In today’s installment of LGVLABTOKF we venture to Torrance to Strand Brewing, the oldest brewery in Torrance, if you don’t care about Red Car Brewing. I don’t know shit about Red Car but they are one of the 85 breweries in LA so I guess I will end up there eventually.
Strand is the O’est of G’ees in the LA beer scene which as of 2009 when Strand opened, was complete dogshit. When I used to trade beer in 2011 I would always try to send “local” extras and invariably it meant like Strand, or Hangar 24, or like Eagle Rock Brewing. So it has a “historical” pedigree from the first Obama administration.
Allow me to disabuse you of the notion that this is some beachy STRAND sandy no bad vibes type of place: this is industrial park to the fullest. It’s a massive 30,000 airplane hangar of a space in central Torrance adjacent to the Chevron refinery. Their beers are just, okay. I mean that in a sort of Brendan Frazier script wherein things have remained suspended for years without change or adaptation: Encino Beer, Ales from the Past, etc. It’s malty crystal driven IPAs and hoppy beers galore with C-hops. That’s it. Nothing barrel aged or remotely interesting. If you were a realtor punching up the copy and appeal of this brewery you would call it a “historical” offering of “charming” beers. To be clear: this is fine. It’s fine to be in Bevmo. It’s acceptable to be in the solid middle ranks. Not every brewery can be blowing people’s tits off with rare casked barleywines and coolshipped beers.
I got three hoppy beers, which I could identify as Forty Eight, Simcoe Summer and White Sand, but they all basically tasted pretty similar so what’s even the point. They look the same, they are served in pint glasses as 5oz pours, for whatever reason. The other item I got was ORANGE DAZZLER or some shit, it was like a 3% radler that tasted like if you poured emergenC into ginger ale and wasn’t very enjoyable at all.
The tasting room is MASSIVE and I am sure the locals enjoy it but the DDB audience has little utility for such a place. They have shuffle board and picnic tables and seemingly WAYYYYY more space than is needed and a comparatively sparse draft list. The one thing I will say that is BAD ASS is that they straight up offer pitchers. At a brewery. That is not fucking around in the least, so they have that going for them. This place is whatever, the fuck do you want me to say. I am just tryna hit my wordcount so I can sell this piece to Thrillist for 22 cents a word. Done.
So where do they rank in the LGVLABTOKF hierarchy?
1. Verdugo West Brewing
2. Dry River Brewing
3. Strand Brewing
4. Boomtown Brewery
5. Brewyard Beer Company
6. Indie Brewing Company
The mission continues, I am told I have a mere 78 more Los Angeles breweries to go.