Ladyface & L.A. Beer Week

In the last issue I touched on some highlights of June’s L.A. Beer Week events. One of those was #DrinkLocal #LABeer Foodie, the local brewery and food pairing at Ladyface Alehouse in Agoura Hills. Representatives from each of the breweries were in attendance that evening to speak about each beer with each course.

Distinct ingredients came together in Chef Justin Clarke’s first course, an octopus salad with Israeli couscous and strawberry-basil vinaigrette. Fresh sea fennel provided an enhanced level of aromatics, crispness and spice. Eagle Rock Brewery’s Milo Oatmeal Pale Ale, with its prominent hop profile, brightened these flavors. While not on the pairing menu that evening, La Grisette, a Ladyface Belgian farmhouse-style wheat ale, also proved to be a complementary accompaniment.

Folks being served the mushroom terrine may have thought it was a meat pate if it wasn’t announced. Chef Justin shared that he loves making meat pates and mousses. In working to creating something similar for his vegetarian clientele he created a mushroom terrine utilizing select mushrooms, just a bit of onion and Ladyface Blind Ambition, its Belgian Abbey dubbel-stye ale. The ingredients melded well to provide a complex profile without becoming overpowered by seasoning. Unity IPA, this year’s L.A. County Brewers Guild LABW collaboration, was the beer paired. This year’s Unity brew “A Beer to Unite Us All!” was hosted by El Segundo Brewing Company. Over 40 breweries were represented in brewing this year’s beer. Staying true to El Segundo’s hoppy tendencies, the recipe was for a West Coast IPA that combined West Coast hops with complementing California-grown citrus and balancing malt.

Kiss melons combined in Justin’s gazpacho creation, providing more sweetness than other less flavorful varieties. The dish finished with some heat thanks to an addition of Fresno chiles.

Lucky Luke Brewing Co’s Palmdale Billie Gose with Melon provided a tart salinity with cantaloupe hints that joined with the elements in the gazpacho and provided a cleansing finish.

Bison toast with a “beer-naise” was up next. For Justin’s craft beer take on bearnaise, Ladyface Brett-Blossom, a brett-ed bier de mars-style beer, was combined with tarragon and a hollandaise base. The shallot spread on the toast was topped with bison braised in the house King Lear Old English-style ale and topped with heirloom tomatoes. Cellador Ales North Hills Good Centennial, a wine barrel fermented saison dry-hopped with Centennial hops was paired. The aged complexity of the saison married well with the heartiness of the bison.

A savory crepe served with King Lear Ale also packed a bit of heat thanks to Fresno chiles. Castelvetrano green olives and shaved Ricotta Salata elevated the savory elements. The maltiness in the old ale and the house porter gastrique topping provided a dash of hearty sweetness.

For dessert, spoon bread with raspberry & chocolate was accompanied by Simmzy’s Porter, from Simmzy’s Burbank. It was well-executed, moist and not overly sweet. The chocolate sauce made with the house porter provided a satisfying extra touch. The light roast in the pairing porter provided an additional attribute.

You don’t have to wait until next year to enjoy a pairing experience at Ladyface. Chef Justin’s small plates, large plates, sandwiches, salads and burgers easily pair with a selection of Ladyface crafted beers, available in taster size.

29281 Agoura Rd., Agoura Hills


Del Mar’s New Viewpoint

Alongside the San Dieguito Lagoon, just south of Del Mar Racetrack and Fairgrounds, an old warehouse has been converted to become the new Viewpoint Brewing Company. Charles Koll has brought his vision to life via the contributions and teamwork of executive chef Gunnar Plantar and head brewer Moe Katomski. All three have roots in the culinary arena. Koll and Plantar met while both were working at Mille Fleurs in Ranch Santa Fe. Koll and Katomski previously homebrewed together prior to Moe commencing his brewing career at Bear Roots Brewing Co in Vista.

The open, comfortable and inviting finished industrial presentation provides an indoor/outdoor feel, with roll-up doors that open onto the patio deck with the lagoon and views beyond. The light wood and iron appointments in the furnishings provide communal spaces to enjoy a variety of dishes from the compelling menu, house-brewed beers and a selection of guest taps.

Five house beers were flowing at the pre-opening reception this reporter attended. Mandarina Pale Ale, at 4.6% ABV, was approachable and clean with highlights of Mandarina Bavaria hops, refreshing citrus-forward hops from Germany. SMASH Chinook a single malt, single hop brew was Viewpoint’s second pale offering. Its makeup provided some old school charm and flavors, with balanced pine, spices, and malt—a nice departure from the many in-your-face fruit-forward beers we experience these days.

French SMASH Saison2 is Viewpoint’s take on the French Farmhouse style, the strongest ABV-wise in the lineup at 7.1%. Viewpoint’s menu states that Experiment A was inspired by a kolsch recipe and other German beer varieties. The fruit and banana esters that came forward in this mash-up of styles gave it some weizen qualities. Finally, the dark malty-hoppy Red Rye IPA gives folks used to standard light in color light in body San Diego IPAs something to talk about. As it comes to temperature strong caramel rye notes are balanced by a bittering finish.

Food is also centerpiece at Viewpoint. Three varieties of Pretzel Bao Buns are offered, Pork Belly with kimchi, apple and aioli, Oxtail with coconut hoisin and pickled peppers and Salt & Pepper Shrimp with daikon slaw. A number of other starters include Jidori chicken wings, Tapenade & Hummus and Mussels & Ndjuja. Entrees include Jidori chicken, burgers, smoked gouda macaroni, roasted cauliflower and Steelhead trout. For the wine-inclined, an impressive selection is offered by the glass and bottle.

2201 San Dieguito Dr., Del Mar