Next up in “Lets Go Visit Los Angeles Breweries Today, O K Fine” (LGVLABTOKF) we swing up the I-5 and travel to the mythical land of Burbank, home to an IKEA hive, the Martial Arts history museum, and Verdugo West Brewing Company. At the outset, some might be confused that this not only has nothing to do with Ryan Sweeney’s Verdugo, but there isn’t a Verdugo east, either.
The brewery is nestled in this forgotten area of abutting downtown Burbank that exists in the cold auspicces of the 5 freeway and the 2001 monolith that is the navy blue harbinger of homogenous consumerism, the IKEA compound. It’s not dicey, it feels more like a game without the resources to spawn NPCs. It is profoundly empty with the exception of the music spilling from the taproom and sheet metal plants and fish suppliers. The brewery itself is immaculate, down to business, with crowlers and bottles to go, knowledgeable servers, and a melange of consumers from locals, to beer nerds, to Toluca Lake dipshits.
The reasons this hit my radar last year were twofold: first, Chris Walowski the old head brewer from Smog City was running the hypothetical brewdeck and second, they came out the gates with a canned 12.5% american barleywine, Bear Temper. I respect that panache and gall to brave beer nerds by embracing a powerful, difficult style, in packaging out the gates. The lineup is decidedly Smogesque in its ironic clean focus, even down to the massive barleywine and the haze offerings. The barleywine is pretty solid and offers great malty structure albeit with the expected two handed wallop of warrior/chinook boil additions attendant to non barrel aged barelywine. I hope to god this is in casks because it would be a beautiful canvas to shoot ropey caramel loads upon.
One thing I have to mention, and I am serious, people believe this brewery is haunted. I am not fucking joking. There’s a news story about how some phantasm shows up and I feel like maybe he meant to lurk incorporeal at Phantom Carriage, or maybe the sheer amount of pornograpy being shot in Burbank has melted the brains of locals but, here we are, fucking brewery ghosts.
Their anniversary saison “Turning One” was dead fucking flat like tepid apple juice, but dont worry bottle conditioned bottles are available to go if that 5oz taster of uninspired floral juice and acidity weren’t enough for you. The quarterly IPA was their best beer and it was just pretty good, perfect body and creamy whip O Bang structure, but the taste itself has this crackle of insubstantial Theraflu and Sunny D. I could drink quite a bit of it, but that’s more of a longevity versus depth praise. They had IPAs both on cask and on nitro which was really rad, a page from the old Julian Schrago playbook and the variety is really cool. Their plum sour was shoulder shrug compelling and everything was unremarkable in the classic sense that I have no remarks. There’s cornhole, there’s pretty solid lagers, you can order burritos into the tasting room. What more do you want? LA has 65 breweries and I am sure this will fall somewhere above the median, but they are like 9 months old, calm your tits.
LGVLABTOKF LA Brewery Rankings, this sneaks in and knocks off the top competitors at present, taking the NUMBER ONE SPOT FORM THE FOUR HERETOFORE SUMMARIZED:
1. Verdugo West Brewing
2. Dry River Brewing
3. Boomtown Brewery
4. Indie Brewing Company
Also the floccboi shirt sale ends tomorrow