Innovation is what separates a good craft beer from a great craft beer. While only open for about a month, Long Beach Beer Lab is already among the most innovative breweries in town. It not only brews some stimulating suds, but it also bakes sourdough breads and pizza that you must try—it’s all about the yeast!
The owners of Long Beach Beer Lab are a husband-and-wife team. Levi Fried started home brewing in 2008 while earning his medical degree, and his wife, Harmony Sage, was a pastry chef for the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta. Located in the Wrigley neighborhood, the kid- and pet-friendly taproom is a comfortable space with plenty of tables and additional seating in a loft upstairs. But there are no televisions, so bring your A game. There are about seven guest beers on draft and four house beers ready to go.
Among the options is Rustic Wit, a 4.8 percent ABV Belgian wit that is refreshing, full of flavor and finishes with a nice tanginess. LB 4 LB 2.0 is a 7.4 percent ABV hazy IPA that was made in collaboration with Laguna Beach Brewing. Brewed with Citra, Mosaic and Idaho 7 hops, it packs a hoppy punch but finishes with a fruity bang! There She Gose (4.3 percent ABV) is a sour ale brewed with Calamansi limes and Himalayan salt. Calamansi limes are a cross between a lemon, a tangerine and a kumquat; it’s orange, and you can eat the peel. It’s the perfect fruit for this innovative gose, which is slightly sour, slightly sweet and very enjoyable with just a touch of salt.
Fried and Sage are just getting started. I hope to see more of Fried’s mastery with bacteria on the menu! Look for more innovation down the road—and don’t forget to take home a loaf.
Long Beach Beer Lab, 518 W. Willow, Long Beach, (562) 270-3253; www.lbbeer.com.