Backstreet. A teen-heartthrob boyband from the mid to late 1990s may be the first thing that comes to mind. Not for me, though. Backstreet Brewery is a cozy and unpretentious brewery that’s kept a low profile. I intend to change that.
BSB is turning 21 the second weekend of November. Yes, 21. Although located in Anaheim since 2015, many may remember BSB as part of Lamppost Pizza in Irvine. Lamppost Pizza on Culver is still slinging tasty pies, but the brewery has since left the building. BSB is still affiliated with Lamppost, providing its house beers.
“I love drinking IPA, but I love brewing English style beers,” brewer Bob Weden said. It makes sense now when they revealed the 21st anniversary beer will be an extra special bitter, an average strength English pub ale. It is a revival of one of the beers BSB used to brew regularly. “It’s going to be fun. I hope you like it,” Weden said.
A must-try beer is Late to the Party IPA. It’s quite tasty with a pleasant bitter bite and soft hop-driven fruit notes. Also, try Safe and Sound Session IPA, which has a wonderful texture on the tongue while providing a refreshingly snappy hop character.
The rustic tasting room is reminiscent of what most breweries were at one point in the past. It’s charming and inviting. “I want people to come in and enjoy themselves at our tasting room,” Tim Barro, head brewer and COO, said when talking about vibe. “Have a good beer and a great time,” he added.
Brittany Costello, tasting room manager and social media and events coordinator, has been working hard to make BSB more attractive. “Many have been saying they haven’t been here in a long time,” Costello told me during a recent visit. The tasting room has a familiar vibe and encourages the fun aspect of the beer culture. “More say they’ve never been here but they feel like they’ve been here before, and I love that,” she explained with a smile.
Costello has also been hard at work creating social events such as speed dating (yes, I said speed dating), game tournaments, bingo, and so much more. All to promote gatherings to not only have some beers but to have a fun activity revolving around it, too. Most are held out on the patio. Check out its social media accounts to view all the entertaining events coming up.
Personally, I love the recently enacted Cigar Social. Weden had the idea, and Costello made it happen. Every third Thursday (or second Thursday, depending on holidays) of the month, many cigar lovers commune on the patio to enjoy a smoke and have a couple of beers. Patrons bring their own sticks and relax with many like-minded folks. You will more than likely find me there hanging with Weden!
Like most other brewers in our wonderful industry, Weden is also a thoughtful human being. I asked who he would love to have a beer with some day. “My grandfather Donald Wright,” he said with a somber voice. “He passed away when I was very young. His ashes were spread on the beach near Siletz Bay in Oregon and whenever I visit, I bring two cans/bottles of something I’ve brewed and just sit on the beach and ‘have’ a beer with him. I always leave a full one behind for him.”
1884 S. Santa Cruz St.,
Editor’s note: Charlie Perez is an Advanced Cicerone® who covers the Orange County beer scene for the Booze Blog.