If you look at the handy map that the L.A. County Brewers Guild recently published, you will see pockets of activity and a blank hole in Santa Monica. That changed with the opening of an actual taproom right off the 10 freeway in the People’s Republic.
Santa Monica Brew Works has thrown open their doors four nights a week to customers seeking to taste their growing list of beers. You can start with the 310 Blonde Ale, move on to their Wit, then the deceptively light (and my favorite) PCH – aka Pale Chocolate Heaven – before moving hoppy with their XPA and Inclined IPA.
Or you can check out the rotating specials on the right chalkboard for items like Cucumber Kolsch or a Hazy NE style IPA (which I tried on my visit and quite liked) or even a Breakfast Beer.
The space is quite long with plenty of seating for even a large party of beer fans and the array of brewing equipment is impressive with many tanks in formidable formation. You’ll also find three large cold boxes and a packaging line (which was artfully arranged with bottles) within view.
The only real downside to the place is that the prices are on the high side. Most beers were in the $7-$9 range and a four-pack of 16-ounce cans of their Wit will set you back $14. The pricing seems a buck or two higher than California “normal.”
But now you can hop on the Expo Line in Downtown L.A. to avoid the heat and wind and be in Santa Monica and at a brewery in cooler climes sipping local beer.
The Beer of Week is not an L.A. native. Far from it. It hails from the old country and the Open Gate division of Guinness. This is not a malty pitch black porter or stout. Far from it. It is their soon to arrive Rye Pale Ale. It was brewed as a gift beer for friends and family, but has now been pushed into the spotlight. American palates may think it is more XPA or Session, but whatever you call it, this light and slightly spicy beer is subtle with hops.
This week’s Homework is to prepare yourself for Barrel Aged Beer Day. The brainchild of The Bruery, October 7 marks the day to open up your beer cellar or head down to your local beer store to find a bottle of a beer that has been aged in rum, tequila, gin, wine or maybe even a super rare bourbon barrel aged ale. Don’t forget to use the Untappd App to pick up the badge for participating in a day celebrating aged beer.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.