Brouwerij West’s Brian Mercer has been making beer commercially since 2010, but it’s 2016 that hallmarks a new chapter in the gypsy brewers book of beer. On Saturday Feb, 27 2016, Brouwerij West celebrated its official grand opening at the port of Los Angeles nestled right next door to Crafted LA in San Pedro. The space is an immense portside warehouse brimming with potential and opportunity. As it stands now, Mercer, business partner David Holop, and brewer Jeremy Czuleger have put together a beautiful space showcasing a spectacular brewhouse.
Brouwerij West’s brewing system is Belgian inspired, which should come as no surprise, given Mercer’s history with the country including the creation of Belgian candy sugar line from home and commercial brewers. The Meura mash filter, which replaces the lautering step in a traditional brewhouse, skyrockets the breweries efficiency percentage into the high 90’s. This sort of setup is utilized by very few breweries stateside, but is a staple in its country of origin. Starting at the hammer mill, grain/grist is pulverized into a fine powder. It’s then transported to the mash tun via an auger where it’s mixed with water and heated into a mash porridge. This thick soup is then piped into the Meura mash filter, which extracts virtually all sugars and moisture. Finally, it’s pumped into the boiler where the normal brew, chil, fermentation process resumes. It’s a marvel!
So Much Space
Epoxied floors, beer hall tables with succulents, an outdoor beer garden, space for food trucks, ample standing room, and lots of parking make Brouwerij West a great destination brewery. Future plans include an in-house restaurant and event space for live music The vibe is relaxed offering plenty of room for groups large and small to carve out their own areas of the brewery. The large L-shaped bar is easily accessible from the front and side so although there was a bit of congestion during the opening event, it’s easy to see how that’ll be mitigated as the staff learns to handle crowd volume.
Brouwerij West Beers
Beer! There were nine brews to choose from at the grand opening – served by the pint. I was able to try four of these and was pretty happy. Spelt Saison, the winner for me, utilized a grain I’m pretty unfamiliar with. It nailed the classic belgian farmhouse character, had a touch of funk, and a nice grass-cracker finish. Super Orange, a dry summery citrus bomb, was perfect for the weather on Saturday. Very juicy. The Tripel, although not bad, wasn’t my favorite. The aroma seemed a bit too fruity/funky. I plan to come back to that one at a later date. I was happy to see Dog Ate My Homework making a triumphant return. I’ve had this one a few times in the bottle and I enjoyed this new version substantially more. The beer bursts with blackberry flavor which is complimented by a berry tannic finish. Its vinousness made it a fun deviation from the other beers on the menu.
For a grand opening, the beers were clean and well thought out. I’m definitely looking forward to trying them all again as they evolve, but hopefully next time in a glass not a plastic cup.
A Great Weekend Trip
Brouwerij West is a unique brewery in a great space. It’s location in San Pedro may make it further down on the travel list of some Angeleno’s but rest assured the drive is worth it. Mercer has been working on this brewery project for a long time through many ups and downs. It’s refreshing to see someone who’s put their time in finally make it – what an accomplishment! There is so much potential for this young brewery; I can’t wait to see where Mercer and team take it.
For mor information about Brouwerij West, visit their website at www.brouwerijwest.com!
Brouwerij West | 110 E. 22nd St., Warehouse No. 9, San Pedro, CA 90731 | (310) 833-9330