Laguna Beach has long been a destination known for its shorefront shops and restaurants, resort setting, and artist community. South Orange County also has some amazing breweries such as Artifex, Docent, Game Craft, Pizza Port, and a few others. With Laguna Beach Beer Co. getting its bearings down, it can proudly stake its claim on both lists.
LBBC recently acquired a new brewer, and their product seems to be shifting in a different, welcomed direction. Chris Linn, head brewer, was brewing under the direction of Julian Shrago at Beachwood Brewing in Long Beach for three years. When you brew for well-recognized and decorated brewers like him for that long, you’re bound to learn a thing or two. Linn’s new creations at LBBC reflect this, and it will soon shine through on any re-formulations of existing offerings.
The new IPA, Thousand Steps, has a wet herb hop nose with a bright, clean finish. It was impressive. Greeter’s Pale Ale was also fantastic with bright watermelon notes and a stone-fruit flavor at its core. The double IPA, Old Emerald, was dangerously smooth with a pleasant balance of juicy malt and citrusy hops backed by just a hint of alcohol warmth.
To add more credence to the transition, the brewhouse in Rancho Santa Margarita has been upgraded with a 15-barrel system. Linn, a resident of Laguna Beach, is a natural fit for the LBBC culture.
Formerly housing Cismontane, the RSM location houses a small kitchen so you can have some tasty grub to accompany your brew. I highly recommend any of their freshly baked pizzas. If you have not been there since the early Cismontane days, it is virtually unrecognizable. LBBC has a satellite taproom is in Laguna Beach proper, too. Both have outdoor patios to enjoy the sun and happy hour specials.
Here in Orange County, we are proud to be part of a beer brand that keeps flowing with award-winning brews as well as delightful newcomers. Beach cities are what most think of when they hear Orange County. Laguna Beach Beer Co., with this fine-tuning, will help put it all into perspective and keep us grounded.
Brewery, taproom, and kitchen
29851 Aventura, Rancho Santa Margarita
Taproom and kitchen
859 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach
Editor’s note: Charlie Perez is an Advanced Cicerone® who covers the Orange County beer scene for the Booze Blog.