On Sunday, a few lucky souls arrived at the new Tender Greens location on Sunset and Vine, heading straight for the heated garden patio out back. There they found Rich Marcello, the gregarious, indefatigable co-owner of Strand Brewing Company, standing in a corner beside a red bougainvillea, pouring draughts of his beloved 24th Street Pale Ale into clear plastic cups. In the other corner, Marcello’s culinary counterpart for the afternoon, Tender Greens chef Eric Hulme, presided over a scene that resembled a miniature funeral pyre gone awry: a lightweight wooden box supporting several pounds of bright, fiery coals, while a recently decapitated goat roasted silently inside.
But unless you were a satyr, or a bleeding heart vegan, the scene was anything but a nightmare. It was the celebratory kick-off to a series of outdoor beer garden events slated to take place at the new Tender Greens Hollywood location on the last Sunday of the coming warm months. The events will officially start on Easter Sunday (April 24), and culminate on September 25. Last Sunday’s gathering for friends and family featured a La Caja China whole-roasted goat, grilled white sea bass, an array of vegetarian side dishes, a selection of tasty desserts and all the craft beer you could drink (including a few bottles of Chef Hulme’s home brewed “Dirty Blonde Ale”). The subsequent events will follow a similar program, but with an entirely new menu, a different brewer, a different whole roast animal, a new fish, all-local vegetarian side dishes that will reflect the changing harvest, a rotating selection of desserts, and a different home brew by chef Hulme.
Hulme will be on hand to roast another animal for the Easter festivities — this time a whole lamb — and Tustin Brewery’s Jon Porter will take over Marcello’s position, pouring draughts of his Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal Award-winning American Blonde Ale. A second Tustin selection will also be available to pair with the sacrificial meal. And seeing as it’s an all-you-can-drink craft beer buffet, this might be one of the better holiday gatherings you’ll attend this year.