For Beachwood Brewing, known for its flight of award winning craft beers, 2016 was a banner year. In addition to kicking off a 10th anniversary celebration of its first location in Seal Beach, Beachwood officially opened the doors to its first tap room in Huntington just before Thanksgiving.

photo by @adventuresininebriation

The road to success began back in 2006, when a chef with a fine dining background had a dream of opening a high-end restaurant in Seal Beach. A lackluster response to the idea from locals, however, sent aspiring chef-owner Gabe Gordon back to the drawing board, where he came up with the idea to pair slow-smoked Southern barbecue with world-class beers.

Today, Gordon is on his way to building a Beachwood BBQ & Brewing empire. The success of the Seal Beach restaurant laid the groundwork for future expansion. In 2011, Gordon and his partners opened a brewpub in downtown Long Beach; three years later, he launched a much-heralded small batch production house called The Blendery that experiments in Lambic-style beers.

After struggling to keep up with demand, Beachwood bought out the new-ish Beach City Brewery in early 2016 to increase capacity. Since opening in mid-November, Gordon, co-owner/brewmaster Julian Shrago and the rest of the team are focused on running the new pace as a production facility, meaning a simplified tap room experienced — no food, just beer on beer on beer. Many of the core brews rotate in through the sixteen taps, with styles ranging from easy-drinking blonde ales to toasty, silky stouts.

photo by @snowbunni3z

Fancy a flight? Jacquelyn Fields, executive director of the Orange County Brewer’s Guild, lent us her expert palate to give Beachwood novices the ultimate first-time tasting experience.

Check her top picks with brewery tasting notes, then book it straight to Beachwood to order this must-try flight of four.

Foam Top (American Blonde Ale): An award-winning easy-drinker; soft hop bitterness but refreshingly light

Hops of Brixton (British-Style Extra Special Bitter): Toasty-brown, with notes of caramel and toffee from British malts balanced by a background of floral and earthy hops

Melrose (West Coast-Style IPA): An alluring explosion of tropical and citrus flavors drawn from hops blended with American and Canadian malts; dry-hopped for an aromatic experience

Mocha Machine (Imperial Chocolate Coffee Porter): British and German malts in a brew infused with roasted coffee from Portola in Costa Mesa; aged on cacoa nibs from Ecuador

Location: 7631 Woodwind Dr.; Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Hours: Thursday-Friday: 3-10pm; Saturday: Noon-10pm; Sunday: Noon-8pm

Check out the current Huntington Beach tap list here.

Header photo by @elemenohpee1