BEACHWOOD BBQ & BREWERY: A HOME FOR BEER-GEEKS AND CARNIVORESBy Sarah Bennett
Coming off the celebration of our nation’s independence, it’s hard not to revel in the splendor of our country’s most infamous cohorts—beer and barbeque. These finely-matched friends are at the very core of our identity as red-blooded ‘Mericans, and so it only seems appropriate that Downtown Long Beach’s long-awaited Beachwood BBQ and Brewing welcomed its first public patrons the day after Independence Day.
Like most of the greater LA/OC region, Long Beach has been relatively slow to embrace a craft beer revolution that has swept across the country for the past several decades. But when the original Beachwood BBQ arrived on Main Street in Seal Beach in 2006, that all changed.
Not only did owner and career chef Gabe Gordon take two of America’s favorite pastimes and reinvigorate them for a modern sensibility, but he created an atmosphere that quickly led the 54-seat gastropub to its current claim as one of Beer Advocate’s Top Five Places to Drink a Beer in America.
His latest endeavor—a much larger, brewery-focused version of the original Beachwood—is located on the ground floor of a new loft complex on the once-abandoned Promenade, and its arrival three doors down from Congregation Ale House cements the unlikely strip’s place as the local beer-geek destination.
While it’s true that the new Beachwood BBQ and Brewing (like its older brother) has a boatload of beers on tap—the list of drafts on opening day was an ode to Southern California breweries and more rarities are rumored to be waiting—but the food is still it’s anchor.
The menu is filled with comforting names and down-home ingredients such as smoked meats, hush puppies, coleslaw and creamed corn. Each dish is something your mom would be proud to make, but it’s never the way she would make it—familiarity with a twist. And Gordon’s gourmet comfort food goes perfectly with gourmet versions (think ginger saison and habanero pepper IPA) of the world’s most comforting adult beverage—especially the ones made in the giant silver vessels housed behind the bar.
Since the Long Beach location is home to Beachwood Brewing, opening day was also the public’s first chance to taste the house-brand beers. A new operation helmed by Julian Shrago—a former aerospace engineer-turned-award-winning homebrewer—Beachwood Brewing churned out five beers in time for Tuesday, which are—appropriately enough—all American in style.
Despite the longtime presence of Belmont Brewing Company and Rock Bottom Brewery, Beachwood might as well be Long Beach’s first microbrewery. Gordon and Shrago are already industry forces in their own right and their collaboration promises adventure, variety and innovation with every batch. After all, America is as much about reinvention as it is about tradition—and if there’s one thing worth celebrating through all the recession-war-Weiner problems this patriotic-holiday season, it’s our undying love of BBQ and beer.
BEACHWOOD BREWING & BBQ • 210 E. 3RD ST • LONG BEACH 90802 • 562.436.4020 BEACHWOODBBQ.COM • TUE-SUN 11:30AM-10PM • BEER & WINE • ACCEPTS CREDIT CARDS • NO RESERVATIONS