The South Bay is quickly becoming a Los Angeles craft brewing hot spot. Looking to make a splash, newcomer Abigaile Restaurant is both fresh and familiar – formally The Union Cattle Company, a long time Hermosa Beach establishment, the venue has been completely renovated with an emphasis on craft beer.
At the heart of Abilgaile’s is the brewery. The brewhouse is a Specific Mechanical system from 1999 that includes a 15 BBL direct fire boil kettle with two 15 BBL and one 30 BBL fermentor(s) and several large brite tanks. The set up is traditional for a brewpub with a bit more focus on brite tank space than fermentor space. Abigaile’s is not selling beer off-premises yet but hope to soon, possibly as early as winter/spring 2013.
The brew house is crammed into one of the tightest brewing spaces I’ve ever seen. Not by choice but by necessity as space is a precious commodity in the South Bay. The man making it all work is brewmaster Brian Brewer. Brian was brought on earlier this year to re-energize the brewhouse that, under previous supervision, had been making beer that would have gone largely unnoticed in the LA craft beer scene. As I was lead through the maze of brewhouse tanks and piping I was impressed with the extensive cleaning, repairs, and replacement work that Brain had put into the system. It’s obvious he’s been wearing many hats besides brewer, as many of the projects require extensive hands on work. Engaged on a level that I haven’t regularly witnessed, he had taken complete ownership of the brewery and made sure everything was up to his high standards before brewing began.
Brian’s brewing career stated in his parent’s kitchen when he started homebrewing at the age of 17. From there he has an impressive resume that includes Riverside Brewing Company, the UC Davis Brewer’s Program (passing the Institute of Brewing and Distilling exam), and most recently two years at Stone Brewing in Escondido.
He has brought a healthy does of brewing creativity along with traditional brewing techniques to make some very tasty brews. The current flagship is an Orange Blossom Blonde ale that is extremely balanced, light, and refreshing. It’s a lower alcohol beer (5%) that highlights Brian’s brewing experience; delicate and flavorful, it can be appreciated by craft beer aficionados and casual drinkers alike.
Take some time to stop by Abigaile and enjoy the fruits of Brian’s hard labor. Abigaile is a craft brewery on the rise!