Monday, April 16, 2012

Beer is better bitter – in search of an IPA

Agoura Road Brewpub Tour
From Calabasas to Agoura Hills, brewpubs are popping up all along Agoura Road. In addition to BJ’s chain brewpub in Thousand Oaks and the tasting room at Wades Wines in Westlake Village there are now three very good brewpubs in the area. They all brew their own beer and have a variety of guest brews on tap. I have only been to each place a few times for lunch or dinner and they all serve an interesting variety of pub fare.

Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing Company in Calabasas
Kyle seems to be tending bar whenever I visit; you’ll know who he is if he calls you “Boss.”  Wolf Creek makes a Midnight Howl Black IPA, but the few times I’ve been there it wasn’t on tap. This is an IPA - Stout combo and it’s brewed at their Santa Clarita location, where all their beers are produced.

Guest taps may include Great Divide Titan IPA, Green Flash West Coast IPA, and Port Brewing Wipeout IPA.  I didn’t see the Titan on tap last time I was there, but the other two were available.  I’ve seen the West Coast IPA from Green Flash on tap at other places like the Mermaid Tavern in Thousand Oaks, so I chose the Wipeout IPA from Port Brewing Company.  I hadn’t had it on tap yet and it was great.  Port’s description is “a massively hopped India Pale Ale.” The Beer Advocate rating is 91 and the ABV is 7.0%.  A pint costs $5.75 at Wolf Creek.
Click here to see beer info.

Ladyface Ale Companie
Alehouse & Brasserie in Agoura Hills

This place always seems busy with people eating and drinking at tables and at the bar. The On Tap board at Ladyface offers a very wide selection of guest beers, types, and formats.

I sampled their SPECIAL EDITION Chesebro IPA (Imperial IPA).  As you’d expect with an Imperial IPA it had a bigger malt flavor than the Port Wipeout IPA that I previously tasted.  This special edition celebrated Batch #200. I’m sure Batch #201 will be very good as well.

The Beer Advocate rating for the Chesebro IPA is 86 and the ABV is 10.6% (wow!).  A pint costs $7.00 at Ladyface.
Click here to see beer info.

The Lab Brewing Company in Agoura Hills
(Micro Brew, Macro Attitude)

According to Foursquare I’ve visited Lab Brewing Company 5 times since December. Sounds about right! Thanks to a birthday gift certificate from Devon we have had dinner there a few times. I have had their Bad Influence IPA and Enegren’s Protector Imperial IPA (100 IBUs) guest brew – both were great!  But they weren’t available on my last visit, so I had the lighter XPA (billed as IPA’s baby brother), only 67 IBUs, but still very nice!

Unfortunately there isn’t a Beer Advocate rating for the Lab’s XPA yet.  The ABV is a respectable 6% and I think a pint costs $6.00.  I didn’t pay for the XPA though – because with your 5th Foursquare visit you get a free beer!  Social media is working here. 

Roger Bott, aka Dr. Hops, is usually around with an interesting sample of something like “After Midnight Moo” (Milk Stout) or an impromptu tour of the brewing equipment. 
Click here to see beer info. 

Considering that Lab is the closest of the three brewpubs to my house, the beer and food are good, and they have live music, I think this is probably my favorite place. Although I’ll have to keep checking back on all of them regularly just to make sure...  Cheers!