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Steelhead Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Steelhead Brewing Co.Steelhead Brewing Co.

27 Ratings
Ratings: 27
Reviews: 26
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 12.08%
Active Beers: 12
Beer Ratings: 53
Beer Avg: 3.29
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Eatery ]

4175 Campus Drive
Irvine, California, 92612
United States
phone: (949) 856-2227
// CLOSED //

None, yet.

(Place added by: UncleJimbo)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 27 | Reviews: 26 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


3.66/5  rDev +2.8%

An overcast start to Columbus Day 2006 had me wondering what to do with my day off. Exercise? Clean the Apt? Buy clothes? Hmm, all sounded far too stressful so I opted to hit up nearby Irvine & do some BeerFly hunting.

The signs are easy to see when you get to Campus Drive just off University Drive S, easily accessible from the 73 Toll Road. Sadly the building which houses Steelhead is not that easy & seems hidden at the back of the Parking lot, one that was designed by an “out of work Maze designer”.

Has a faded pastel orange painted block like exterior which looks like a thousand or so, other American mall exteriors. Not even the front doors are welcoming, moreover, I wondered if they were even functional, but thankfully some dude was leaving as I was walking down the parking lot so I knew they were. Once at the entrance I noted the archetypal “brewpub” grain silo that sits at the far corner to your left as you enter. Some arches & palm trees break it all up but it has little else to take your mind off the forced & rather false looking frontage.

Inside it is hard not to be impressed by the cavernous interior especially if you are a structural Engineer or Architect. A positively massive interior feels incredibly expansive thanks mainly to the fact that there are no internal supports to detract what can feel like a warehouse. The roof is flat affair but it is all wood & nicely crafted. Bare ducting for the Air Conditioning is neatly laid out; the walls have exposed (false?) brick. Plenty of windows & a large atrium near the bar cleverly light up the expansive interior volume. All around there are lots of dark wooden furniture filling out the interior, neatly laid out 4 seater tables in the middle floor space with some high rise tables & stools lining the front windows. All around the walls & behind the bar are carved dark wood surrounds & paneling which add a quality feel to the décor. Of worthy note were several sets of four attractive rather comfy looking large armchairs set around some low round tables nearby the bar. These armchairs would not have been amiss for the sizzled ramblings of old Barrister, Rowley Birkin QC…'I'm afraid that I was very, very drunk'. Despite the obvious quality feel of the interior, I couldn’t help but feel like the place lacked a little soul. Of course that could have been because it was very empty when I attended though!

Despite the low turn out, I was immediately greeted & politely asked by a nice young lady if I wanted to be seated, marks for that, often when things get quiet staff tend to disappear or take it easy – not here it seems. I wasn’t staying long so I hooked a left & headed toward the bar which sits around 15 or so people on stools. Behind the bar a large window offers a view of the stainless brewing plant. Large traditional style TV’s hang from the roof all around but right behind the bar two large wide screen flat screen TV’s seem ideally placed for the Sporting Barfly’s, though they just displayed the bouncing DirecTV logo on my visit, though that was far more interesting than watching American Handball to me anyways. The dark black mottled marbled topped bar sports two fountains which each house six (6) taps, twelve in total, serving mainly house brews. Range on my visit was a guest brew supplied by Spaten Oktoberfest plus local fare; Hairy Weasel HefeWeissen, Barracuda Blonde, Rhino Red & Titanium Wheat were all listed but I decided to start with the Bombay Bomber IPA. Oh heck, what a friggin mess that was, just a terrible mess, the IPA was an astringent unfiltered bitter brew that must have been the subject of a particularly acrimonious divorce from the malt some months earlier. Thankfully my second pint, the special/seasonal brew - Espresso Stout, was much better; though a little thin in body it had plenty of taste. I noted that a chalkboard to the right of the bar on the back wall advertised all of the house brews, but I noticed that the Bombay Bomber IPA was brewed in August & the Espresso Stout in July.

I noted that it does Half-Gallon Growlers for take out, as well as Kegs also. In addition they just added the Gallon Cube thingies too.

Looked at the Menu, but never felt compelled to sample any of the fare, though the Menu did seem more than the usual pub grub, but the early visit & state of the IPA stopped me from ordering anything here.

Bar service was OK, conversation was minimal but I didn’t wait around for my second Pint & the speed of service was enough to get a $/Pint tip, but nothing more.

A so-so affair, worth trying if you are in the area, assuming you can get through the parking lot. The beer didn’t seem to be earth shattering, but you may just drop on a decent special brew though - I do recommend the Espresso Stout if it is on. Not a place I would go out of my way for, but definitely worth popping in if you’re passing by. I may head back some time, or if I’m passing, but I’m in no rush to do so.

Last Visit: Monday 9th October, 2006.

10-12-2006 04:02:37 | More by TheLongBeachBum
More User Reviews:
Photo of SudsSurfer


3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

11-19-2013 20:54:04 | More by SudsSurfer
Photo of abrethanson


2.34/5  rDev -34.3%

I will preclude my "in depth" analysis with the fact our group pulled in for a night cap at Steelhead as a last resort after finding Anthill Pub closed for summer hours. I fashion myself a beer geek (not snob) and do homebrew. I prefer good beer wherever we go and do not like giving bad reviews.

Let us start with the good.

Atmosphere - Large roomy interior space but felt cozy with mood lighting, wood furnishings, and a variety of seating including comfy chairs. Long deep mahogany bar which looks across the taps through a window into the "brewing operations". Some TVs for catching sports but do a good job of finding balance between large-scale restaurant chain and sports bar. Probably a hopping place when school is in session but fairly dead this saturday night.

Service - waitress was nice and served us (1) round of drinks.

Food - only had beer. Hopefully the food is good.

Selection - (8) of their own beers and (1) guest tap. Traditional beers for the masses (golden, amber, hef, blah blah blah) and offered an Imperial IPA as their extreme beer. Served everything in everyone's favorite pint glass. No glassware discrimination here folks. Giant chalk board listed the beers which was cool until realizing it advertised the brew dates which were all minimum 2 months old. Keeping it fresh.

Quality - Drain pour party! We tried a few tasters and ordered what tasted the most drinkable. Stout taster - lean but drinkable. Pale Ale taster - drain pour. Wife's Heff pint - drain pour. My friend and I went with the Imperial IPA and it was drinkable but did not finish. Back to the Heff - truly a terrible beer. Did not look, smell, or taste like a Heff. Closer to an infected Budweiser. Surprisingly the beers actually came with head on them. Also, the price for the sub-par Imperials was expensive considering it was equal to a premium craft (Pliny/ 90 min) at most other places.

I would not have been surprised to have seen the head brewer climb out of a fermentation tank fitted with scuba gear explaining this is how they "wake up" the yeast.

Hopefully the brewing at other Steelhead locations is not this poorly operated. My suggestion is to get rid of the house beers and replace with some other local brewery taps or just a line of PBRs.

08-25-2013 22:52:49 | More by abrethanson
Photo of BeerEngineer


3.69/5  rDev +3.7%

So I went to Steelhead Brewing Co. in Irvine, CA on a Saturday afternoon around 3:30 PM. The place was nearly empty with only a dozen or so people in it.

To start off with the atmosphere is really nice, the ceilings are really tall and they use the space to decorate with University of California Irvine apparel. They have all sorts of jerseys and shirts from the University everywhere. It's a really nice place next to the college, I'm well out of college but it was really nice still. There are a bunch of tables and a huge bar with a giant window looking into the brewery. The woodwork around the window is incredible, big thick wood mantel, looks awesome. There are big "old timey" chairs around little tables, this is where we were seated. There are probably a dozen high top tables, I can only imagine what this place looks like when school is in session!

My wife ordered a blonde ale, can't remember the name but it was something like "Crazy Little Blonde" and a water. I ordered a sampler which included their top 6 brews and a water. The waitress was dismal in all honesty, that's one of the two complaints that I have. She obviously didn't want to be there and didn't make any effort to make us feel welcome. She didn't want to be there and made no effort to hide it.

We ordered lunch, a wood fired pizza for her and halibut fish and chips for me. We also ordered salads as an appetizer. The salads came out within three minutes, of ordering, most likely because we were the only people in the place ordering food. As we were about half way through the salads our food came out. I was shocked, it was no more than 10 minutes after we had ordered! By this time I only had 3 of the beers on the sampler, my wife had only had half her beer! I couldn't believe it. The waitress then put down the food and just walked away, shockingly without even a word. This is my second complaint, I would normally not complain about food coming out too fast, but this was crazy. Within 10 minutes of ordering we not only had our salads, but also our main course.

The food was really good, the pizza used the spent grain from their brewing in the crust (according to the menu). The halibut fish and chips were awesome and the fries have a really awesome seasoning on them. Salad was pretty obviously a pre-made salad that they just added tomatoes to, nothing special but it was fresh and cold.

The beer is pretty good. I was very pleased with the Pale Ale and IPA that they have there. I ended up ordering a pale ale after the sampler. They do have one pretty cool thing, it's a stainless steel double walled growler. It was pricey, $31 filled, but I like the idea that I can bring beer to event now without having to worry about breaking a glass bottle.

Overall it's a nice place! I would definitely go back for lunch or dinner but I'd be careful about going during the school year. I bet this place gets crazy with college kids.

06-30-2013 21:15:10 | More by BeerEngineer
Photo of timmtime

3.83/5  rDev +7.6%

I was in Orange County for two days for work and wanted to try as much west coast beer as I could in my off time. Steelhead happened to be right outside the office I was sent to so I went there for lunch, right at noon. The decor was nothing special but looked nice. Not crowded. I sat at the bar, loved the brewery equipment right behind the bar, and the taps run out of coolers. The bartender came right up, asked if I wanted anything and since I hadn't been there before I asked to be surprised.

I got their Wiezen first, came with a lemon slice on the glass. I liked it and I'm not usually much of a weizen fan. Sat nicely on the hoppy, but not oppressively hoppy, end but still had some good malt flavor. I'd drink that guy again.

I wanted to try an ale the board said was an award winner recently but the bartender said the night shift mixed up kegs, so what should have been the ale was a guava IPA instead. I LOVED it. I couldn't really taste a really fruity taste, but in my opinion the guava tamed the hop bitterness and helped add some brightness to the beer. I'd drink that any day honestly.

Got a pepper bacon cheeseburger that came out pretty quickly. Nothing revolutionary, but it was a tasty burger and I had to leave fries I was so full.

The bartender was good. Even though I asked about pint glasses after I had my beers, he told me they usually run a deal that you can keep the glass you get when you order the deal, but he hooked me up with two clean glasses and the discount anyway. He talked about the beers, especially the guava IPA, shot the breeze with me a bit.

I would 100% go back to Steelhead. My only regret is that I only tried two beers that day.

10-16-2012 18:05:30 | More by timmtime
Photo of Oisin


2.96/5  rDev -16.9%

While the atmosphere declares Irvine Generic, the suds were good. The house beer Guavalicious was daring and enjoyable, well worth trying again. The guest tap Sneaky Pete was also very much to my liking.

The service, however, was shit. Sign says "wait to be seated" but there is no one to seat us. While ordering at the bar we have to wait for the bartender to finish his conversation before he saunters over to take our order.

With beers in hand, we seat ourselves. No one came to take our food order. We conduct an experiment. How long will it take before a waitress tends to us? The answer is never. We ordered three rounds at the bar and were not once attended to by a waitress. Plenty of other food offering near there, so we decided to eat elsewhere.

When I asked the bartender what hop varieties were used for the tropical fruit taste in the Guavalicious, the bartender snorted "Hops can't produce tropical fruit flavors."

The lack of service and enthusiasm about their beers make me very hesitant to go back. Perhaps I'll just get a growler next time and go home.

06-22-2012 00:34:04 | More by Oisin
Photo of ndolover


3.3/5  rDev -7.3%

Located in a mall near UC Irvine. This place screams typical brewpub with brass and dark wood. It has an open feel and has plenty of seating. They have a few TV's for the folks at the Bar and atmosphere is upbeat and CA yuppie.

The beers are good. I didn't care for the black IPA, but everything else I had was good.

The food was pretty good. They made their own saurkraut.

The bartenders are very attentive and knew their beers.

Overall, I had a good time and would go again if I was near by. However, with so many other great choices in the Orange County area I wouldn't make a special trip.
P.S. Oddly enough they make a great margarita!

01-11-2012 19:10:22 | More by ndolover
Photo of DoubleJ


3.64/5  rDev +2.2%

UC Irvine students have it good for beer. Not only do they have a great on-campus pub, but a solid little brewpub across the street. Let's see...

I walked to the bar and asked for a sampler. It included six house beers: wheat ale, kolsch, amber ale, UCIPA (haha, good one), DIPA, and stout. If I were grading the beers, I would put each one in the C+ to B range, with the stout finishing on top. I do like how the sampler is presented: you are given a paper placemat with six spots on it, and each spot has the name of the beer on it. The entrees in the menu looked a little pricey, so I passed on the food. A longer visit may be part of my future agenda, given what I experienced here.

01-29-2010 09:45:07 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of woodychandler


3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Located in the University Center Plaza, directly opposite the UCIrvine campus, it was set just far enough back from the street to make it difficult to find.

Entering, the combination m.d.s. and souvenir counter was to the immediate left. Off to the right was a sea of restaurant tables and chairs. Off to the left was the bar area with a combination of high rectangular tables and chairs, high circular tables and the coveted "King's Table" - a standard table with four high-backed, upholstered chairs. Cardinal Fang, place him in the comfy chair! Actually, it looked too comfy and inviting to sit in and have any hope of survival. The vaguely "U"-shaped, marble-topped bar had its back bar as a carved wood affair overlooking the brewhouse. Off to the left of the bar were the lavatories. A skylight and lots of windows gave the interior a bright atmosphere. The unobtrusive waitstaff allowed my brother and I to eat and converse without interruption.

Beers: Hairy Weasel Hefeweizen; Barracuda Blonde; UCIPA (ha ha); Raging Rhino or Halo Red; Steelhead Amber; and Campus Porter. Passable, but not worth a special trip.

08-21-2008 15:56:20 | More by woodychandler
Photo of Dogbrick


3.83/5  rDev +7.6%

This Steelhead locatio is near UC Irvine near the Campus/University intersection. Parking is plentiful in the University Center.

The exterior is nice with lots of windows and a patio. The inside is open with high ceilings, with the bar on the left side that features windows showing off the brewing equipment. The remainder of the space is for table seating, and there are a lot of comfy living room type chairs around. There is definitely a sports bar theme with all of the TVs and decorations.

The beer selection is decent. There are around 6-7 Steelhead beers plus guest taps from brewers like Sierra Nevada. They offer a sampler of their beers. Overall the beers are decent.

Service was pretty good on a weekday evening. The bartender knew the beers and was happy to provide samples.

The pub food is pretty good. We shared the loaded fries appetizer and it was enjoyable.

Overall this is a worthwhile stop if you find yourself in the Irvine area.

07-18-2008 16:36:51 | More by Dogbrick
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Steelhead Brewing Co. in Irvine, CA
83 out of 100 based on 27 ratings.