Love & Craft Beer
The brewing process is an art that can capture the ebb and flow of the seasons; express the whimsy of the brewmaster; communicate the vibrant essence of its natural ingredients. It is, at its core, a love potion.
Whether pale, amber, copper, brown, or even purple haze in color. With wild aromas and flavors ranging from that of bread, to fruit, spice, flowers, citrus, caramel, nuts, and beyond. A well-crafted beer is way more than a simple combination of malt, hops, and yeast – it is a magical elixir.
Savor a glass of creativity and passion in a repurposed once-abandoned old warehouse that is now impossibly hip.
Delight in a one-of-a-kind beverage that for 15 to 20 minutes or so, can make even life taste better. Complex, harmoniously balanced Belgian-inspired craft beers are now produced and on-tap in San Pedro. And this port town celebrating!
Waterfront development and community enhancement projects continue to improve the Port of Los Angeles and surrounding areas.
Last month, over 4,500 San Pedrans and Angelenos from far and wide came out to celebrate the grand opening of Brouwerij West. And while some may have come solely for the beer, a good many came to support Brewmaster Brian Mercer’s vision. That of a neighborhood brewery where mixed-fermentation, highly-nuanced beers are crafted. He is experimenting beyond the standards, pushing the envelope, creating beers that have true personality from their essence to their name.
Support for this local brewery benefits the community and promotes the culture of craft brewing. The outpouring of love, approval, encouragement, and best wishes for super-success of this venture is a model for the locavore movement and illustrates the power of community.
Belgian beers are a captivating lot – they are diverse, nuanced, with layers of expression from playful to serious. By no means an exhaustive list, below I give the novice a brief overview of some of the more popular beer styles.
Belgian blond beers are slightly less strong, less bitter and are commonly consumed in summer. Witbier (white beer) is ultra-refreshing, tart, and light in body with 4.5 to 5.5% ABV (alcohol by volume). Witbier is often flavored with herbs such as coriander, or fruit such as bitter orange peel.
Dubbel (double) are brown ales with a moderate strength, about 6 to 8 % ABV classically made with caramelized beet sugar. Quadruple with 11 to 12% ABV, are stronger than blond, dubbel, or tripel – they are also known as Belgian strong dark ales, with a complexity and plum, raisin, caramel and peppery flavors.
Tripel (triple) are typically made with beet sugar that hasn’t been caramelized, they are a heavy beer with a more golden color with fruity flavors and spice where the recipe includes more grain, sugar, and malt with a result that has a high alcohol percentage, around 7 to 10 % ABV.
From the Belgian northern lands we get saison (season), a refreshing seasonal style that is typically pale, sprightly carbonated, very-dry, with citrus aromas and a peppery yeastiness. Brewmasters around the world have taken a wide latitude to vary the style of this particular beer. They are producing interesting saisons that employ lots of different fruits, spices, or unexpected grains.
A perfectly poured glass is aesthetically pleasing. Not only is what is in the bottle a work of art, the labels themselves are a feast for the eyes. Mercer has given artists free rein to amuse and entertain us, to create a glass bottle art gallery.
Surroundings can impact the tasting experience. Imagine being surrounded by like-minded enthusiasts, in a mysteriously attractive yet rustic warehouse where sea breezes waft through the massive open doors, past shining stainless steel tanks under glimmering string lighting.
Here, beer tasting takes on another dimension, one of magical proportion – making the taster an integral part of the experience.
Be sure to say hi to 4-year-old Great Dane, Cloudy, Brouwerij West’s Canine Ambassador.
Brouwerij West is family friendly where all ages are welcome in the tasting room. Imbibers must be 21. Pets are welcome too. At any given time, there might be 10 or more dogs in the tasting room, on leash of course, as it is a working production brewery where there is machinery, chemicals, and fork lift operations.
Brouwerij West current offerings:
SPELT SAISON – 6% ABV (alcohol by volume)
A saison brewed with German spelt and a mixed fermentation of Lactobacillus, Brettanomyces and our house yeast. Fruity, bubblegum aromas leading to a dry slightly tart finish.
MY FIRST RODEO – 6% ABV
All Brettanomyces saison. Blend of Washington Barley, German Wheat and Belgian Barley. Light, tart, and fruity. Pineapples and grapefruit with a slightly earthy aroma. A dry tart finish.
SOUR ORANGE – 4% ABV
Not a sour beer; rather a beer with sour oranges added. Sort of a Wit bier, sort of a saison, this is a light, tart beer brewed with 100% wheat (55% raw wheat) and a mixed fermentation including Lacto & Brett. We zested & juiced 300 lbs of CA-grown Seville sour oranges and added them during secondary fermentation.
SUPER ORANGE – 5% ABV
We took our Sour Orange Wit and added 100 lbs of Seville sour oranges to 5 barrels of beer. This is not intended to be a balanced fruit beer.
BITTER BLOND – 5% ABV
A hoppy, bitter Belgian blond ale brewed with German Noble and New Zealand citrus hops, making for a fruity, grassy and firmly-bittered profile and our usual dry finish.
DOG ATE MY HOMEWORK – 7% ABV
A fresh, decidedly fruit-forward saison brewed with lots of Washington state blackberry juice. This beer is deep, deep red in color, but rather than being sweet like many fruit beers, it is dry, tart, and refreshing.
TRIPEL – 9% ABV
Our take on the classic Belgian-style strong ale. A touch on the dark gold side. Rich yet dry with a firm bitterness.
MØR MØR – 11% ABV
Our take on the classic Belgian-style quadrupel strong dark ale.
BUCKWHEAT SOUR – 6% ABV
A saison brewed with German spelt and a mixed a sour saison brewed with 55% raw buckwheat and dry-hopped with Wakatu hops; mixed fermentation with lactobacillus, brettanomyces and our house yeast; aged 3 months in stainless
While the brewery does not house a restaurant, they do have a large private event space and are available to host private events and parties. The fabulous food in these photographs was shot at a party catered by Chef Paul Buchanan and his company Primal Alchemy.
There are also uber-popular food trucks and pop-up food tents like the Chori-Man famous chorizo tacos and burritos outside the warehouse. Belgian beer and Mexican food make an unsurprisingly stellar pair, the Chori-Man is there every Sunday.
Ready to try some amazing craft beer? Run to that impossibly hip environment by the sea. The tasting room is currently open Thursdays & Fridays from 4 to 9 pm, and Saturdays from noon to 9 pm & Sundays from noon to 8pm.
The Port of Los Angeles
110 E. 22nd St., Warehouse No. 9
San Pedro, CA 90731