As you drive down Newport Boulevard toward the historic cannery district on Balboa Penninsula, nothing beats rolling down the windows, inhaling the salty sea air and cranking up the stereo. At the light next to Helmsman Ale House, I yelled, “Long live BrewCo!”—referring to the Manhattan Beach craft-beer hall. The women in the car next to me burst into laughter. God, I love Newport.
OC’s newest brewpub is led by the LoungeGroup, famous for Wild Goose Tavern, Stag Bar, the Country Club and other beachy-drink spots around the county. Helmsman Ale House is the group’s first foray into beer production, and I didn’t moisten my pants until I heard who was taking over the brewing operations: Dylan Mobley, previously of Stone and Angel City and probably most famous for his time crafting award-winning, barrel-aged ales and lagers at Bottle Logic.
The full-service, family-friendly restaurant and brewery moved into the space once occupied by the Newport Beach Brewing Co. Helmsman will feature a 15-barrel brewhouse, capable of producing more than 12 small-batch beers at a time; four fermentation tanks; five 15-barrel and three five-barrel brite tanks; and eight serving tanks pouring directly to tap. It sounds like quite the upgrade!
“I looked at it as a challenge, but also a unique and fun opportunity,” Mobley says. Among the beers that will be on tap when it opens this month is the flagship Newport Beach Blonde, but he mentioned experimenting with Hazy IPAs, Mexican lagers, Berliner Weiss, dessert stouts and more. “As the brand grows, we may also play with some barrel aging.”
Helmsman Ale House, 2920 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach, (949) 220-9977; helmsmanalehouse.com.
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, level 1 WSET in Wine, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest happening on June 29th in Anaheim!