“ Ocean Avenue Brewery is sophisticated ... ” - SUNSET, November 1995
If not for the gleaming copper tanks crammed behind the bar, you might never guess that Ocean Avenue Brewery is, in fact, a brewery. Brewmaster and co-owner John Thomas, a California boy, brews rich lagers and deep porters that are every bit as complex as a Napa Chardonnay. But it’s his wife and co-owner, Maria, with her Italian heritage, who sets the tone at this upscale brew pub (tavola would be a better word). It’s one of two such pubs to open in Laguna Beach since January, making 1995 a good year for beer.
This is not one of those places where the smell of malted barley hangs redolent in the air as big-screen TVs blare the latest football scores. Instead, Ocean Avenue Brewery is sophisticated and fashionable. Blond wood and terra-cotta tiles help give this place an ambience that’s far removed from a blue-collar hangout with sawdust on the floor and peanuts on the bar. This is a brew pub for people who like to dawdle over, say, Thomas’s aromatic Red Sunshine, a clean-tasting red ale, the way Seattleites hunker over double-mocha lattes on a drizzly afternoon. At 237 Ocean Ave,; (949) 497-3381.