Golden Road Brewing draws 1,000 to grand opening
Golden Road Brewing opened the hangar-sized doors of its multi-warehouse Atwater Village craft beer campus to the public Sunday afternoon, drawing slightly more than 1,000 people to sample the company's work and taste rare offerings from numerous local brewers. The brewery, spearheaded by Tony Yanow of Tony's Darts Away and Mohawk Bend, isn't wasting any time in penetrating the L.A. market, having built a near-functional operation in just 4½ months.
"This is a different kind of start-up," said co-founder Meg Gill, 26, who came to Golden Road from San Francisco's Speakeasy and started at Colorado's Oskar Blues. "We're not home-brewers-turned-professional. We're professional brewers starting a new project."
Craft beer fans in Los Angeles have been blessed the last two years. More local bars, restaurants and shops than ever are stocking artisanal ales and lagers, with recent notable additions including Yanow's Mohawk Bend in Echo Park and the nearby Sunset Beer Company. Additionally, the likes of Glassell Park's Eagle Rock Brewery and Hangar 24 in Redlands have seen steady growth, adding more brand recognition to a scene that already included Hollywood's Blue Palms Brewhouse, Alhambra's 38° Ale House & Grill and Pasadena's Craftsman Brewing Company, among many others.
Golden Road is aiming big from the start. The brewery intends to have cans of two of its year-round options, Point the Way IPA and its namesake Golden Road Hefeweizen, in stores by the end of November and is currently in the licensing phase for the can's labels. A restaurant, pictured below in its work-in-progress state, should be up and running by the end of the year.
"The taps weren't staged there for the event," Gill said Monday with a laugh. "That's where we are in the opening process. We were hoping to get this built for this event, but it's [time-consuming] working with the city of L.A. on that kind of project. That should open in about a month."
Golden Road unveiled a third beer at its opening party, a higher-alcohol smoked IPA dubbed the Burning Bush. Gill said head brewer Jon Carpenter is in the process of cultivating numerous special-release IPAs using local ingredients. The company's flagship Point the Way IPA comes in with a more session-friendly 5.2%.
"We’re going to have to brew that one again," Gill said of the Burning Bush. "We went through most of that batch yesterday. Our program for IPAs is a rotating, seasonal-type of program. We bring in ingredients and flavors of the season and create a creative IPA. We haven’t formalized every recipe yet, but that’s what we’re working on.
"The point that Jon was trying to make with the Burning Bush was to showcase the complexity and variety of flavors going on," she continued. "It’s smoky and meaty and a mouthful. Then you get a taste like an imperial IPA that’s very drinkable on the finish."
Other special-release beers the company is working on weren't quite ready for an unveiling Sunday. Golden Road currently has two potential Hefeweizens aging in tequila barrels that Gill and Carpenter purchased in Mexico. One was infused with agave and one is resting with Mexican-spiced honey. When asked Sunday how he expects them to taste, Carpenter admitted he isn't quite sure.
"Each barrel we'll play around with different ingredients," Gill said. "We would have stuck with California spirits only, but Jon and I were so into the idea of tequila barrels that we had to go just outside of California for those."
Gill, who struggled to speak late Monday afternoon after having lost her voice at the opening festivities, said the Sunday party was largely meant as a thank-you to the local beer industry. The next major festivity on the books for Golden Road is a Dec. 3 ColLAboration event. The latter is a roving pop-up craft beer garden Yanow started with fellow craft beer bar owners Ryan Sweeney (Verdugo Bar, the Surly Goat), Brian Lenzo (Blue Palms Brewhouse) and Clay Harding (38° Ale House & Grill).
"There are a lot of reasons we built a brewery in under five months, but one of the key ways we were able to get it done was just from the research and knowledge of other brewers," Gill said. "We brought those brewers here and had their beers poured here. We’re very fortunate to have such good friends in this industry."
-- Todd Martens
Photo credits: Todd Martens