Gabe Gordon’s Beachwood BBQ in Old Town Seal Beach has only been around for four years, yet it seems old school when compared with the latest wave of craft beer bars now sweeping the L.A.-area. But while the new kids on the block vie for bigger tap lists and better access to trending brews, they lack Gordon’s extensive library of vintage kegs — a collection he’s been amassing since 2007. And even if they had it, they might not be as generous with it.
Earlier this week, I sat down with Gordon to discuss his plans for expansion, and found myself presented with a flight of the last four years of Deschutes Brewing Company’s the Abyss Reserve — a rare opportunity that many beer aficionados would pay top dollar for. But Gordon only charges $9.
With such devotion to collecting and sharing finely crafted brews, you might think Gordon was a beer connoisseur first, and a food fanatic second. But Gordon, a classically trained chef, approaches the two as equals. And the formula is paying off. This summer, he plans to open a second Beachwood BBQ at 210 E 3rd Street in Downtown Long Beach, a short walk from the Blue Line, and about six miles from the Seal Beach location. For now, he’s keeping the menu and concept the same, but with two major enhancements: the new location will have over 5,000 square feet of interior space (not including a large outdoor seating area), and a brewery of its own.
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach will boast a ten barrel system with ninety barrels of fermentation space. Julian Shrago, one the most celebrated homebrewers in Southern California, will head the brewing operation. His Tovarish Imperial Espresso Stout was featured at the Solana Beach Pizza Port, and won several awards, including First Place at the 2010 Southern California Homebrewers Festival at Ventura’s Lake Casitas. Gordon says he plans to give Shrago free reign over the brewing process, allowing him to brew what he wants, how he wants.
Twelve of the taps at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing will be devoted to Shrago’s “hop-forward” brews, with another twenty-four dedicated to a steady rotation of guest beers, including more vintage brews from Gordon’s overflowing cellar.
But that’s not all Gordon plans to carry over from the original Beachwood BBQ. He’ll install his signature Hop Cam at the new location as well, allowing patrons to see the tap list from a live video feed broadcast over the Internet. He’ll also install a new and improved version of his proprietary draught system. Where your typical bar has a draught system that keeps all its taps at one uniform temperature, Gordon has developed a system that allows him to serve different beers at different temperatures. So an IPA can be served between 41 and 43 degrees, while a Porter can be served at 55. Gordon will use four different gas blends, two walk-in refrigerators, a long draw system, and a glycol warming system to achieve the proper temperature and Co2 content in each pour.
“It’ll be awesome,” he said with boyish glee. “I can’t wait.”