The Blendery, Beachwood’s Latest Beer Joint, Will Be Dedicated Solely to Sours

Beachwood Brewery is slowly but surely building its beerpire as the Beachwood Blendery, the local brewery’s newest endeavor, will begin brewing its set of exclusively sour beers to be offered when the first releases begin to happen in mid-2015.

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 5.41.56 PMFor Beachwood owner Gabe Gordon, head brewmaster Julian Schrago, and Blendery’s Barrelmaster Ryan Fields (the guy from Pizza Port and pictured left bringing new equipment into The Blendery), there is a certain magical aura about Belgian sours: tart, flavorful, forthright in their character, some have tried to mimic the classical style but have failed in perfecting the beer.

Gordon and crew hope that the creation of a temperature-controlled barrel room—a room, mind you, that will mimic the temperature and humidity of a barrel room in Belgium on the daily—inside the space sitting at 3rd and Long Beach Blvd. might prove to be the key that will crack the lambic cipher.

“I don’t know what it is that makes a Cantillon gueuze a Cantillon gueuze, but I want to start ticking off boxes of what it isn’t,” Gordon said in a statement. “To do this, we need to break down sour beer-making to its basics and build it back up from scratch, tracking variables, testing theories and taking notes for the next batches along the way. For the Blendery team, this is as much an experimental platform for sours as it is a beer business.”

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 5.44.18 PMDoes this mean Long Beach will be home to the most kriek-y of kriek lambics and the geuziest of geuzes this side of Brussels? Not quite (especially given those names are designated terms protected by the EU, much like bourbon in the US). Per usual the Beachwood way, the team will be using using tradition as a guide but not a marker, incorporating local water and “non-traditional ingredients to make modern mashes which will be pitched with quantified yeast and bacteria, then fermented and aged in both steel and oak barrels.” This means eschewing typical sour flavors like cherry or blackberry in favor of tropical fruits and spices. (If the merging of tropical flavors into a beer style is as remotely spectacular as the mango awesomeness that Beachwood incorporated into their anniversary IPA, Beachwood Seven, then we are all game.)

Following the creation of their “lambics” over the course of the next three years, The Blendery will then move onto American “geuzes,” which are created by combining young (one-year-old) and old (two- to three-year-old) lambics.

All this will be done in The Blendery’s 1000-barrel again room, with the series of sours to be filed under the Propagation Series, set to be released mid-next year. In addition to the release, simultaneously opening will be the tasting room, fit with 10 taps and wine from the vineyards whose barrels The Blendery uses to ferment their beers.

Our palates are ready. Bring on the sours.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food to politics to urban transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 12 nominations and an additional win for Best Political Commentary. Born in Big Bear, he has lived in Long Beach since college. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.
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