Spring Street Smokehouse, located in the heart of Chinatown, is one of Los Angeles’s premier BBQ locations. In addition to smoking meats on site and serving up a variety of rich southern inspired side dishes, the Smokehouse supports a robust beer selection with dozens of bottles and a variety of local craft beer on tap.
To kick off 2012, Jason, the new manager, has breathed new life into an old tradition. Previously, Spring Street Smokehouse hosted beer events, inviting brewers to come into the restaurant, share their beer, and talk to patrons as they dined. It was a loosely organized, informal event that I often enjoyed. Jason has taken this idea and transformed it into a formal beer pairing dinner where the dishes not only compliment the beers but are often made with them.
The appetizer course included a Lagunitas Pils and homemade Cracklin’s (pork rinds!). A delicious, easy drinking and eating combo. It is the beer geek and foodie’s answer to a Budweiser and potato chips. The Cracklin’s were incredibly fresh and crispy with an intense savory flavor that was balanced by the dry, bitterness of the Pils.
Following the first course was a beautifully presented roasted shrimp on a corn/grit cake. The shrimp was cooked to absolute perfection and would not have been out of place at any high end restaurant in the city. Paired with A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ ale, a sweet, boozy, pale wheat beer (although more deep copper in color when the light hits it right), this course was a crowd pleaser and was remembered fondly for the rest of the night.
The main course was a massive backyard family style celebration of burnt ends, ribs, fries, roasted veggies, and coleslaw. Anchoring all this food were two Lagunitas beers: Hop Stoopid and Wilco Tango Foxtrot (WTF), an imperial IPA and American Strong Ale, respectively. Can’t say much that hasn’t already been echoed in the previous courses, these dishes are Smokehouse’s bread and butter. Executed to a level I can only imagine must match the finest smokehouses in Texas. Hop Stoopid is one of my favorite double IPAs, a must try for hop heads out there. It cut nicely through all the incredibly rich foods to refresh and cleanse the palate.
The evening closed with an Imperial Stout vanilla ice cream float. This was one of the better beer floats I’ve had. The Lagunitas Imperial Stout was the quintessential ice cream partner–thick, syrupy, chocolaty, coffee-y, and roasty. The hops would make themselves known occasionally (too hoppy is my biggest problem with most beer floats) but stayed thankfully in the background.
This was a fantastic beer dinner and something I’m very excited to see in downtown. Cheers to Jason from Spring Street Smokehouse and Sam from Lagunitas for making this a fun, memorable event and a great start to 2012. Here’s to many more!
– John R.
Co-Founder:Los Angeles Ale Works™
Specialist Beer Judge