It seems like just yesterday that I packed up my bags in Michigan to move to Los Angeles, but alas it was nearly 10 years ago. A lot has changed in those 10 years, and aside from housing prices and traffic much of it has been for the better. Take, for example, breweries. Michigan was littered with them and I found LA barely had one (San Diego was strong, though). Now, they are much easier to find and have even come around to serving brewery food instead of fancy stuff (I’m looking at you, Golden Road, but glad that you have also fixed yourself up!) Highland Park Brewery is one of the new entrants and I set out to test both its food and booze.
Breweries are the best, right? And they typically have awesome food. That’s why I was pretty excited to find out Phoenix was getting a new brewery called Helio Basin and tried to make my way there at the first opportunity. Plus, it didn’t hurt that I had a connection at the place and wanted to show some support.
Out in San Dimas is a microbrewing spot called Clayton Brewing Co. Due to eating there during work, I wasn’t able to try their beer, but fortunately most breweries have great food and I was hoping Clayton would follow that pattern. After a whole lot of deliberation, I opted for the Smoked Gouda Patty Melt.
In need of some food to soak up the booze of the night before, we found ourselves at Les 3 Brasseurs in downtown Montreal. Of course, in English this translates to The 3 Brewers, so it seemed like a good place to get our fill before leaving the lovely city of Montreal. Because it seemed necessary, we started with a couple orders of poutine for the table – including one non-traditional that had pulled pork and bacon.
When in the Twin Cities, I almost always feel the need to get a Jucy Lucy. Or, I just avoid burgers entirely. Yet, on this trip my path led me to Freehouse, a microbrewery that is so incredibly popular that we had to wait longer for a table than the hostess had told us initially. Seriously. Fortunately, we were able to get things started with a couple of beers and some cheese curds before taking our seats.
Rock Bottom is a restaurant and brewery that seems to have made its way through much of the US since first opening up in Denver long before I was legally able to drink. Fortunately, one of these locations is in Pittsburgh’s Waterfront. I say fortunate because it gave me the chance to try out their food and beer. After all, I once considered myself fortunate to try BJ’s, until I actually ate their food and drank their beer. I hoped Rock Bottom would treat me better.
What do you get when you combine an abandoned church with a brewery? The answer is Church Brew Works, a spot in Lawrenceville that might just be one of the most unique breweries/restaurants in the country. Nay, the world. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Beer is proof that God loves us,” and the use of the altar for the actual brewing might just be the best support of old Ben.
Montana. Big sky country. The land of traffic jams caused by cows. Yes, like very few people before us (based on the lack of a line at the border), we returned from the Great White North through Montana. Billings is a long way from the border, but at some point we found ourselves there and in need of eats. Thusly, we discovered the creatively named Montana Brewing Company.
Possibly the best part of a road trip is not quite knowing where you’ll be sleeping that night, and not just which hotel, but sometimes which city. Somehow after a day at beautiful, if foggy Crater Lake we decided to make the trek to Eugene, Oregon to crash with a family friend. Knowing the kind of food I like to eat and the kind of beers I like to drink, he took us to McMenamins, a sort of chain of microbreweries throughout Oregon and Washington. He explained that each one was unique in its design because they typically opened up in buildings with previous tenants and worked within those confines. It was a pretty cool concept and the McMenamins North Bank in Eugene certainly had an awesome set up.
One of the biggest complaints that, like, anyone who moves to LA has is the lack of breweries. And by breweries I mean the micro variety that pump out tasty, local brews. You see, good microbreweries are about more than just beer, they also churn out delicious food. Fortunately, Torrance has a little place called Red Car to fill the void.