Thursday, May 30, 2024

Sour beer lovers rejoice: Beachwood’s Downtown Long Beach brewery The Blendery is (finally) reopening

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For beer lovers—the kind of beer lover that shies from no style as long as it’s made well—Beachwood’s The Blendery was a special beast: An ode to the famed Belgian sours like Cantillon gueuzes and kriek lambics, the Downtown Long Beach barrel aging room was a first of its kind—and it is finally reopening its doors for the first time since March of 2020 come Nov. 7.

“It’s going to be great to have this space open again, keep a presence in Long Beach and still have an amazing place for all of our regulars to be able to come together and enjoy a beer,” said Harrison McCabe, barrelmaster and head blender for The Blendery.

The evolution of Beachwood’s presence in Long Beach

The reopening marks a different experience not just for the customer, who will be able to drink both Blendery and Beachwood brews in a single space. It also marks a definitively different Long Beach experience for all involved—Beachwood founder and co-owner Gabe Gordon, head brewmaster and co-owner Julian Schrago, and McCabe—because it follows the shuttering of their nearby Promenade brewpub (which will be overtaken by former RIIP brewer Ian McCall and his ISM Brewing) while simultaneously uplifting that very lack of presence.

This reopening follows the planned-for-years taproom the crew opened at the 2nd & PCH retail complex as well as their Bixby Knolls location, which is also set to become a partial distillery as well.

“The decision to leave the Promenade space was a strategic one and one in which we were not just going to abandon it as some have insinuated,” Shrago said during a brief discussion about the Promenade location’s closure. “We took our time, connected with Ian, assured that it would basically be seamless—and it has been seamless. We are stoked to hand over the reigns to Ian and, on our end, focus on evolving our presence in Long Beach.”

That especially includes The Blendery.

Shrago’s Great American Beer Fest-winning beers will be side-by-side with The Blendery’s GABF-winning sours—and for those that haven’t scored a sip of their sours, there is a certain magical aura about them: tart, flavorful, forthright in their character, many have tried to mimic the classical style but have failed in perfecting the beer.

And that’s where The Blendery became the reflection of a beer nerd’s dream: Gordon and then-barrelmaster Ryan Fields (who now owns and operates Wild Fields Brewhouse in Paso Robles) created a temperature-controlled barrel room; a room, mind you, that mimics the temperature and humidity of a barrel room in Belgium on the daily.

The result was some of the country’s first and best American “lambics” (like their stellar staple Chaos Is a Friend of Mine) and “geuzes” (like teh award-winning Funk Yeah! brew)—and they’re “American lambics” or “geuze-style” because those entities are actually protected in the European Union, much like bourbon in the States, champagne in France, and prosecco in Italy. The latter are the result of combining young (one-year-old) and older (two- to three-year-old) lambics, the first of which were offered a few years after The Blendery opened its doors in 2014.

“Having both Blendery and Brewing beers here will definitely make sure no one is missing out on anything new and make sure their favorite beer’s are still around,” McCabe said. “Expect some fun experimental Blendery beers to be showing up again too. And I may be biased, but I think this space might be the coolest Beachwood location; this building has tons of character and a inviting vibe that I’ve always loved. We are excited about bringing some updates to the space and what’s possible for us here in the future.”

We can’t wait.

The Blendery is located at 237 Long Beach Blvd. and will reopen Nov. 7 with the following hours: Tuesdays through Thursdays from 3PM to 9PM; and Fridays through Sundays from noon to 9PM.

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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