If you were to have said the words "tasting room" a decade or two back, most people would have immediately thought you were referring to wine, which was no erroneous leap on the listeners' parts. California was flush with counters lined with stemmed glasses, and almost no counters devoted to craft beer.
But oh, how far breweries have foamed in recent years. True, innovative brewers were making bespoke-y beers years ago, but the recent rise-and-rise of the calling, here and everywhere else, has led to a lusty lot of powerhouse, fancy-made brews.
LA's own Golden Road has been one of the leaders of this hops-flavored hop forward for craft beer makers, and it has done so by providing quality brews with a local bent (so local that some of its special releases specifically raise money for regional causes, like Heal the Bay).
That concept of "local" is going a bit wider as of Saturday, Nov. 14 when the company, which has its HQ on San Fernando Road in Glendale, makes its first sudsy stand in Orange County. A new tasting room is debuting in Anaheim, and, with it, a party befitting an opening day.
Translation? The first 200 people to stop by score a free taco from SoHo Tacos. Wait. Do delicious tacos and solidly made beer go well together? That sounds like it might be tasty. Someone should look into that.
The new tasting room is right across from Angels Stadium and "marks the beginning phase of the company's first major expansion project outside of its hometown," says a Golden Road representative. A future brewery and pub is still to come at the location, a location headed up by brewmaster Victor Novak, a libation specialist who spent several years at TAPS Fish House & Brewery in Brea.
Call Mr. Novak's OC return a hops-nice homecoming, in short.
And dub the notion of the tasting room as much wider than wine. While wine-oriented tasting rooms around California still dominate the concept, seeing some pint glasses behind the counter, and a few taps, is becoming a more common sight.
Another common sight, in years to come, will be Golden Road's label in lands further away from its Glendale headquarters. Could Golden Road soon be one of the Golden State's symbolic beers, with outposts in several parts of the state?