Tustin Brewing Company
Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 32 | Display Reviews Only:
3.56/5 rDev -3%
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
Tustin Brewing Company in Tustin, CA
84 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.