Well, the time has come to finally wrangle this wayward brewery and take it to task under full halogen examination. For those of you who aren’t apprized of the background of this brewery, it has a dicey history of sorts completely unrelated to the actual quality of the beer itself. They had a bottle share fiasco that was met with much derision, Yelp reviews to accompany it, a general circumspect cloud of speculation concerning the clear Macro-esque/Golden Roady sort of goals of this brewery, the oddly huge brewing system with no brewer for a notable period, competition with the Full Pint 8th anniversary event, and a coin purse allegedly financed by marijuana dispensary cash.
All of that shit is before the doors even opened. No one had tasted a drop until last weekend. So let’s set all of that speculative bullshit aside and let’s look at the place and the beer itself. IF YOU CANNOT FORGIVE YOUR PREJUDICES THEN I ASK THAT YOU DO NOT SIT ON MY BEER JURY.
The space is in this leaky industrial area of LA that could lovingly be termed “Gotham District” or “I AM LEGEND zone” or “Triad meeting place.” The space is undeniably beautiful and one of the most polished tasting rooms that SoCal has to offer in terms of rich history, attention to detail, and a massive brewing system placed front and center.
Another item of note is that the fanbase is wildly diverse and there was little in the way of cargo shorts, beer work shirts, crocs, and fedoras. This is not a beer nerd’s haven, this is a spot for normal angelenos with no Fedex accounts and perhaps no Untappd badges. That is refreshing as shit and the energy of the place was great. The event was run smoothly albeit NO TASTERS and every serving was a 16oz plastic cup. I get it, lines are shitty and that would be a crazy amount of glassware, but man many of these beers I simply didnt need a straight up pint, but that’s really an issue with my own self control I suppose.
There’s all kinds of wacky dick tracy shit going on and people at the event seemed interested in having a fun time instead of actively contemplating the middle of the road fermented offerings.
From a beer perspective, there simply isn’t a lot of meat on the bone for DDB purposes. All of the beers are pretty good. I mean if you enjoy every sleepy iteration of a 001 CA Ale strain then, sure, you will like this place. The beers are dialed in without discernible flaw, but while sipping their american barleywine I felt it was unremarkable in medical parlance: I have no remark. In some circles merely avoiding DDB ire would be enough to celebrate, but the wares probably don’t seek to cotton favor with the soulless husks that DDB services. The brewer from Maui Brewing unquestionably knows how to brew simple/soporific beers of this scope and does it well, they hit every benchmark for the type of Golden Road demographic that they undoubtedly are catering towards.
My favorite beer was, fittingly, the least assuming, the most simple/straightforward Iron Triangle ale. a sub-5% abv melange of predictable yeast and two row. Maybe like chinook, but it is was appropriate that a brewery playing to such a wide crowd would make an inoffensive beer that I loved because I could forget about it like my copy of Nintendogs 3DS.
One eerie aspect was this feeling like the whole place was erected merely as a vehicle to be sold faster than a DotCom startup. There was this detached inauthentic execution, like I was being present a procedurally generated bill of goods that was crafted for some corporate purpose. It is a difficult zeigeist to explain. I think this is the best way to explain it:
No sooner did Iron Triangle open their doors than they signed with InBev subsidiary distribution. The public barely had a moment to utter the words “Craft br-” and they were already posturing themselves for an expedited Golden Road cash grab. This is to say nothing of the panache and aplomb of the PR moves.
In sum, sure go have a pint here, or don’t. I don’t really give a shit either way. Chances are if you read DDB this isn’t an issue you were actively contemplating anyway.