American beer is often a pastiche of flavors and ideas brought over from hundreds of years of trial and error from historic European brewers, where stouts, pilsners, and IPA’s were a result of regionality and necessity rather than exploration. Brewers of their time took what was local to them and made the best beer possible. Classic styles were crafted based off of indigenous hops, water profiles, malts, the magic of yeast, and cellar conditions to create the classic beers that are still being cloned to this day.
Then, there’s Long Beach Beer Lab, where owner and brewer Levi Fried’s day to day responsibilities include finding what makes Long Beach’s flavor special.
“I don’t think there’s anything we wouldn’t brew,” says Levi. That’s saying something for a man with a west coast IPA, lager, a white beer made with sourdough yeast, and a satisfying snickers-like pastry stout.
Long Beach Beer Lab is also a bread and fermented food lab, where Levi’s wife Harmony can be seen baking loaves of fresh bread, pretzels, and pizzas in the kitchen.
One of their beers is truly indigenous of Long Beach: Saison Localvore, where regulars to the brewery brought in back-yard harvests to complete the brew. “We need hundreds of pounds to make it work,” notes Levi. “One of the things that makes our brewery unique is we have a freezer…customers brought in guava, grapes, and blood orange…we processed it, froze it, then added it to the beer when it was ready.”
Saison Localvore is incredibly bright and fruity with guava in the forefront, blood orange that composes the beverage’s pink hue, and grapes rounding out the complex brew. Its acidity is wine-like, coming from a gueuze-like blend of three ages of saison, yet it’s effortless and a joy to sip.
Grab a pour while it lasts: Long Beach Beer Lab is at 518 W Willow St, Long Beach; lbbeer.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 this June!