Tucked between the bustling shops of Uptown Whittier, a few miles east of Los Angeles, is one of the county's premiere gastropubs: The Bottle Room. Chef and restauranteur Tony Alcazar opened the place up just over 3 years ago, inspired by his passion for good beer and good food. When those components collide, it inevitably results in an abundance of good people. After meeting Tony and his staff last night during their very special Night With Russian River, I was bombarded by that trifecta of awesomeness.
First of all: the beer. I could go on for days about how Pliny the Elder is the perfect pint of beer, but you already know that. Luckily, in Southern California there are a handful of places that dependably keep it on draft. So instead, I deemed it more pressing to progress to a few of their barrel-aged sours which are far more elusive: Temptation--the sour blonde, aged in French oak--and the real winner, Supplication--a sour brown ale aged in Pinot Noir barrels from Sonoma County. Its tempered tartness overwhelms my palate with the pleasant pungency of wild yeast. The slight tinge of wine, a delicate dancing partner for the tart candy flavor that makes my lips smack. I could literally never have enough of this beer.
|Turkey Burger with Russian River's Supplication|
|25th Anniversary Toronado Ale|
After meeting all sorts of friendly homebrewers, we took our drinks out to the front patio, adjacent to the cozy confines of Whittier's commercial epicenter. We exchanged stories of craft beers past and made promises to meet up again for a bevy of beer drinking in the near future. In fact, it was such a warm, pleasant vibe, that I was invited back to a nearby house party shortly after the woeful pangs of last call. An evening of old favorites like beer and burgers could only be topped with the introduction of new friends.
It took me a long time of living in this area to make a trek to the lesser-traveled streets of Whittier. If it wasn't for Tony and his craftily conceived establishment, I might not have ever known what this town was all about. The Bottle Room was worth the journey and as an all-around experience it's one helluva destination.