Steelhead Brewing Co.

Steelhead Brewing Co.Steelhead Brewing Co.
Steelhead Brewing Co.Steelhead Brewing Co.
Brewery, Eatery

4175 Campus Drive
Irvine, California, 92612
United States

// CLOSED //

View: Beers | Place Reviews
Reviews: 26 | Ratings: 27 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
TheLongBeachBum from California

3.66/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

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.

Oct 12, 2006
More User Reviews:
Photo of SudsSurfer
SudsSurfer from California

3.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Nov 19, 2013
Photo of abrethanson
abrethanson from California

2.34/5  rDev -34.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 1 | service: 3.25 | selection: 2.5

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.

Aug 25, 2013
Photo of BeerEngineer
BeerEngineer from California

3.69/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

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.

Jun 30, 2013
Photo of timmtime

3.83/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

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.

Oct 16, 2012
Photo of Oisin
Oisin from California

2.96/5  rDev -16.6%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5

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.

Jun 22, 2012
Photo of ndolover
ndolover from Minnesota

3.3/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

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!

Jan 11, 2012
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ from Wisconsin

3.64/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

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.

Jan 29, 2010
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler from Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3

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.

Aug 21, 2008
Photo of Dogbrick
Dogbrick from Ohio

3.83/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

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.

Jul 18, 2008
Photo of

3.6/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

Stopped in while on business in Irvine.

Atmosphere was that of a chain/sports bar. Very large seating area, fairly loud, lots of TV's. Clean and comfortable, but a little too sterile for my taste.

Quality was fine. Food and beer both were in good condition, just not terribly impressive.

Service was prompt and knowledgeable. No issues.

Selection was lacking a bit. They had probably half a dozen beers on, and they were out of their IPA, which my friend said was their best beer. Oh well. Tried the Pale Ale and the Amber, neither of which was memorable. Not bad, just not anything special.

Food was pretty good, a notch above typical pub fare.

Value wise, a bit pricey, but it is California.

Overall, if you are in the area, it's not a bad place to stop. If you have some time though, Pizza Port isn't that far away....

Jul 01, 2008
Photo of charlzm
charlzm from California

4.22/5  rDev +18.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Visited mid-afternoon on Monday, 04/21/08.

Reading back through previous reviews, I can only assume that this place either has a new brewmaster or the management's attitude towards beer has changed. Ony of my friends told me I am a harsh beer critic, and I think he's pretty much right. So I'm as surprised as anyone when I really like a brewpub's offerings.

As far as atmosphere, it's depressingly similar to most brewpubs. Yes, there are lots and lots of flatscreen TVs tuned to sports channels. Red brick walls and dark wood? Check.

During my visit, there were mostly professionals having lunch, though I did notice a hedonistic couple enjoying some beers.

I found the food to be tasty (a friend and I split a nacho plate that was too much for the two of us to finish and was quite delicious to boot) and the service to be friendly and attentive.

I wound up wearing my friend's pint of stout after he reached a little clumsily for one of my tasters. They quickly moved us to a new table while cleaning up the mess AND they gave him another pint at no charge without even asking.

The vibe was relaxed and comfortable. For a place I assumed was going to be run of the mill with weak beers based on what I had read here, I was very happy to find it a cut or two above what I thought I was going to get. I would very much go back to this place anytime I'm down that way and recommend it to my beery friends.

As far as brewpubs in the LA area, only BJ's has a better variety of better-tasting beers.

Apr 25, 2008
Photo of Vansmack
Vansmack from California

3.05/5  rDev -14.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2

From the second you walk into this place, you feel really uncomfortable. I'm not really sure what's going on in there, but it's not what I expected from the outside. The bar is kinda dead and boring.

The food there is a little overpriced and the quality of it isn't all that great. The only thing that I think is worth it is the chili. Order a nice tall Hef and drink it down!

The beers on tap were just ok. I have to say, it would not be at the top of my list as far as breweries go.

Everyone is different though... so personally I wouldn't go back.

hope that helps. doubt it

Mar 16, 2008
Photo of Floydster
Floydster from California

2.58/5  rDev -27.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 2.5 | food: 2

Went here with friends after the UC Irvine baseball game today, located in a shopping center near an In and Out Burger, looks fancy from the outside, chalkboard on the right hand wall with the different beers being offered at that time, first thing that caught my eye, place is very clean and had a pretty relaxed atmosphere, the bar area does not seem to separate itself very well from the rest of the restaraunt, random group of people in here with students, businessmen, families, beer fanatics like myself, service was not good at all, took a long time to get beer, had to walk up to the bar in the first place because the waitresses took over fifteen minutes to ask us if we wanted drinks, one of the guys working there was a jerk when we asked if we could move tables because we had more people coming, slow on refills for the people not drinking beer, only six beers on tap that included five of their own and Sierra Nevada ESB, their beers were an oatmeal stout, india pale ale, amber ale, blonde, and hefeweizen, nobody was impressed with the taste of their beers and the IPA was probably the best offering they had, my pints were $3.50 each, I will also post reviews for the two beers I sampled here, ordered a variety of food and none of it was really good and was rather expensive, we all tried the calamari, spinach and artichoke dip, a few different wood fired pizzas, quesdilla, fish and chips, and a bbq chicken salad, you could get a growler to go for twenty dollars but none of their beer was good enough to do this in my opinion, also sold glassware for four dollars, brewer Eddie Leaf offers beer tastings on the fourth Wednesday of every month for four dollars, would not go back to this place with Anthill right around the corner on the actual campus, I guess it is worth checking out once but do not expect too much

Mar 02, 2008
Photo of t0rin0
t0rin0 from California

3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

Went here last friday to try the beers but I stayed for a while and had a few pints. The parking lot was packed and between driving around pedestrians and waiting for SUVs to back out of their parking spots ever so slowly it took about 10 minutes of driving around to get a spot.

The girl at the front door was real nice and so was the bartender. We sat at the bar and my roomate ordered some appetizers. They were good but along with the beer everything was a bit pricey. I started with the sampler and liked one or two of them but for the most part the beer was nothing special. The over all atmosphere was good, plenty of people but quiet enough to enjoy the place. There were some nice plasma tvs on the wall.

Overall it was a decent place to go if you happen to be in the area but there are plenty of better places to go if you want to sample great beer or great food.

Nov 10, 2007
Photo of koolchas
koolchas from California

3.48/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3

went here on a recent saturday w/the family for lunch. actually, the place was not hard to find for me but, we did have a problem getting parking right away. this was due the fact a farmer's market was going on in the parking lot. the parking lot was packed and people were just walking everywhere.

inside the place is nice. it was quite empty when there so were sat at a table with some big soft chairs.

i had the ucipa and the lady got a sampler. the "seasonal" was a pilsner. overall, i thought the brews were "middle of the road." the ucipa seems a bit week for my tastes although with the brew being unfiltered, it did have an interesting unique flavor to it. but, in the end, i was not impressed with their brews enough to make say, hey, let's go back!

i'd also say the food was average too. we ordered nachos and could have just ate that since it was huge. i had a bbq pizza, the lady fish tacos, and my boy had kid's pepperoni pizza which actually was the same size as mine. all edible but, again, just "ok."

the menu and format of the place is pretty much like bj's to me. but, bj's is way better in every aspect imho.

i will say steelhead is worth a visit but, don't go out of way to get there. if in the area and want to try something new then, go for it.

Jun 10, 2007
Photo of Rezzin
Rezzin from California

3.1/5  rDev -12.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Stopped by for lunch today and decided to throw in a review. The decor is modern, with plenty of dark wood and several large TV's including a few flat screens above the bar. We sat a table and tried the sampler. The usual lineup with a espresso stout, an amber ale, blonde, german and american hefe, and an IPA. All of the samplers were average at best with the exception of the espresso stout - it was defintely a cut above the rest. The food was average at best. The service was average at best. This place is average at best. The decor is their only saving grace.

Aug 27, 2006
Photo of blitheringidiot
blitheringidiot from Pennsylvania

3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

*** OK to good beer and huge restaurant ***
Driving up to Steelhead takes a bit of meandering through a parking lot but it's back there a bit. Clean new and shiny building it is. Of course they are peddling their swag right at the front door like a good little capitalist should. Head to the left to the bar and observe the chalkboard to the right that updates you with beers and brewdates. Steelhead is a restaurant first and applause for a brewpub afterwards. About 15 seats at the bar and a huge restaurant onto the other side. Modern vibe of dark wood bar back, stone and neat new construction.

Props to the German ceramic swig-top .53 gallon growlers and their unique gallon cubes. Refills are reasonably priced. Also, smart thinking with nights like $1 taco Mondays, and $5 pizza, $2 draft home beer Tuesdays.

Service consisted of the designated "hot chick" bartender that paid attention to us when our glasses were empty. She did her job when she had to. But didn't really show any other interest in much.

They only had five beers on tap: Baracuda Blonde (tacky malty), Hairy Weasel Hefeweizen (full bodied clean wheat), Espresso Stout (decent), U.C.I.P.A. (bright fresh fruit!) and Rhine Red (Bold grainy hoppy).

The best beer was either the cleverly named U.C.I.P.A. and the Rhino Red.

Grubbage is standard pub far of burgers, pasta, salads and pizza. I opted for the BBQ chicken pizza so that the leftovers would be my hung over breakfast since a lot of drinking was on the agenda. Get the Thai Chicken Pizza. Goood!

Could you bring your Mother here? Yes, without a doubt. Clean bathroom and funny swag merchandise display at the bathrooms.

Last call: Worth a shot if it's convenient, and worht a trip within reason to this instalment in the Steelhead chain of three brewpubs. Thank goodness it is only 2.5 miles from my hotel. Try the IPA or the red.

Aug 21, 2006
Photo of IntriqKen
IntriqKen from California

3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Convienently located across the street from UCI.
Very spacious interior and nice outside patio area.
Food selection was really nice for a brew pub and servings were ample.
I only had the appitizer sampler platter but it was lots and good.
$6 for nice sized samplers of all their brews (only 5 on tap right now).
Beers were surprisingly good....
The Blonde Ale and Hef seem to share the same biscuity yeast ... the red was very full bodied and flavorful....their IPA (named after the nearby college...UCIPA) was fresh and hoppy and their Coffee Stout was reminiscent of Lagunitas Cappiccino Stout.
Beautiful decor...friendly staff...good service.
A nice feature is the large clean chalkboard on one wall that lists their brews with the date brewed and whether they are on tap yet.
I've found myself a new hangout.

Aug 20, 2006
Photo of IceAce
IceAce from California

3.83/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This is a roomy place with an open room design and the bar / restrooms to the left as you enter. Lotsa booths, regular tables for four and high-tops in the bar area. The brewery is located behind the bar and is visible through a glass wall.

There is a large brewers schedule on the east wall which shows:

* Current draught beers available
* The date the draught beers were tapped(!)
* Upcoming beers and expected arrival date

Brewer Eddie Leal conducts Beer Appreciation Night every month on the fourth Wednesday at 7:00 PM. Tickets are $12.00/person and includes both Beer Sampling and a Brewery Tour.

Two liter Growlers and Gallon Cubes are available and discounts are offered on both packages on Sunday and Monday nights.

Irvine's state-of-the art 15-barrel brewery has a production capacity of 141 barrels a month or 1,695 barrels per year and this location has plenty of free parking.

Sep 08, 2005
Photo of rowew
rowew from Colorado

3.55/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Stopped in for a late lunch on Saturdary. Not too crowded, so we grabbed a table in the bar area. Nice large area with a good sized bar, and high ceilings. Also had a medium sized patio off to one side. They had a chalkboard with all their current and upcoming brews, as well as the tapping date. On tap were their 5 offerings and Spaten Bock. Food was decent, but nothing to write home about. Same can be said for the service. The beers were mostly tasty, but nothing memorable or outstanding.

Decent brewpub, but I won't be going out of my way to go back.

Apr 03, 2005
Photo of Boilermaker88
Boilermaker88 from California

3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Located adjacent to the UC-Irvine campus, this brewpub was where my brother and I grabbed a couple pints and dinner after watching "Gunner Palace."
The interior was large and had high ceilings which made the place same quite large. A large bar dominated the left wall, behind which was the brewing room. A large number of tables were available, including some which had really comfortable wing-back chairs. A large chalkboard was on the wall to the left rear, listing the beers available.
The year-round offerings are their hefeweizen, a blonde ale, IPA, and red ale. They had as rotating offerings a dry stout and double IPA. The IPA was quite good but the hefeweizen (really an American wheat ale) was pretty shabby. My brother had a pint of the blonde and liked it pretty well.
The food on the menu was varied and covered everything from salads to burgers to pizzas to pasta to seafood and steaks. The portions were substantial and the prices were decent. The service was polite and prompt. The bartender didn't short us on our beers, loading them up to the rim.
I only tried two brews and was impressed with the IPA. A larger selection might be nice. Nevertheless, Steelhead would be a decent place to go if the family was in tow.

Mar 14, 2005
Photo of KingSlender
KingSlender from California

3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

This is a great brewery located right on the UCI campus. Everytime that I've been to Steelhead they've had a very good selection of various types of brew. My favorite is the IPA and I've also had some seasonals that were pretty good. The best aspect of this brewery though is the atmosphere. Very wide open, tons of mohogany, and big cushy chairs. Perfect for kicking back and enjoying a cold one with some buds. I've never had the food here but I've heard some very good things about it. This is a great stop on the way to a concert over at Verizon Amphitheater.

Feb 05, 2004
Photo of SwillinBrew
SwillinBrew from California

4/5  rDev +12.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

This is a nice cheery place with some good food and drink. The atmosphere was casual with a good mix of a college crowd, from UCI across the street, and some other folks. Quality was solid and better than what expected of brewpub food. The jamablaya I had was excellent and a rather large portion. I also shared some nachos which were piled high with all sorts of goodness. The service was exceptionally friendly. I was here for a beer tasting and brewmaster Eddie Leal was just a down to earth cool guy, very friendly, talk to him and he'll give you a tour of the brewery. He also snuck us a pitcher of a blond and a stout that he hadnt released yet... both were excellent, but i'll rate those on a beer rating. The selection was as you'd expect of a brewpub. There was an IPA, red ale, porter, wheat and a spiced winter ale to name a few. However, i'm coming back next week to get some of the blond and stout i mentioned earlier. Food, great selection, large portions, flavorful and reasonably priced. This is an all around nice place to stop for some vittles and a good pint or 3.

Jan 29, 2004
Photo of ChappyCubsFan
ChappyCubsFan from California

4.13/5  rDev +16.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Here's a fun brewpub to visit located at the entrance to the University of California, Irvine campus. I've been here twice and each time it was packed with college students and business people. It sits in a shopping center so there's generally plenty of parking. As you walk in you feel like you've entered a ski lodge. There are lots of timbers and wooden panels that give the place an attractive, laid back atmosphere. There are also several couches in the middle of the room where many students sit reading and drinking coffee (or beer). Each of the beers I've tasted were good..not exceptional in my opinion, but good. Although I do know they've won several medals at the GABF. The pint glass I purchased lists several of them. They have many seasonal beers, and I like the fact that they have a large display board near the bar that lists what beers are on tap. I've had their pizza once and a burger the second time I was here. Each of these two eating experiences was good. This is a good brewpub. I recommend it. I just wish the one at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco had not closed down.

Jan 03, 2004
Steelhead Brewing Co. in Irvine, CA
Brewery rating: 3.13 out of 5 with 0 ratings