Friday, July 19, 2024

Miss Beachwood Brewing in Downtown Long Beach? Don’t skip out on their Huntington Beach pizzeria

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Yes, there is a certain lament at the loss of Beachwood Brewing in Downtown Long Beach—but that has been more than covered by Ian McCall and the crew at ISM Brewing, from their stellar beer to their solid food offerings. But sometimes the pang of nostalgia is far too heavy—and we want to return to days when one could sit at a counter, eat some grub, and order a Beachwood brew inside a Beachwood space.

While it’s not the barbecue leanings of the Beachwood of yesterday, their Huntington Beach location is a mighty fine ode to the mighty fine pizza, along with a few other special treats that make it—a bit admittedly—unfortunate this never happened in Long Beach.

Opening Beachwood Brewing’s production facility in Huntington Beach changed it all

Beachwood was and is, by no stretch of the imagination, a small operation—though it began as one when it was a small barbecue joint in Seal Beach, where owners Gabe Gordon and Lena Perelman in their late 20s and wanting to showcase not just barbecue but craft beer. It was an operation that lasted until 2020, nearly 15 years, but also marked the beginning of a distinct shift in Beachwood: A focus on its beer.

First came Beachwood Brewery in DTLB, where ISM Brewing is now presiding in. Then came The Blendery (which reopened with normal hours to much applause). Then the production facility in Huntington Beach. Then the taproom and distillery in Bixby Knolls.

It’s a lot.

“It was simply too much to run two production facilities—one in Long Beach and one in Huntington Beach,” said master brewer and co-owner Julian Shrago. “It just made sense to downsize.”

That production facility in Huntington Beach on Woodwind Drive, which opened in 2016, was and is no joke: Taking over the former Beach City Brewing’s spot, the Beachwood crew basically scored a turnkey brewery while adding some additions, including their high-speed bottling line that can handle 12-ounce and 22-ounce bottles and cans. And it also made Gordon’s life living in Orange County much easier to handle, especially with a growing family.

“I literally live around the corner from the pizzeria,” Gordon said. “The change in the quality of life of not consistently commuting every single day is immense.”

On top of this, they also opened another tap room at the 2nd & PCH retail complex while shuttering their kitchen in DTLB shortly after they had opened the Huntington Beach pizzeria on Warner Avenue in late 2022.

The pizza is where its at—so don’t expect a return to barbecue

“There’s just no way to make up the cost of meats at this point so yeah, can pretty confidently say barbecue isn’t coming back,” Gordon said. “At some point, the business has to make money—and not just an okay amount of money like I was able to do in my twenties. I have a family now and passion for barbecue can only take you so far.”

Gordon goes on to note that it is about what chefs like but using their sensibilities to move a food space forward—and if they don’t, you have to change your sensibility or change your menu. And the number of people who eat pizza regularly compared to barbecue just doesn’t compare.

And that is, in part, what has helped the Huntington Beach location achieve great success: Leaning on pizza master Waldo Stout during its opening days—that the guy who made Little Coyote what it is, has been in kitchens like Bestia and Gjusta, and currently slings pizza at Marlena in Naples—their sourdough pies are light and definitively Beachwood (including multiple beers that perfectly pair with dishes).

Go. And scroll through more pictures below.

Beachwood Pizza & Beer is located at 5205 Warner Ave. in Huntington Beach.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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