Not going to say “I told you so,” but I have on record my predictions for Beachwood BBQ & Brewing’s epic wins at this year’s Great American Beer Festival and, well, can’t help it if I was right. All the real credit for L.A. County’s only microbrew GABF medal (Pabst won one since they moved headquarters to LA last year), of course, goes to Julian Shrago–the ultimate homebrewing rocket scientist who only recently quit his day job at Raytheon to make Beachwood Brewing a full-time gig.
After submitting a few beers to last year’s GABF judging panel when the brewery had only been open for a few months (submissions are due in August/September), Shrago got positive feedback from the judges: beers were almost medal-worthy, but the first batch isn’t often the best. Since then, Beachwood has expanded its offerings fivefold and this year, they submitted a bunch of the brewpub’s one-offs, two of which won!
Gold: Udder Love, a milk stout, in the Sweet Stout category
Bronze: El Verano, in the French-and Belgian-style Saison category
Shrago’s beers never disappoint (well, maybe the Berliner Weisse was a little ambitious) and his single IPAs, double IPAs and extra-hoppy pale ales are competitive with some of the best coming out of San Diego right now. I feel so fortunate that Beachwood is not only in Long Beach, but it is my local bar. I love that beer geeks drive from all over the southwest to try a beer from the spot a few blocks from my apartment.
It’s about time Long Beach gets on the beer map–after all, we have the oldest operating brewpub in Southern California (Belmont Brewing Company), the oldest operating bar west of the Mississippi (Joe Jost’s) and the first Rock Bottom Brewery outside of its home state of Colorado. ‘