With the 210 freeway undergoing periodic road repairs in addition to the normal jam-packed-ness, a trip out to Pasadena seems daunting, let alone Pomona. Finally I set aside a Saturday to visit a duo of breweries in between the Inland Empire and the San Gabriel Valley.
First stop was in the north at Old Stump Brewing Co.. No trees were harmed in the making of the mammoth brewing facility and taproom on Bonita Avenue. The commercial warehouse space could fit a few breweries inside it. The really long stone bar could sit more people than most taprooms can in total.
13 beers were on tap. I sampled the Milk Stout, Disarray IPA, Nut Job Brown and Hugh Hef (one of a group of questionable and un-original beer names, but unfortunately not the worst). All four beers were fine though the Hef had too much minerality for my taste and was too banana heavy. A couple fruited beers, a black IPA and a few blonde ales were on tap as well.
Homage Brewing is south of the Stump, near the famed Rookery Alehouse restaurant and craft beer bar on 2nd Avenue in DTP. The space has green plants galore and a quieter vibe overall. Homage has a rep for sour beers, but on the day that I was there, none to be seen. I looked to my left to the teeny-tiny kettles and saw why.
I ordered a house flight comprised of a Belgian Golden, Belgian Pale, Brett IPA and a French (pilot batch) Saison. The Belgian Pale and the Golden could have differentiated themselves a bit more but both were solid. The Pilot Jones was a really good, and dry Saison but the star was the Reckoner Brett IPA. One of the first of the sub-styles that was tuned more to hops than Brett and it was excellent. (Spoiler for my year-end best beers post). To top it off, they had coffee on tap as well. I ordered one to go planning my next valley freeway foray.
The Beer of the Week comes from Ohana Brewing. Instead of following the crowd and dropping whatever nearby fruit is handy into an IPA, the L.A. brewery has instead turned to Sencha (basically tea) to create some wonderful and aromatic IPAs that are quite unlike other IPAs out there. Honeydew Sencha brings a sweet melon taste along with tannic tea qualities and I have also tasted their Lychee Sencha IPA which is wonderfully floral and over-the-top (in a good way). Check out their Alhambra tasting room and see what Ohana has in store for you.
Your Homework is to throw the hops into the boil. But then not brew with them. Hedonistic Hops is a new crowd-sourced cookbook that uses hops in appetizers, main dishes, condiments and even in brownies and other desserts. If you feel that you need to kick your dinner or BBQ or casual lunch up a notch, add some bitterness from the hops.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.