Travel & Food

Inside the mind of Mohawk’s beer bender, Paige Reilly

Inside-the-mind-of-Mohawk's-beer-bender,-Paige-Reilly

Once a month, Paige Reilly climbs into her station wagon and circuits Southern California, collecting kegs from small-batch brewers, and delivering them to Tony’s Darts Away, the all-California craft beer bar she manages in Burbank. The adventurous beer advocate plans to continue her monthly circuit when owner Tony Yanow’s latest venture, Mohawk Bend, opens in Echo Park next month (Reilly will manage both locations). But when that time rolls around, her trusty station wagon will give way to a U-Haul truck, because Mohawk Bend will boast 72 taps — twice as many as Tony’s Darts Away.

Inside-the-mind-of-Mohawk's-beer-bender,-Paige-Reilly

Last year, Yanow, a thirty-something Canadian yo-yo champion, Deadhead, environmentalist and entrepreneur, took Reilly on a two-week craft beer odyssey up and down the California coast in his all-electric Tesla Roadster. The breweries they visited formed the backbone of the tap lists for both of Yanow’s bars. Reilly continues to build upon the knowledge she gathered throughout the journey, phoning contacts and scouring the Internet for the latest news on California’s ever-growing craft beer scene.

One of her recent discoveries is Mother Earth Brew Company – a tiny operation located three miles north of Vista’s Green Flash Brewing Company, and forty miles north of Downtown San Diego. Mother Earth is one of those fledgling craft breweries that doesn’t produce enough beer for regular distribution, yet their brews have already found their way onto Tony’s tap list at Darts Away — and soon will be sipped at Mohawk Bend — thanks to Reilly’s detective work and monthly road trips.

In less than a year, Tony’s Darts Away has developed a reputation as the place to find beers from budding and little-known California breweries that aren’t available anywhere else. And they intend to carry that tradition to Mohawk Bend, “continually debuting new breweries” just as an art gallery debuts new artists (Mohawk Bend will also showcase the work of local artists, and serve as a venue for local musicians). In that way, Reilly thinks of herself more as a curator than general manager — a term that makes her cringe.

But not all 72 taps at Mohawk Bend will be devoted to new brews. Reilly says the 10,000 square foot space will host 30 permanent taps and 40 rotating taps (the other two will be casks). So those who lust after new brews can drink their fill, while those who crave familiarity can find that, too. Reilly thinks 70 rotating taps would prove overwhelming to the average consumer, and create a logistical nightmare for herself. 40 rotating taps will be much more manageable.

But beer, art, and music aren’t the only things in store for Mohawk Bend. Reilly promises an “incredible farm to table dining experience,” with a hyper-seasonal menu that will be “60% vegan, 80% vegetarian, and 100% delicious”. The bar will also include an array of Californian spirits, and a cocktail menu as dynamic as the dinner menu. Mohawk Bend will thus share much of the same philosophical underpinnings as its predecessor, but on a grander scale, and with the Burbank bar’s cozy retro basement appeal translated to Echo Park’s postindustrial chic.

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