Tustin Brewing Company
Active Beers: 53
Beer Ratings: 192
Beer Avg: 3.59
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 37 | Reviews: 32 | Show All Ratings:
3.56/5 rDev -1.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.5 | $$
Tustin Brewing Company’s brewery and restaurant is the cornerstone tenant of Plaza LaFayette, located on Newport Avenue just north of Irvine Boulevard. For locals, this is a central shopping district for the area. Unfortunately, parking in the center is limited and the stalls are narrow. Plan ahead and carpool if you can.
Comfort & Decor
Tustin Brewery is a brewery, restaurant, locals’ bar, and sports bar all rolled into one. The high ceilings, brick walls, and lack of carpet or upholstery mean a high noise volume. There might have been music playing, but I couldn’t hear it over the din. Simple wooden tables and chairs can be rearranged to easily accommodate large parties. There is a bartop area with stools, but it tends to get crowded with libations-only patrons. Their patio is typically the smoking crowd in the evenings, but it offers space heaters, greenery screening from the street, and ample seating.
While they do rotate out taps of guest beers, most of Tustin Brewery’s patrons come for the local suds. Keeping with the theme and feel of a locals establishment, all of TBC’s home brews are named as local and historical tributes to the Tustin area. Here’s my two cents on their beers:
Lemon Heights Hefeweizen - 5% ABV Lightly bodied and served with a lemon wedge. It’s a traditional unfiltered wheat beer with citrus in the forefront. It gets it’s name from the wealthier Lemon Heights neighborhood of North Tustin.
American Pale Ale – 5.8% No creative naming here, but certainly a creative take on this standard brew. Fairly balanced with flavorful hops and a bitter back.
Red Hill Red - 7.3% Named after the area and street in Tustin, this is a surprisingly hoppy red. It’s fuller bodied, sweet and malty; don’t go into this thinking it’s an amber. While I enjoy this brew, I always forget how filling it is.
Old Town IPA – 7.4% Supporting Tustin’s Old Town downtown district, this beer is a balance of citrus and hops. Fuller bodied than the APA, the Old Town IPA is smooth on the back, allowing the hops to compliment the beer as a whole and not overwhelm it.
Blimp Hanger Porter – 5.8% ABV – Named for the visually iconic WWII era blimp hangers on the edge of Tustin, this porter has some seriously large shoes to fill. It’s got everything you want in a darker beer: toasted grains, rich dark chocolate adding bitterness and sweet, and a hint of smoke.
The serving staff is mostly women in their early twenties, but don’t misjudge them. Our server, Katherine, knew her suds. We had a nice chat about the extra hops in the Red Hill Red and their popular guest beer, Russian River’s Pliny the Elder. She loves her job: “I work in a brewery; it’s the best thing ever.” Thanks, Katherine!
The Mug Club is perhaps the most clever marketing endeavor they have developed. For $100.00, you get a lifetime membership to their Mug Club. Members receive a personalized 20 oz. mug with their member number and $1 off Tustin Brewery’s home brews. On Mondays, Mug Club members can partake of the home brews for just $2.50 a glass. Mug Club members still pay full price for a pint of guest beers, but receive a full 20 oz. mug worth. The mugs are 4 oz. larger than your standard pint glass, so it’s a great deal. I’m thinking this would make a wonderful Father’s Day or Christmas gift.
We went to try their $2.00 steak and chicken tacos. The chicken was bland while the steak was spicy, but they were decently sized and tasty. Their regular menu reminds me of your neighborhood family restaurant. Offerings from their mixed menu include build-your-own pizzas, hot wings with various sauces, award winning chilli, baked salmon, and Mediterranean lamb chops. Tustin Brewery understands that moms and dads love good beer too, so there is a kids’ menu with half-pint sized meals. I just learned that they do breakfast and am admittedly a little excited to try it out.
Entertainment & Events
Sports are on all the time on their eight 42″ and two 70″ flat screen televisions. Special games and broadcasts (such as the Olympics this past week) make it onto their dual projector screens. They often run specials during the various sports seasons and there is not a seat in the house without a view of the games. My favorite night is Monday trivia with Challenge Entertainment Live Trivia.
All in all, I feel like Tustin Brewery is the sportsbar option for beer lovers. I think it finds its niche with the locals and regulars, but gives parents a higher quality option for soccer team pizza nights. TBC is always busy, yet I’d never had to wait long for a table. This year marks the brewery’s 17th anniversary and I guarantee it’s not closing anytime soon. If you live nearby and enjoy discounted beer, then join the Mug Club and have at it. This is a great place for a meal and a mug. Cheers!
04-17-2014 05:51:37 | More by SoCalBreweryReviews
3.31/5 rDev -8.6%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3 | food: 3.25 | $$
I went to the Tustin Brewing company on a Friday after work and it was packed. A pretty big place that obviously does a lot of food business. I got a table outside and order their IPA and some wings. Overall I had a great experience. The service I received was really good. Our waitress made great suggestions when needed and was there when we needed her despite having a full section.
10-06-2013 00:42:03 | More by BirdmanJohn
4.2/5 rDev +16%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75 | $$
This place is tucked away in an odd shopping center. Parking can be a huge pain and hard to find. I like that all their beers have an Orange County theme to them. The atmosphere can be nice if you get there early but during prime hours it turns into more of a sports bar with loud TVs and activity. It's very hard to carry on a conversation. They can have some good beers on tap. It's somewhat inconsistent what they are offering but the variety is also part of what makes it good.
02-16-2013 23:55:50 | More by warpdesign
3.63/5 rDev +0.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Being From Arizona, I usually try to get out to a few local brew places in California. I found Tustin Brewery on BA and the reviews were average, but it was relatively close to my hotel and the online menu didn’t look bad. While I was online I browsed some of the beers that they Brew on site. Most of them looked pretty good and were at an average price.
When I got there the we were seated(my wife and I) in a large open room that has a few European style benches and long tables. The brewery is in the back left corner and it was very open and with a long bar running on the left side of the building, behind which are many barrels stamped with dates and names of their Brew.
I ordered the spicy burger, which was very good and was very happy to see that they had Pliny the Elder on tap. This is a very rare beer and hard to come by where I am from. I have only really had it in Northern California prior to this visit. It was appropriately priced at 7 dollars a pint. Pliny the Elder was actually the only beer that I ordered in a pint there. I spoke to the waitress and asked her how often they get that and if they keep it regularly stocked. She informed me that they get about 4 kegs every 3 months. She said they usually sell out of it in 2 weeks or less. I’m certainly glad that I found it and I took a Cask of it home for only $ 19.00. Overall a great place because of the Pliny. Everything was pretty average, after sampling several of their own beers, I stuck with Pliny.
Perhaps call ahead to see if they have the Pliny. I will certainly go back for that.
10-18-2012 20:44:17 | More by Smitty1988
3.2/5 rDev -11.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | $$
Pretty standard brewpub atmosphere. Long bar, many tables and numerous TVs throughout. Not terribly impressed with the beers, all fairly middling though one of the IPAs was a little better than average.
Service was OK, not too good really, but as it was my only visit, that didn't bother me too much, just chalked it up to the time of day/server that was there, etc.
It wasn't too crowded so we had most of the bar to ourselves, watched some of the Tour de France that was showing. Not sure how this place gets when it's crowded but they have ample space.
Hard to describe this place, basically about as average in almost every category as it gets. The atmosphere, beer quality, selection and service were all standard and didn't stand out in any way, good or bad.
Not going to go out of my way to recommend this place, but there may be a tasty brew or two on tap if and when you visit.
11-16-2011 05:24:10 | More by colonelforbin
3.93/5 rDev +8.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
This brewpub is a few miles from Highway 5. The outside decor is that of a small windmill of the type you'd find around Solvang. The first thing you notice when you walk in is barrels. Behind the bar they have their brewing equipment. I found this nice because its cool to have a pint and have the fermenter it came from right behind it.
The service was good. The bartender didn't charge me for the tasters I got. She gave some suggestions for food and the sandwich she recommended was great.
The beers on tap range from the house brews to 2 Russian River taps. They also carry hard cider on tap if you want a change of pace. They have a full bar so if a cocktail is what you desire it can be made.
The food runs in the $10 range. They have some pub fare and some burgers. They are a few oddities in the menu such as a pasta dish. The burgers are 1/2 lb patties and tend to be very large.
Its a good brewpub to check out. Can't wait for the sour to be released...
09-02-2011 17:18:53 | More by Hershdawg
4.28/5 rDev +18.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Yesterday was my second visit in a week to TBC. Both times was in the area for an appointment. So I decided to stop in. I've been wanting to for over a year now.
Last week stopped in for lunch and a couple of guest beers. Since it was a Tuesday they had Tuesday tacos for only $2. So I went with 2 steak and 1 chicken. Chicken was dry while the steak was good. So I had to pour on the salsa for the chicken. But probably the main reason for going in was that they had Cismontane's Dos Con Es DIPA (11.5%ABV) on tap and I heard good things about it. Also that Cismontane Brewery made its first and only batch of the Dos Con Es. It was a little slow at eleven when they first opened the door, but soon changed when we left it was busy. The regular lunch being served looked good on the visual. The house beers they had were probably around six or seven. No IPA was on the board, so I ended up getting a Sculpin for my second glass. Prices overall for house and guest beers I thought was very resonable. The Dos Con Es was served in what looked like a 8 oz snifter. And priced at $4. Regular 16oz pints were around $6. I think the house beers are $5. Service was exceptional.
My second visit yesterday I went in around noon. So it was a bit busier with alot of local customers there for lunch. This time I had a regular lunch (sandwich with chili). Chili was very good. Paired well with the pint of Mongo and later with a pint of Firestone Union Jack. They did have the house IPA which I did not get to try again. But they were advertising their 3rd anniversary triple IPA which will be released this Thursday. I will be back in a couple of weeks when I have to make another appointment in the area. I hope to try their triple ipa and ipa then. And some more food too.
TBC is a good stop in once in awhile when your in the neighborhood. NOt a large selection of guest beers but a decent one.
08-10-2011 16:57:25 | More by dcgunman
3.38/5 rDev -6.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 2 | $$
This place is pretty close to my home.
The atmosphere is fine, pretty much your average brew pub. The outdoor seating is nice, but don't expect good service out there.
TBC's beers are very average. Don't expect to be blown away, but you will not need to dump anything out. They also generally serve in appropriate glassware for the style, although I did not appreciate the chilled glasses.
The service is usually okay, I have had some servers who know little of beer and some who know a lot, no one was really rude, but they also were not above average.
The selection is always good, the usually have guest beers that are what I really come here for. Russian River beers can often be found here including Elder. Just call ahead and check to see what they have.
The food here is not good, and very overpriced. Skip it, there are plenty of good eats in the area, just check yelp.
06-17-2011 19:25:17 | More by pollox87
3.75/5 rDev +3.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
I recently tried this place on a visit to the area and was happy enough with it. I only tried the IPA but it was quite good and solved my need for a fresh West Coast IPA. I did go here because about 2 weeks early they had Pliny and Pig on tap but they were off by the time I got there. They had around 5 guest taps. The food was good. As per a lot of brewpubs the pizza was nicely done and I think everyone at the table left happy with their meal. It was crowded even on a weeknight but we got a table for 4 right away. Service wasn't the best but was certainly not bad. I will go back when I'm in the area.
06-07-2011 18:16:47 | More by harsley
4.14/5 rDev +14.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
I live right down the street form the Tustin Brewery, but ive only been there maybe 5 or 6 times. I live to go here for pliny and pig when Hollingshead doesn't have it tapped. Good bottle list, they just recently sold the last bottles of stone Kona coffee porter. Im a fan of their porter, I haven't really had too much of their other stuff, Im usually drinking here because of what they have on tap from other breweries. Growler fills are available here, but only of their own beer(Dont come in asking for a growler fill of pliny because they will not do it, Ive seen people actually try this, lolz)
03-02-2011 10:06:38 | More by Amdy
Tustin Brewing Company in Tustin, CA
84 out of 100 based on 37 ratings.