As I walked in, I got a sudden sense that this could be a bar that skiers and snowboarders might frequent in a ski resort up north. The unusually warm weather – even for southern California - in late December quickly squashed that sensation. But it was a nice, fleeting feeling nonetheless.
The booths and walls are made from salvaged, renovated cedar planking. The copper and bricks adorning and abaft the curved bar make for a warm, outdoorsy feel. The steel doors and massive, sliding windows also add a nice touch. I especially liked the chandelier made out of beer bottles. I know, I’m a girly girl. Two larger flat panel TV’s mounted above the bar make it a decent place to catch a game.
But let’s move on to the meaty part of the review, the burgers (no pun intended) and the beer. Unfortunately, my first trip was purely focused on the beer – I mean, have you seen the name of my website? It’s really all about the beer. But I will be sure to visit again to try one of their burgers paired with their suggestion of various brews.
Their Stout burger is served with blue cheese, emi gruyere, rosemary bacon, caramelized onion and (as their menu states) horesradish cream – apparently it’s a sassy, whorish sauce. I’ll have to try that one later. Anyway, they suggest pairing it with a “malty, high alcohol beer, such as an IPA or a barley wine that fit perfectly with the strong, funky flavors of this burger.” The Six Weeker is made with brie, fig jam, arugula and caramelized onions and is said great paired with Belgian ales and wits, like Brother David and Scaldes. However, when I looked on their beer menu, neither were to be found. Perhaps this was because they rotate the beers more often than they update the food menu.
On tap, Stout carries about 30 beers, including Telegraph California Ale from Santa Barbara, Kilt Lifter out of Moylans, California, hoppy ales like Hop 15, Cali Belgique from Stone and Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. They also carry a nice Belgian selection such as, Blanche de Bruxelles, N’Ice Chouffe, Duchesse De Bourgogne and of course Allagash. Stout was also carrying 11 bottled beers like Devotion, Malheur Biere Brut and Chimay Bleue.
I started the evening with friends and a Affligem Blonde, a 7% Belgian ale priced at $8.00. It came in a fluted tulip and had a nice blond-golden color with a thick, frothy head. It smelled sweet and nutty, with a bit of hops, honey, banana and a splash of citrus….and it went down easy.
Our waitress was friendly and attentive and the bus boy was quite good (and of course a delicious, tall, dark runway model). Matt Tarcov, the restaurant manager introduced himself and was quite knowledgeable about the beers. When one of my friends asked about them, Tarcov spoke about the differences between the pales and stouts and his favorite Belgian beers. After our table of five listened attentively for a few minutes, he then asked my friend what beer he would like to try. Much to his chagrin, this particular guy was in AA. Trying to hold back my laughter, when he said, “Oh, I don’t drink,” I quickly interjected, “but the rest of us do!” Ah, uncomfortable hilarity at its finest.
As I was trying a beer sampler of Hop 15 and Cali Belgique, I was suddenly famished and ordered the onion rings and greek fries. The onion rings were the highlight. The batter had an awesome flavor that wasn’t too heavy or greasy.
Stout is taking advantage of the flavor interactions and trying to find harmonies within the beer and the food – coming in at the perfect time in the beer revolution. Los Angeles is still way behind in this craft and European beer uprising, so Stout has a great opportunity that I hope they’re able to capitalize.
Photos by: Erin Peters