You can choose between the standard version of the Imperial Coffee Stout or the vanilla-fied version. Either way you are going to get a strong cup of beer that delivers on the coffee front.

5% ABV. That is the “absolute cutoff” for what Eagle Rock Brewery will pour for their annual Session Fest. Now in its 9th year, the May 18 event has two new aspects. 1) Guest brewers will be welcomed to pour and 2) the event is now under the umbrella of, and contributing to, the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild. Food from the Eagle Rock Public House will be available for purchase as 3) Session Fest is also part of the LA Times Food Bowl celebration.

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

Address: 5684 York Boulevard, Highland Park, California 90042

Sean Inman

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

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