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Newport Beach Blog

Top Craft Beer Bars and Restaurants

August 11, 2014

The craft beer scene has rapidly increased in popularity the last few years in Newport Beach, since its initial boom in the United States during the 1980s.

It comes as no surprise that the vivacious bars and seasoned restaurants of Newport Beach have embraced the dynamic and innovative offerings that brewpubs, microbreweries, and regional craft breweries produce both locally and from all around the world.

With that in mind, there are a lot of places to simply “grab a beer” around town, however if you’re looking to tantalize your palate with your favorite or fresh style brew in a unique atmosphere, then these impressive locations must be on the top of your list.

BACK BAY TAVERN

Newport Beach’s best kept dining secret is this one-of-a-kind speakeasy styled tavern tucked away in the back corner of the city’s Whole Foods grocery store. Distinctly decorated with a cork pressed floor, colorful brick walls, charming string lights, and a famed authentic 1930’s mahogany bar straight out of Spanish Harlem, the bar has a brilliant story of its own.

But I’ll let Gary, the tavern’s notably knowledgeable and friendly bartender, tell you all about it — right after he helps you pick out one of their refreshing craft beers. The Back Bay Tavern, along with the Whole Foods it is housed in, has a special beer buyer unique to their store, and the selection is always rotating and impressive.

Whole Foods and Los Angeles brewery, Golden Road, recently collaborated to offer the perfect summer beer, Saison Pamplemousse, a crisp, light beer aptly named for its rejuvenating grapefruit flavor. Another noteworthy option offered here is Smog City’s GrapeApe IPA, the ever-changing fruity grape notes and hoppy flavor combine to bring you a complex and delicious brew.

Can’t get enough of the beer you just tried? Grab a few for home on your way out! If you aren’t in the mood for beer, they make their craft cocktails with real fruit juice and their wine selection is quite worth mentioning.

Not only can you bring items from the grocery store into the Tavern, but the quality, freshness, and health factor that Whole Foods is known for certainly carries over to the restaurant in their affordable menu offerings of both classic pub food and healthy alternatives, like king crab sushi or a kale salad.

Enjoy all that the Back Bay Tavern has to offer by taking advantage of their social hour, everyday from 4-7, either inside to watch the current sports game or outdoors on their dog-friendly patio. Those are just a few fantastic qualities that the Tavern can pride themselves on. Whether you’re on your way to the beach, a movie, or after a long day of shopping, the Back Bay Tavern is the place to “eat’n drink, meet’n greet in Newport Beach”.

Make sure to keep up with the constantly changing selection by visiting their TapHunter page. For more on Whole Foods beer follow their buyer, Mike, at @specialtybeer

SIDEDOOR

This English style pub, fitted with brick walls, a television playing old black and whites, and cozy seating, opened in 2009 right in the back of the formal Five Crowns restaurant, and has since been recognized for their exceptional food and drink.

SideDoor carries over the unmatched quality in service and food of Five Crowns, but offers a more casual and relaxed neighborhood experience. The atmosphere at SideDoor remains intimate, with a hint of romance, despite that the tables seem to be constantly full.

The variety of beer offered, among other things, is quite tantalizing. However, if you find yourself unable to choose just one, SideDoor offers the decently priced beer flight with four 4 oz tasters completely of your choice from their varying drafts!

A couple outstanding options from their draught for example are the Monkish Saison de Lilah from California which encompasses lavender, grass, and herbs in a slight bitter finish, as well as the Old Speckled Hen Nitro of England which has a smooth flavor combined with tastes of raisin, toffee, and malt, and a dry finish.

SideDoor certainly cycles through their draft beer often to give customers the next best thing and offer fresh seasonal choices. To compliment that tasty beer, anything on their decadent menu is fair game, but the Chef’s Cheese and Charcuterie Plate, where you get to decide what goes into it from a flawless selection, is a great place to start. Come here to catch up with friends or romance your love interest, and immerse yourself in the moment amongst an unbeatable flavorful menu and, of course, a beer.

MAVERICK’S GASTROPUB

Grab some friends or your family, hop on that Balboa Ferry and venture out towards the beach. You won’t be able to miss this cool new gastropub, located at Balboa Village – Home of the Fun Zone, on Balboa Peninsula.

Maverick’s Gastropub opened just this past July, with a menu and craft beer selection that is bound to make it your new favorite beach day stop.

They offer 30 varieties of draft beer alongside an array of bottled beers to choose from. Truly possessing an assortment of draft beers from the dark, coffee flavored Speakeasy Payback porter to the clean, crisp Saint Archer Blonde Ale and from the fruity, bitter hops of the Tricerahops Double IPA to the Mother Earth Vanilla Cream Ale, which tastes just like a cream soda, but with a kick.

After all this talk about beer, you’re going to want to grab something to eat, and the appetizers alone are deliciously inventive. Holding witty names like “The Independent” chipotle aioli shrimp tacos, “The Innovator” Kobe beef sliders, and “The Rouge Skillet” herbed panko crust truffle mac and cheese, all for seriously affordable prices, you’re going to want to grab a few to share for the table. With an easy-going atmosphere, plenty of TV’s to watch the game, friendly service, and a creative menu, Maverick’s Gastropub is off to a great start.

THE CROW BAR AND KITCHEN

Newport Beach’s classic go-to spot for flavorful beer and tasty innovative pub food. The Crow Bar is known for celebrating the ways that beer can be paired with food to make both more enjoyable as well as create a new and unique experience for their customers.

Their creative craft beer selection truly lives up to all of the hype. Just to highlight a few, they offer Stone Brewing Company’s Grapefruit Slam Double IPA, Craftsman 1903 pre-prohibition style lager, the ancho chile, chocolate, cinnamon, and vanilla noted Clown Shoes Sombrero Double IPA, and even Blitzen, a triple IPA from Faction Brewing out of California.

I can’t imagine what would pair better with a cold beer from their draft selection than the Crow Bar’s infamous gluten free duck fat fries with truffle aioli. The duck fat fries might draw you in, but their ability to provide updated classic pub dishes, with a gourmet touch, and their vibrant ambiance will keep you coming back to try out the whole menu.

NEWPORT BEACH BREW COMPANY

If you’re looking for a good place to hangout and have a beer, what better place to do that than right here at Newport Beach’s only brewery, Newport Beach Brew Company. This restaurant, bar, and brewery offers a casual sports bar atmosphere located in the historic Cannery Village on the Balboa Peninsula.

Sticking to tradition, Newport Beach Brew Co. brews according to the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516, promising to brew with only hops, water, and barley.

They brew all the good stuff from the unique banana flavor of the Wedge Weizen, to the crisp citrusy Pelican Pale Ale, and the wheat Wedge de Strawberry, to the Lil Cowboy Stout. With affordable specials almost everyday of the week, there’s almost no reason not to go in and try all of their in-house creations.

EAT CHOW

This modish little restaurant tucked away off of Pacific Coast Highway offers a great selection of artistic dishes from various cuisines, and a mellow place to relax and meet friends.

Their intermixture of craft beer should be noted, especially for such a quaint place. Some of their inventory includes citrusy Bootleggers Palomino Pale Ale, Golden Road Heal the Bay IPA, chocolate and nut accented creamy classic Vanilla Porter, as well as bright and balanced Hofbrau Original.

Eat Chow has a great fresh vibe in addition to gratifying food and drink options that leave you feeling refreshed.

The immense and exciting selection of craft beers offered is only one of the reasons to check out all of these bars and eateries; with new offerings rolling in regularly that should give you a good excuse to keep coming back for more…and often!

Photo Credit: Maverick’s Gastropub

Written by Rachel Sherman

Rachel Sherman is an upcoming photographer and writer from Newport Beach, California. Although she was born and raised here by the beach, Rachel’s passion for traveling has taken her around the world to places such as England, France, Italy, and China. She recently graduated with honors holding a bachelors degree in Communications, with a concentration in visual communications, and minors in both Radio/TV/Film and Psychology from California State University, Fullerton. During her time there, she hosted a weekly rock ’n’ roll based radio show on Titan Radio called Good Rockin’ Tonight. Rachel has always had a genuine enthusiasm for photography, travel, culture, and adventure. Drawing constant inspiration from her love for the cinema, simple beautiful landscapes, as well as vintage atmospheres, these details shine through her photographs and inspire her writing. For more information on Rachel Sherman, or to view her personal works, please visit: www.rachelssherman.com

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