La Jolla Brewing Company Revives the Neighborhood Beer Scene | An Upscale Brewpub Takes Hold

March 14, 2014

Having revamped the old LJ Brew House, the brand spanking new La Jolla Brewing Company has taken helm with an entirely new concept for the prime location on Fay Avenue. The restaurant has been reimagined from the ground up, and managing partner Leigh Gibson (of Dirty Birds and soon-to-open Pillbox Tavern in Solana) has developed an upscale pub menu that appeals to all tastes. Complemented by an experienced brewer, a devout connection to San Diego's burgeoning craft beer scene, and a full bar, expect LJBC to become a longtime destination establishment and a favorite neighborhood watering hole among locals.

LJBC is without a doubt here to stay.  The space underwent a complete renovation and modernization. From the red and white brick exterior, to the the large, dog friendly patio featuring a retractable roof and firepit tables, to the flowing interior and the private back room, to the copper beer-tank taps behind the bar, everything is tasteful and comfortable, with no lingering remnants of the building's predecessor. 

We watched as brewmaster Brett Stampf demonstrated what he learned in his 20 years of brewing experience at such breweries as Dogfish Head, Green Flash and Stone. He was hard at work filling and monitoring the centralized barrels, and although he didn't notice the packed house, they sure noticed him as he did what he does best. Witnessing the brewing of beer smack in the middle of the restaurant definitely adds to the excitement and appeal of the La Jolla Brewing Company. 

LJBC aims to be the premier craft beer destination in La Jolla. In addition to 5 house-crafted brews and frequent seasonals, it also features 24 rotating taps of mostly local San Diego County craft beers.  We began by sampling a flight of the house beers, which currently includes a pale ale, IPA, pub ale, dry stout and brown ale. We love our IPA's and enjoyed LJBC's Sunny Jim's IPA, but our favorite was the Bird Rock Brown Ale, a very well-balanced brew. In addition to the plentiful beer selection, LJBC also offers craft cocktails, a lengthy wine list and soon - beer cocktails!
For starters, we ordered the crab & artichoke dip ($10), a mix of jumbo lump crab meat, artichoke hearts, roasted tomatoes, spinach, Asiago and cream cheese, served with crostini for dipping.  We were in awe of the huge pieces of succulent crab and couldn't help but scoop every last morsel of this flavorful, yet surprisingly light, dip.  
Next came the playful baked brie plate ($11), a platter that includes a large serving of warm and melty brie, roasted garlic, sliced apples, almonds, and crostini, all drizzled with a balsamic reduction and drops of honey. We enjoyed mixing and matching flavors in each bite, and thought this elegant dish perfect for enjoying among friends.
The Chargers flatbread ($14) came hot and ready to devour, topped with tomato-basil sauce, melted mozzarella, grilled chicken, chorizo, and a generous serving of sliced avocado. We enjoyed the fresh flavors and the crisp yet airy crust and will certainly sample more pizza options next time around.
We savored the flavors of the Asian Mahi salad ($14).  A hefty cut of dorado grilled and glazed with ponzu sauce sits atop a heaping bed of mixed field greens, red onion, cucumber, carrot, daikon radish, and a side of ginger-soy vinaigrette.  This salad could have been a meal in and of itself, making for a healthy dinner option or ideal starter for sharing.
Turkey clubs are definitely a favorite of mine, and LJBC's Cajun version ($13) made me beam with delight.  The combination of thinly sliced turkey breast, crispy bacon, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado and Cajun aioli stacked between 3 pieces of toasted sourdough bread was everything I wanted it to be - traditional with a twist. Served with a side of house made potato chips, this dish definitely warrants a return visit.
We'll definitely be frequenting La Jolla Brewing Company in the future.  It has everything we love - high end comfort food, craft beer, great service, and a fun and welcoming atmosphere. Be sure to stop by and see for yourself!

LA JOLLA BREWING COMPANY
7536 Fay Ave., La Jolla
(858) 246-6759
LaJollaBeer.com

Hours:
Sun-Thurs 11am-12am
Fri & Sat 11am-2am
Happy Hour - Mon-Fri 3-6pm and all day Wednesday


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