Sample bottles for Beachwood Brewing beer wrapped with unofficial labels. Photo by Sarah Bennett.
December 14 will mark an important milestone in Beachwood BBQ & Brewing’s evolution as a commercial craft brewery when its winter seasonal Tovarish (a Russian Imperial Coffee Stout) will become their first bottled beer offered for public sale. It will also mark the first Long Beach-brewed beer to be bottled since Belmont Brewing Company began selling its Strawberry Blonde nearly a decade ago (only the bottles sold at BBC are brewed on-site, the rest is now contract brewed).
The release of Tovarish in 22oz, wax-dipped bottles will initiate an ongoing bottling program that will feature some of brewmaster Julian Shrago’s rarest and most sought after seasonal and special releases.
While this is a significant step for the brewery and its fans, don’t expect to walk into your local beer retailer and find shelves stacked with Shrago’s highly regarded IPAs—at least not in the near future. For the time being, Beachwood will focus on what co-owner Gabe Gordon says are “shelf-stable” beers—bigger, more complex brews (like the 11%ABV Tovarish), bottle-conditioned ales and barrel-aged offerings.
And the reality that the brewery will be self-distributing and bottling by hand (no fancy automated bottling line here) means that only small quantities will make it to market. Thankfully, however, Long Beach will receive a large chunk of the first-round of bottles at spots such as the Whole Foods on PCH, 4th St. Vine wine bar and Stearns Liquor off of Lakewood Blvd. that Gordon says he and his employees personally shop.
Beachwood is still waiting for the state to officially approve its first batch of labels, but the brewery anticipates a release date of December 14th for Tovarish. Only 60 cases of 22-ounce bombers of the wildly popular stout, brewed with coffee from Costa Mesa’s Portola Coffee Lab, have been produced.
Currently, the plan is to reserve about half of those bottles for sale at the brewery and to send the other half out to the select few retail locations, primarily in Long Beach and Orange County. Bottles will retail for $16, a last-minute reduction from the original price of $20.
The second offering—currently slated for brewery-only availability—will be a smoked black saison, scheduled for release to celebrate the 6th anniversary of Beachwood BBQ’s original location in Seal Beach on December 20. Future bottled beers already in the pipeline include a bourbon-barrel-aged batch of Shrago’s strong scotch ale, Full Malted Jacket, as well as an edition of Still Life Stout (named after a Seal Beach tattoo shop) set to coincide with April’s Ink-N-Iron festival here in Long Beach.
Beachwood BBQ and Brewing is located at 210 E. 3rd St., (562) 436-4020