Written by Tom Becham
Recently, I went on a local brewery mini-tour, near my home in Ventura County, California. While the places in question were not in Ventura County, proper, they were still very close.
First was Ladyface Alehouse in Agoura. I have written about them before, and am always pleased with their beer. They have achieved enough success that their beer is now bottled and for sale in local beer specialty stores. They specialize in Belgian styles, but also produce the standard range typically found in a brewpub (IPA, Pale, Porter, etc.). The food offered is also excellent.
This latest visit saw no dropoff in the quality of their beer. In fact, they are now producing genuine cask ale for sale on premises. Cask Ale (or Live or Real Ale, according to our British counterparts), is basically a living creature. It contains live yeast, has very little carbonation and must be kept at a very specific temperature, usually quite different from everything else on tap. It requires a lot of fussing and care, and any brewer selling it has to be both very skilled, and extremely confident in their skills. Ladyface is justifiably confident, as their cask Trebuchet (a wine-barrel aged Golden Sour ale) is excellent from go to whoa. Ladyface has also continued to develop their food menu, with delicious items like poutine (not entirely authentic cheese curd, but still excellent) and braised beef cheeks. Their best beer offerings are probably Picture City Porter (made with coffee), and Trois Filles Belgian Tripel.
In short, Ladyface Alehouse is a beer geek and foodie’s dream. If you are in the Ventura County or Northern Los Angeles County area, do yourself a favor and stop by.
Our next stop was Figueroa Mountain. Fig Mountain (as called by locals) has its main production facility far to the north in Buellton, Santa Barbara County. But they have opened another facility in Westlake Village, California. This one, unlike their production brewery, also sells food, including perhaps one of the ten best burgers I have ever had. But they don’t skimp on quality beer, either.
Figueroa Mountain, like so many craft breweries, displays a light-heartedness about their product insofar as the names of beers. But don’t mistake that for a cavalier attitude toward brewing. Their Lizard’s Mouth Double IPA is one of the best made in Southern California, which is saying something. Likewise, despite the lurid names, offerings like Bust a Nut Brown Ale, and I Dunkeled in My Pants Munich dunkel lager not only are true to style, but really raise the standards for their respective styles. In fact, I would say I haven’t had a Munich dunkel as good as I Dunkeled in My Pants that wasn’t made in Germany. Yes, it’s *that* good.
We had a third stop planned for Dude’s Brewing in Thousand Oaks, but couldn’t manage to get to it in the allotted time. But it’s still on the list, and I will let you all know my impresions when I go.
This is Tom Becham. He is a great writer. What, you expected us to say more?