If I were to tell you about a gathering of brewers and used the words plunger, balls, bumpers, and beer you would assume they were on some sort of backwoods off-roading cabin adventure. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Turns out, they’re at the brewery tap takeover pinball tournament in downtown Santa Ana’s Mission Control, where four breweries compete on vintage pinball machines to see who has the best set of flipper skills. To add a little spice, they also compete on who sells the most beer during the event.
Now on Mission Control’s third tournament, Unsung Brewing, Karl Strauss, The Bruery/Offshoot/Terreux, and Bottle Logic are squaring off on Presidents’ Day for the chance at a guaranteed tap handle, bragging rights, and to get their name on the coveted classic beer cup trophy. Before tonight’s heated games, two local breweries sit on the cup: Network Brewery out of Tustin and Gunwhale Ales in Costa Mesa. Each winner gets to display the prized trophy in their tasting room until the next tournament (around two months).
Mission Control’s beer list is as well-balanced as the classic arcade games. My only complaint is a low-alcohol 4.5 percent lager costs the same as a big, hyped, hazy IPA, but who knows if keg cost is an issue. Classic arcade-themed cocktails are also a thing, such as their Centipede Sling, complete with gummy worm garnish. Don’t be surprised to see a follow-up visit article checking in on them and also a visit to the Lost Art Bar downstairs handled by beverage director Hannah Leigh, previously of Tribune in Fullerton.
Mission Control is upstairs at McFadden Market at 515 N. Main St., Santa Ana // mcfaddenmarket.com