California Brewing Company

Brewery, Eatery

100 West Main Street
Alhambra, California, 91801
United States

// CLOSED //

View: Beers | Place Reviews
Reviews by Boilermaker88:
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Boilermaker88 from California

3.14/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3

I finally stopped by CBC with a couple non-BA buddies. It's located at the corner of Main and 1st in Alhambra in a revitalized area loaded with shops and restaurants. Think Old Town Pasadena moved south.
California Brewing Co. has an L-shaped layout with a smallish bar and a lot of small tables. The entire north and east outer walls are glass so the place seems pretty big but, in reality, isn't. To the left of the bar are the four tanks housing the beers currently on tap.
CBC had eight taps running, four with the house beers (a blonde, a hefeweizen, a red, and an IPA) and four others running Bud Light, John Courage amber, Newcastle, and...well, I can't recall the last one. They also had about a dozen bottled beers, all macros, so overall the selection suffered a bit.
The gal tending the bar was quite nice and fun to talk to but she didn't even know what beers were on what taps. The taps weren't labeled and she couldn't tell which had the IPA and which was the red. Still, she offered prompt service and let us sample the lot. The prices were pretty much "industry standard" at $4.75 a pint but we got there during happy hour so pints were $2.50.
Okay, the beers. I went with a hefeweizen to start. Pretty average, vainly trying to come off as a German hefe but missing the banana-and-clove signature aroma and taste. Kinda thin and watery, too. So...on to the IPA. Hmm, more like a straight pale ale, West Coast style. Or an English IPA. Definitely not a big, burly, hop-monster American IPA. I passed on the food as we had other places to get to.
Overall, as a BA, I wasn't all that impressed with CBC. However, it could work as a decent place to go with some non-BA pals so they won't be all intimidated by some hard to pronounce foreign beers or rock-their-palate American brews. It's the kiddie pool of brewpubs.

May 24, 2005
More User Reviews:
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charlzm from California

1.95/5  rDev -37.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 1 | service: 2 | selection: 2 | food: 3.5

Visited on Monday, 03/03/08 between lunch and dinner.

Located in downtown Alhambra, CBC doesn't have its own parking lot, but there is plenty of metered street parking within a block or two.

The space inside is L shaped: the top of the L contains a moderate sized bar with some tables for additional seating. The ubiquitous flat screens bearing sports stare down from around this area.

The bottom half of the L is table seating with waiter service. There is also a patio right along Main Street, where I chose to sit on this temperate day.

There was exactly one waiter for the entire place. In fairness, there were only three or four tables, but he wasn't seasoned enough to be able to handle this very well. His limited English skills also added to his difficulty. I actually wondered at one point if he was a busboy or dishwasher pressed into table service due to someone calling in sick or something. In his defense, he did his best and smiled a lot.

There was also one bartender, but she had her hands full with about half a dozen at the bar who seemed to be regulars.

My meal came in a relatively short time; I ordered a Cobb salad and I have no complaints about the food. It was perfectly adequate.

I ordered the beer sampler as well. This is the heart of the matter: if a brewpub doesn't make good beer, then why go there? There are plenty of places that make better food and carry craft beers that aren't brewed on-premises, yes? I'm willing to forgive an awful lot of other shortcomings when it comes to brewpubs, but bad beer is the killer.

And it doesn't really get much worse than this.

All their beers were flawed in some way or another. And by flawed, I don't mean "The brewer made an interesting choice with this flavor". I mean infected or exhibiting signs of sloppy brewing.

You can check out my reviews, but the short version is this: their hefe and their blonde ranked a D+, their IPA was C+ and their red ale (very obviously infected) still managed to eke out a D.

I read on one of the forums here that they are out of business now (as of June 2008). Maybe that explains the indifference that seemed to permeate this place from top to bottom.

Jun 21, 2008
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t0rin0 from California

2.78/5  rDev -10.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 2.5 | food: 3.5

Went to Alhambra to get some stuff we found in the free section of the pennysaver and stopped here to wait for traffic to die down. The place is in a decent sized building but theres fairly limited seating on account of the fermenters taking up the majority of the space. The service averaged out to "alright". The waitress and bartender were nice enough but pretty much ignored us. The 4 of us split an order of nachos and some chicken salad. It was pretty good and the stuff we tried was decently priced but the rest of the stuff on the menu looked overpriced.

We really stopped here to try the beer. It helps when dealing with rush hour traffic on I-10. In any case the IPA was the only beer worth remembering here in my opinion. We tried 4 beers total: Blonde, Hefe, IPA, and Red. They all had a very similar, bitter/sour aftertaste. A friend of mine is convinced that their tanks are infected and should be cleaned out. I have no idea but it would explain the funky aftertaste in all the beers.

Overall, they make some alright food but I wouldn't get my hopes up on the beer.

Dec 04, 2007
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ReigninAcai from California

2.42/5  rDev -21.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 1.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 1 | food: 3

I journeyed to this establishment one fateless night with some mates to enjoy some libations of a local variety. To my chagrin, what I experienced was anything but enjoyment. Their Belgian Ale was flatter than MC Hammer's Doo in his video for "Can't Touch This". The taste wasn't just flat believe it or not, but it was also very astringent to my buds. It was as if they dropped two 500mg Tylenol Tablets in to a 16 oz glass of vinegar and called it an Ale. Two thumbs way down! Gasp*

The food was mediocre at best. The only positive I could offer this place is in their service. The waitress was very nice, and let my buddy down easy after he asked her out on a date. What a gal!

Sep 26, 2007
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Brewlore from California

2.88/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2 | service: 4 | selection: 2.5 | food: 3

Recently visited this place for lunch as some non-BA (and non beer drinkers) suggested I try it out. The atmosphere is what you would expect in an establishment such as this. We were seated rather promptly and the server gal was quite nice. I was very disappointed with the beer selection that day though. We asked for samples of each of their brews and she brought back a few samplers, none of which were labeled.

I don't know if I came on an off day but the brews weren't so hot. I opted to go with a stein of their Hefeweizen which was pretty tasty. Their Belgian Ale was very flat and had a very sour taste, almost as if the brew had gone bad particular day. Their IPA was very drinkable. Not the best I've had but the IPA and the Hefeweizen were the best of their brews.

The lunch menu was nice and the food was about average. Nothing special but the meal was rather feeling. Overall the place is decent. I probably would not go back on my own unless friends invited me.

Sep 21, 2006
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beersabound from Alaska

3.1/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

I went here with my folks for lunch on a slow Thursday afternoon. We were seated quickly and the menu had a decent variety of american food. When I asked our server about the beers they only had three taps pouring. When I asked a bottled beer list, she said we have a lot of bottled beer and that was it. I do not like this. I like a list or bottles above the bar or something to let me know what beer is in the building. We all ordered the house IPA and luch. The IPA was super cloudy and smelled of yeast. It was bitter and all but the yeast definitely detracted from the beer. Teh sandwiches and salads we ordered were tasty. When we finished our meal our plates were quickly cleared but the server did not offer dessert or a bill. Tsk tsk tsk. A couple of minutes later a different server walks by and we asked her for our bill. She quickly found our server who then produced the bill. Overall, I'd consider going back but would not go out of my way.

Mar 09, 2006
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BeerRun13 from California

2.93/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4.5

Been going to the CBC for years but haven't been in a while after moving. Stopped in for lunch the other day and things were just the way I remembered.
Small bar seats maybe about 8 - 10, but plenty other seats in the bar area. T.V.'s for sports etc. they have 6 fermenters and surounded by glass walls is the mash tun and boil kettle.
They have many different beers, or at least did at one time. They looked like they were only serving 3 when I was there, but they did have all the signs strewn around the bar area of all their flavors.
I've always been a fan of their Red Ale... it's still good.
Food is good! They have great Buffalo Wings and a great Buffalo Chicken Sandwich. Good appetizers. Their dinners, and salads are also very good.
The manager used to be a server/bartender for the restaurant when I used to come regularly. When I told him that I was starting to brew my own beer he took me in the back and showed me all the equipment and such. He also gave me cup full of German Traditional hops that he told me to throw in to my next batch... Don't ever forget to tip your servers!
Good food, good beer, good people.

Edit: Went back again for some lunch. Some newbie bartender was behind the bar... A nice enough guy who seemed to want to make conversation, however his beer knowledge extended to "I just learned that Stout is actually a style of beer not a name? Just like there is a difference between a lager and a Budweiser."
I'm still keeping the service ranking high because he was trying, and I still get great service otherwise.
Also, now they only seem to keep a few beers in rotation, and they aren't that great. Must be a tough market...hmph.

Mar 01, 2006
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chorizoandeggs from California

3.58/5  rDev +15.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

They've added two taps; a Courage amber and ...I think there was Newcastle. Apparently they have a few bottled beers but they have some of their own on tap. They had a red, an IPA, a blond and that is all I remember.

Their beers were good. The IPA was really sneaky. The alcohol was hidden behind some flavor however it wasn't as hoppy as some IPA's I've had. I'd drink it again for sure and was pleased. It just didn't scream "HOPS!" like some other IPA's. It would definitely be for somebody who isn't a hophead. The red was good but I went right back to the IPA.

The food is always good. I've never been disappointed. The service has always been good to me. I've heard some complaints but they aren't backed up by me. The waitresses were nice and friendly and the bartender was really nice. He slid me a couple a beers before the happy hour went down. They definitely take care of me and do their best to make me happy.

I go back consistently and I like it. Although if it wasn't for that IPA, all the other beers would put the place on the sissy side of beers.

I think I need to make a few comments on their IPA. I'm going to say that I think I like the IPA just because it has so much alcohol. It really isn't that great of an IPA as far as IPA's go. The high alcohol is not balanced to well and the hoppiness is really not there. I'd have to say that it is more like a barleywine, and not a very good one at that. It will get you loaded quickly and that really steals from the drinkability as far as I'm concerned. After hitting Lucky Baldwins and putting down a few more IPA's and Barleywines, I'm needing to change my opinion. Sorry! I don't know what their brewer is thinking but his beers really aren't that good. I tried this blond thing they had and it was really...uh...BAD! But they do treat me well there.

OK! Now they've changed the recipe on the IPA. They have brought down the alcohol on the IPA which has made it a much more balanced beer and quite good as far as IPA's go. I'm not too hip on their other beers but that IPA is delicious. I still get great service there. The Courage Amber is gone, which is fine because I'm not too fond of that beer either. I wish they had a few more choices in the beer category; maybe a belgian or a california style brown. I think this place would do good with some California style beers; browns, pales, etc. Oh well! It is close to the house and I love the people that work there.

Apr 09, 2005
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Myk from Massachusetts

3.85/5  rDev +24.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

stoutlove, Davidbanner and myself , alongside a friend of mine walked in to the place, sat down at the bar and got immediate service. it was great. the waitress was super friendly and was pretty knowledgable about the beers on tap. it was kind of a cheap looking, like a chucky cheese. bright yellow walls with a wood ceiling. good selection of beers, ranging from light blondes to robust porters and big IPA's. the calamari was very nice as well and served very fast. didnt have anything else but it did the effect.

Mar 07, 2003
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TheLongBeachBum from California

3.83/5  rDev +23.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Attended this establishment with StoutLove77, DavidBanner and AlKayHolic last night. As you enter this Bar through a corridor from the Car Park, the BrewPub opens out to reveal a quite strange layout. The Brewery is highly visible and large stainless steel holding tanks are all around the bar, which itself is in the centre of the building. Many TV’s and two rows of seats in front of the counter, add a real Sports Bar feel to this place.

Serves a range of its own beers, with usually about 5 on tap. But it never has the full range at anyone time, as they rotate the offerings, which is great for variety, but a bit annoying when your favorite offering is not on Sale.

I tried the English Bitter which was OK, and the Porter was above average. But the very best beer by far on Sale last night was the quite awesome India Pale Ale. A *huge* beer that drinks well. After being stupid and downing two Pints of this beer in one go, it was pointed out that the IPA is 10%ABV. Nevertheless, it is highly accomplished and “Kicks Arse” big style.

California Brewing also serves food as well, which is nothing out of the normal, but it is well made, wholesome, reasonable value and accompanies the beers well.

Well worth a visit, if just for the IPA. If you get there, give my regards to the Waitress that looks like Drew Barrymore and ask why she never returned my call – LOL.

Feb 16, 2003
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stoutlove77 from Arizona

3.83/5  rDev +23.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

To be the only brewery close to home, I can't argue with that. This place is the first ever brewery I ever attended and started me on the revolution that I live now. The place is quiet, having the usual sports bar feel and catering to mostly sport events and lunch time traffic. The beers they cater are the usual suspects and the brew they make is also decent, ranging with five and maybe one special that support their list. Food is good having my favorite Hot (Dynomite) Wings. If ever out here in Alhambra and crave a brewery, this is the only one is site.

Jan 10, 2003
California Brewing Company in Alhambra, CA
Brewery rating: 0 out of 5 with 0 ratings