Phantom Carriage will soon be opening their doors! And you will be pleased by what Martin Svab and Simon Ford have barrel-aged in Carson.
The mood is set instantly upon entering. The city and the industrial exterior fades away to a darkened bar. Warm and cozy with a hint of danger, or maybe that was seeing the skeleton-driven carriage artfully drawn on the wall. There are barrels framing the seating area with two private rooms off to the sides of the large space. The decor and design put me into an “L.A. Confidential” state of mind.
The bar is gleaming steel, but your eyes will be drawn to the rough edges of the aged wild beers on the list. Oude Muis (back on tap after a teaser of being on tap in the past) is back and is as funky and barnyard-y as ever, along with four new beers covering the spectrum of Berliner to Porter to blonde, but Wild.
My particular favorite, and one that I would have included in my 10 Best California Beers of 2014 list, was the Bergman. A blonde sour aged in oak with brettanomyces, lactobacillus and pediococcus. It had a wonderful white wine character accented with a tart lemony kick. Close behind was the wild porter, Domingues, which had robust cherry notes. The Broadacres Berliner Weisse was simple and well done and makes for a perfect start to your tasting adventure.
There are also guest taps, wines and special limited cocktails plus some really good sandwiches from the industrious kitchen across from the bar. Or you can be adventurous and attempt to pair a beer with S’mores which are also on the menu.
Phantom Carriage is sleek and noir, from the decor to the glassware. They may screen “Noseferatu” in their “cinema” and have a beer named Lugosi but I see this space as a locale straight out of a Hammett or Chandler book.
Your Beer of the Week is THE iconic beer of Christmas. Anchor Brewing has been making Our Special Ale for forty years now. That is forty different drawings of trees gracing the label of this spicy and spruce-y winter warmer that is still pretty sessionable. It is a classic that will never go out of style and I look forward to buying a six-pack every year. Oh and pick up their Winter Wheat lager as well for a great compare/contrast opportunity.
If your carriage is running, might as well rev them up and head out to Covina and check out another (yes, another) new brewery on the L.A. scene for your craft beer Homework. Rev Brewing Co. is an offshoot of the Rev Winery. They are also the San Gabriel Valley’s First and Only Organic Artisanal Craft Brewery. You will find a Belgian Small beer, pale ale, chocolate porter and a “Frankenbeer” too. If you haven’t checked out the breweries of the Valley, now is the time to hop to it.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.