Relentless Brewing has landed on the main drag in Eagle Rock, but do not expect to have a brewery tour or a full roster of the same beers that you would get at their Temecula headquarters. No, Doris and James Hess have something different planned for their second location.
Backing up to the beginning of the story, Relentless started when the company in Downtown L.A. that James was working for was sold. That was the opportunity to begin the drive to build a brewery. The couple looked all around for the right space before settling on Temecula, but by the time that they opened in 2016, that city had blown up with breweries.
This led to a pivot in focus toward the sour direction and now they have built up a collection of over 250 barrels as well as foeders to make a variety of wild and sour ales with fruits like cherries, raspberries and apricots. I sampled their tequila barrel-aged Tequila My Vibe and found a sour that had the multi-colored hue of a Tequila Sunrise cocktail and a sharp kick of acidity.
Fans of IPA, which make up, approximately 114% of beers currently (give or take a few percentage points) will find options such as Dank You So Much as well as hazy New England styles. You will also find a variety of beers from all around Los Angeles. On one visit, they pointed me to a newly tapped IPA from Offshoot Beer Co. and I admit to being taken aback at first. Why not push your own beers to the fore? And why are you not brewing here?
Well, that is because this is going to be the location for Relentless’s latest direction, spirits. They’re currently working on a still in Temecula in preparation for its new home where bourbon, whiskey and vodka will be made and eventually sold as well as being used in a developing cocktail program. You may even be able to order (in the future) a cocktail made with both Relentless beer and spirits.
The space also houses a restaurant, making this atypical satellite taproom more of a spot to meet up with friends and have drinks and nibbles. A section of stadium seating features outlets for those working their phones as well as a mezzanine level that is colorized with a bright mural on the back wall. The owners have already noticed in a short amount of time that the early crowd are Eagle Rock locals and the late crowd skews younger and from Highland Park.
When the distilling starts, expect people coming from even further away.
Summer has certainly arrived. For the Non-IPA Beer of the Week selection I decided to highlight two classic beers from the lighter side of the spectrum. One from Los Angeles and one is known worldwide. The former is 1903 Lager from Craftsman Brewing, a foundational L.A. beer. Golden color with a quenching mouthfeel. On draft only and you may have to search a bit, but this is worth it, especially if you are new to L.A. beer. The second is Pilsner Urquell. This is one of those beers that is a standard bearer for the style. Compare and contrast Pilsner against this one. Just be careful to get those green bottles stored out of light to ensure the best flavor.
Instead of adding a date to the beer calendar, this week we are adding movie times. The long awaited opening of the Alamo Drafthouse finally occurred last weekend. Now you can catch the latest blockbuster or a deep cut indie film in Downtown L.A. and get yourself a California (or other state) beer to put into your cup holder instead of some sugary soft drink.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.