I’ve been to the LAB Brewing Company (which stands for Live Art Brewing – beer, food, music and art) many, many times with the EBC crew, but never had a chance to take pictures (mainly because we’d go for dinner and drinks after EBC closed). When I received an invite from Alan and Roger the brewmaster for a personal tour and beer tasting (during DAYLIGHT hours), I agreed immediately.
The LAB Brewing Company opened in Agoura Hills November 1st of last year.
The bar area of the LAB looks directly into the brewery which is encased behind glass doors, allowing patrons to watch the brewing process as they sip the outcome.
The beer selection here is incredible! Thirty-two taps, heavy on the IPAs (yay!), and rounded out with nothing but craft beer.
The main dining room features a stage where musicians and deejays play on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
The covered patio is quaint and cozy, with a fireplace in the corner and heaters placed throughout to keep the Californians warm when the temperature dips below seventy degrees on a winter’s eve.
Now to the important stuff – beer and foods! I grabbed a sampler of all the beers they make – Bad Influence IPA, Take Her Home Tripel, Cold Fusion Java, Big Ass Red and LAB XPA. Bad Influence IPA was my favorite of their available beers – a zesty citrus and floral aroma with an extreme bite (93 IBUs and 7.5% ABV). HOWEVER, I was given a sneak preview of the After Midnight Moo Milk Stout straight from the fermentor and fell head over heels! Hints of sweetness, smooth and creamy – I believe they said it was going on the nitro tap? I should probably go back and check, just to make sure, right?
Alan, Roger and I split an order of the house fries with bleu cheese and garlic. These shoestring fries came out sizzling hot, with potent bleu cheese melting into every crevice. They were perfectly crispy with a light dusting of fresh garlic that melded harmoniously with the cheese.
The polenta came out next – crispy on the outside, delicate and moist on the inside, and drizzled with fresh pesto and marinara sauce. I’m not well-versed on polenta, but from what I tasted, this one’s a winner! If you want more, I consider that a good thing. I wanted more.
BACON IN A CUP!!! This was actually a little disappointing – candied bacon. There was barely a hint of sugar to any of the bacon strips, and it needed to be baked a little longer to crisp up. Didn’t matter though – it was still bacon, therefore I still ate it.
After feasting, I got a tour of the brewery. It’s incredibly tight quarters, especially considering that these are 15 barrel tanks, but they’ve made great use of the small space provided.
Three of the fermentation tanks are out in full view in the center of the dining room, while the milk stout was relaxing in this one in the middle of the brewery.
These fermentors lead straight to the taps, delivering the freshest beer possible.
There are murals across the entire restaurant – this is an artist’s rendition of Roger Bott, the brewmaster. Let’s compare, shall we?
THE RESEMBLANCE IS UNCANNY!!! Time to go blonde, Roger?
I think a separate post detailing the epicness that is the LAB burger will be coming up shortly… I’m feeling hungry again…
The LAB Brewing Company
30105 Agoura Road
Agoura Hills, CA 91301
Open 7 days a week, 11am-close
Since I’ll be gone for my dad’s birthday this weekend, I wanted to make it up to him a little bit early. Wades Wines in Agoura Hills was having a dark beer tasting – his favorite, and since I just happen to like beer myself, it was a win-win situation.
Wades recently underwent a complete overhaul of the store design in order to make room for their incredible new tasting room. They have 32 beer taps and 32 wine taps. We got there early and the bar was packed, but there were plenty of tables open.
Their decor is beautiful! They have old wine-making antiques lining the higher shelves.
Huge aging barrels rest upon the support beams overhead.
There are mirrors behind the bar, making the room feel twice as big.
They offer 4 tasters for just $5!
First was the Sierra Nevada Dark Lager. It was surprisingly light and had a lot of hops on the nose. It ends with a slight bite of hops at the end as well. If you’re looking for a good summer beer but only like dark beers, I’d recommend this baby.
My mom got the Mikkeller Saison – perfect for those who like wine. The aroma is full of tangy citrus and banana, and it goes down easy. I didn’t detect hardly any hop aroma or flavor in this – a great beer for beginners.
Up next was Firestone Velvet Merlin. This was pretty heavy on the coffee aroma, and had a rich, chocolate essence. I wouldn’t call it “velvet” since it’s pretty carbonated. I think I was expecting a smooth nitro-pushed beer. False advertising! I enjoyed this one a little more than the Sierra Nevada – it was a little fuller bodied and richer in flavor.
Iron Fist Velvet Glove. This is a VERY rich, heavy beer. Here’s the velvet I was looking for! The aroma is extremely sweet and boozy. I don’t like super malty, sweet beers as much, but the warmth of the alcohol at the end balances it out.
A fly plummeted directly into the glass – the sign of a sweet beer. I saved its life and it stumbled around the napkin, completely drunk. I enjoyed the extra protein and finished most of the beer, but couldn’t finish thanks to the super maltiness of this beer. My dad appreciated my selfless gesture of donating the leftovers to him. It was his favorite one.
Last was the Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout. I’ve been wanting to try this one for quite awhile, so I was happy to see it on the list. I am, however, glad that I didn’t buy the entire bottle. There was no cappuccino essence to this at all. I think my palate may have been compromised by the Iron Fist beforehand – if I try this one again, it’ll be all on its own. There wasn’t really anything super memorable about this beer. I liked it, but I tend to like most craft beers…
After the tasting, we were so close to Ladyface, we just couldn’t resist. They just got their new Chaparral Saison on tap (I’d tried it previously straight out of the fermenter at the second meeting of Ladies at Ladyface). De-freakin-licious. It was served at a slightly chilled temperature, with those lovely tangy wild yeast aromas dancing around the rim of the glass. Happy sigh. My dad got the Bruery Cuir Anniversary Ale, which clocks in at 14.5% ABV, hence the teeny glass.
I stuck with my favorite Ladyface ale – the Chesebro IPA.
My mom ordered the mussels in a chili-garlic sauce. I’ve never tried mussels in my life. I’m not a big fan of clams – fried, chowder, none of it.
I tried to keep an open mind…
Yeah, mussels are not for me. The texture freaks me out! I spent the next five minutes shuddering and sipping my hoppy beer trying to drown out the memory.
Luckily I also had grilled caper salmon with fingerling potatoes and asparagus to help as well.
And dessert! Oh, heavens, the desserts! The Chocolate Porter Cake is to die for! I’ve transitioned from the bread pudding to this slice of joy.
The true star of the meal though? The Orange Crème Brûlée , paired perfectly with the Derailleur. Each bite hits your tongue with a smooth, silky hint of sweetness, kissed with slightly tangy orange, topped off with the delicate crunch of burnt sugar. If, no WHEN, you order this, be sure to get the Derailleur with it! It will blow your mind!
I wish every Thursday night could be as delicious. Happy early birthday, dad!!!
This post is part of a new series I’m doing called “Breaking the Chain”. Check out previous broken chains like White Elephant, Rúla Búla and Park View Cafe.
I was out on a drive with the family on Saturday, and we stumbled across a hidden gem!
We found this rustic little place that looks like a dive bar in the middle of the Santa Monica mountains, and decided to give it a try. The Old Place Cornell – I love that name!
This place used to be “Hank’s Country Store” – the grocery store for the locals, and was also the post office from 1884-1904. It’s like walking into a piece of history. It even smells like history! Delicious history.
There are about five booths in the restaurant, and a long bar. That’s it. No tables except for outside. If you come here during peak hours on the weekends, you can expect to wait for one of the few seats to open up. I personally love how quaint and cozy this place is.
Their menu is relatively small compared to any other restaurant. It makes decisions SO much easier!
My parents started off with coffee. It was served in little tin cups, and smelled like heaven! The aroma was earthy and rich, and taunted me and my coffee-free self.
We started off with the gooey cinnamon rolls, baked in an iron skillet. There was an awful lot of stabbing with the forks in order to get the last piece. If you think you’ve had a good cinnamon roll, I’m here to tell you that you haven’t. THIS is THE BEST cinnamon roll out there! Normally, you suffer through the stale, dry edges in order to get to the soft, gooey center, but even the caramelized edges on this are soft and luscious and so-good-you-can’t-stop-describing-them-and-lose-your-readers’-interest.
I ordered the goat cheese, sundried tomato and spinach frittata. This iron-clad frittata had a rosemary potato crust in the bottom, and was stuffed with generous crumbles of goat cheese! They served fresh sourdough bread coated with butter on the side. I was full after the cinnamon rolls, but I still found a way to eat a portion of this and a thick slice of sourdough.
We waddled out front and checked out the surrounding area, and went into the newer building next door.
Cornell Winery & Tasting Room.
It’s a beautiful building stuffed to the gills with art, furniture and California wines. We didn’t stay too long. We wanted to reminisce on the wonderful brunch we’d just devoured while driving through the mountains and up the coast.
I’m still dreaming of those cinnamon rolls…