Backstreet Brewery / Lamppost Pizza

Backstreet Brewery / Lamppost PizzaBackstreet Brewery / Lamppost Pizza
Backstreet Brewery / Lamppost PizzaBackstreet Brewery / Lamppost Pizza
Brewery, Bar, Eatery

14450 Culver Drive
Irvine, California, 92604
United States

(949) 857-0160 | map

View: Beers | Place Reviews
Reviews: 13 | Ratings: 18 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

3/5  rDev -11%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3

Before heading over to watch fellow BA PMR brew some beer and share in his incredible stash of brews, I hooked up with BA Swillinbrew and decided to hit up a few local establishments.

After the Tustin Brewing Company, the second visit was to be the Back Street Brewery in Irvine. Classic strip mall appearance, it’s situated near to the Wells Fargo Bank. A synergistic collaboration, the location is actually a Back Street Brewery and a Lamppost Pizza in one.

From the outside, a stepped frontage projects out a little on the left, and this is where the Back Street Brewery part of the outfit lives. To the immediate right of this is the bigger frontage of the Lamppost Pizza, each section has a dedicated entrance. An outside seating area fronts the Back Street Brewery which surrounds the entranceway.

We entered through the Lamppost Pizza entrance, and it is evident that this “half” of the operation actually takes up about 2/3rds of the total interior floor space. Opening back, stick on bare brick walls and painted walls covered in macro beer signs. The counter area lines the back wall and fronts the kitchen, like most Pizza joints. The seating is 1960’s style wall booths with fixed bench seating in the open floor area out front. To right of all this, an opening in the wall takes you into the Back Street Brewing portion, hard to miss really. A long but thin rectangular room which stretches back, the stainless steel soldiers of the Brewery are all lined up along the back right hand side wall and partially behind the bar area. The wooden bar seats around a dozen or so, and some tables and chairs fill what is left of the spaces. Looks a little cramped, and the atmosphere is a tad clinical and lifeless, plus it’s dark in here too.

Beer range was a mixed bag and a little strange, and I have to confess to taking a short time to working out what the heck was actually on sale here from the Brewery itself. A dozen, or so, taps on one T-shaped stainless steel font drop about 6-8 house beers and a few other macro brews such as Stella Artois plus the usual BMC crap. In front of all the taps are small glasses of ingredients like roasted malt and hop pellets (the water was on the Bud Tap I guess!).Above the bar a chalkboard only listed the one brew as a special, Poor Richard’s Ale, I would have been tempted to try this except for the fact that I knew it was brewed to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s birth on January 17, 2006, which was some 4 months ago! So I headed to the right of the bar and so a rather arrangement of signs all hanging together and listing the beers on sale. I recall a Red, Hefe, Blonde, Stout and something called Chava Lager (which reminded me of Chavs). No specials and no IPA either, so I opted for a Pale Ale and was given a sample before purchasing, nice touch. The Pale Ale was a bit flowery and perfumed but drank OK. Had a taste of Swillinbrews Red which was very malty. The Pint Glasses they use here are rather funky too, thin conical base which opens out to a wide rim, don’t recall seeing those before. Prices were keen to, just $3.48 for a Pint.

Food is……well, next door and there are no surprises on the Menu. The Lamppost Pizza Website provides all the details you need to know.

Service was a little slow, for example it was a short time before the server appeared, though the chap at the Pizza counter did acknowledge that we were waiting and told us he would get some one to serve us shortly.

Maybe I hit the place on an off-day, and it was quiet and rather slow, plus we had no “specials” to choose from, so all in a rather average visit so marks are posted accordingly. But I have heard better things about the Back Street Brewery beer quality, and indeed the range of styles on offer here in the past 6 months. I don’t feel too bad posting the marks I have, because I will be back to share a brew or two with Swillinbrew when the opportunity affords it, and I can re-review at that time. I’m looking forward to trying some of the specials from here also.

Thanks again to Swillinbrew for the ride out here. Much appreciated Sir. I guess I will just have to get back here in the near future! ;-)

May 28, 2006
More User Reviews:
Photo of Gobzilla
Gobzilla from California

3.61/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Feb 14, 2019
Photo of Lucnifter
Lucnifter from California

3.82/5  rDev +13.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

Mar 20, 2017
Photo of fthegiants
fthegiants from California

3.25/5  rDev -3.6%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.25 | food: 3.25

Jan 06, 2017
Photo of AlexM
AlexM from California

3/5  rDev -11%

Sep 10, 2014
Photo of Rollzroyce21
Rollzroyce21 from California

2.75/5  rDev -18.4%

Jun 11, 2014
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downhilldrift from Arizona

3.73/5  rDev +10.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

This place is right around the corner from where I used to go to high school, and since being back this place hasn't changed much. The outside of the shopping center got a complete face-lift, but everything on the inside looks the same. It's connected to a Lamppost Pizza, which has great pizza, but as for as food selection goes, it's pretty limited. During the day, the people running the pizza place are also the bartenders, and when it gets a little bit more crowded they have guys actually working the bar. It's a smaller bar with outside seating, but still pretty limited bar. It's kind of a sports bar with the TVs around, but still pretty humble. Good stop if you're roaming around Irvine at lunchtime.

Dec 23, 2011
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womencantsail from California

3.64/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

This is sort of a cool idea for a brewpub. It's pretty much your regular local pizza place that happens to brew their own beer (a lot of it, too).

If you're facing the front of the building from the outside, the pizza parlor is to the right and the bar area is to the left (with some outside seating on the bar side of the place). They have quite a few taps, and on this occasion, had 10 house beers available.

The beers ran the gamut from putrid to good, as you might expect from a brewpub. Probably the best beer on this day happened to be the ER IPA, with the obvious worst being the Cream Ale.

We didn't have any food as we had just eaten a short while before. But the pizzas looked and smelled really good.

It's not a destination, but if you're near a Lamppost Pizza/Back Street location, you might consider stopping in for some food and beer.

Sep 18, 2010
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Dogbrick from Ohio

3.64/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Lamppost/Back Street is located on Culver drive not too far from I-5 in a strip mall, and I actually had trouble finding it the first time I went by. Parking is plentiful in the lot.

The outside is not much to look at (which is why I almost missed it), and there is a small patio. The interior is segmented into a bar and a pizza place. The bar is on the left and runs almost the whole length of the place. You can almost reach the beer tanks from the bar. They use a chalkboard conveniently hung right across from the bar seats to show what they have.

The beer selection is decent. Back Street has 7-8 beers on draught including a couple seasonals, and they are available in a sampler. The beers are above average for the most part.

Service was good on weekday evening. The bartender was friendly and able to explain the beers available.

We did not try any food on this visit.

Overall I don't think Pizza Port will ever feel
threatened by this place but it's a decent stop in the Irvine area.

Jul 18, 2008
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DoubleJ from Wisconsin

3.53/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I recently was relocated to work in Irvine for some time, and lo and behold, Back Street Brewery sits right next door to where I work. (Update: Not anymore, as I got transfered away). It's a pizza place and brewpub combination, been there, done that. But one aspect surprised me during my visit, which we'll get to later.

On one side it's a pizza parlor (Lamppost Pizza), whereby the bar sits on the other side of this combo establishment. Kind of drab inside and you have to turn your head to see the TV's if you're sitting at the bar. The service was alright, the bartender who served me was young and competent, but nothing amazing. They had about 8 house brews on tap with half of them being labled as "Brewer's Reserve", whatever that means. And the surprise I discovered here? They have several guest beers, with some of them being very good and rare brews to find on draft. During my visit, they had Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA, Leffe Brune, Lindemans Frambroise, and most suprising, The Abyss.

I didn't try the hose brews this time, but since I work next door, I'm sure I'll be back to find out. Now I need to find a way to get longer breaks at my workplace so I can sneak in a beer during that time.

(Update: Came back for the pizza. The pizza is okay, but also a bit expensive for what you get. In addition, there are a lot of house beers which are made throughout the year, from Coffee Stouts and Imperial Wheats to Dark Rye Beer.)

Jun 01, 2008
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charlzm from California

2.25/5  rDev -33.2%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2 | selection: 2 | food: 3

Visited on Monday, 04/14/08 about 11:30am.

As has been described by previous posters, the place is your typical old-school pizza place: long wooden benches and flat screen TVs showing every ESPN channel everywhere you look.

My friend and I ordered a pizza and beer from the main counter. The fellow who took our order didn't make it clear that we were to go to the bar to pick up our beer order, so we waited a while for it. When we finally went to the bar, the guy there didn't know we had ordered the sampler. It was a confused time.

The food did come fairly quickly. We had just sat down to enjoy our pizza and beer when the floodgates opened and no less than 40 high school kids made the room into their own cafeteria. They stayed almost an hour.

The pizza was average taste and expensive. The brewery normally has seven of its own beers on draft. They were out of two. The ones left were a cream ale, an American wheat, a pilsener, an IPA and a Tripel, none of which were very good. No stouts, porters, browns or reds/ambers. At least they had Deschuttes Abyss as a guest tap. And I could have always fallen back on a Guinness, I suppose. They also had Pizza Port Wipeout IPA.

In summary: if drinking poorly made beers in a high school cafeteria while eating epensive but only average pizza and being forced to watch ESPN sounds like your thing, then you have found your place.

Apr 15, 2008
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t0rin0 from California

3.78/5  rDev +12.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

This place seemed kinda out of place for being right in the middle of Irvine. The main dinning room had a bunch of long benches and a counter where you could order pizza. The bar area was basically just a counter in front of the fermenters. It was pretty buisy when we went in on a friday night.

We didn't try the food but the pizzas looked good, can't say much more about it than that. We tried the beer sampler of everything they make. It was actually 2 samplers of 6 different beers. Didn't think much of the hefe, the regular pale and IPA were alright. The coffee beer might be popular with the coffee drinkers but I personally didn't like it much. Basically the beers are decent but not much more.

The service was pretty good; the bartender and the waitress were pretty helpful. I enjoyed the place and will probably stop in again at some point. We spent $34 on 24 samples of beer and 2 pint glasses + tip. Not bad.

Nov 18, 2007
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koolchas from California

3.3/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

after dozens of visits at the main st. brewery/lamppost in corona, i finally made it to back street brewery/lamppost in irvine.

on walking in, i noticed this place is very different than corona. the pizza menu is the same, but the brews are very different (by name and taste). come to find out by the bartender, the corona location is a "franchise" so, the main street brewery has autonomy to do what they want vs. the back street breweries who follow corporate guidelines.

on to the brew ... i tried a belgian double and an ipa. both tasted very "light." my wife had the hefe and that too tasted very "light." overall, ok brews, but i put the main street brewery in corona steps ahead. so, by using main street as a comparison, the two breweries just don't compare with main street being far superior than back street imho. the brews at main street are more flavorful, more bold, and just overall better tasting. so with that, i was a bit disappointed with the back street just because my expectations were so high. also, what i found odd is that many of the people in the bar area (inside and outside patio) were drinking glass after glass and pitcher after pitcher of bud and bud light.

the pizza ... as said it is pretty much the same menu, but like the brews even the pizza seems a bit better in corona. crust was much thinner here vs. corona, but toppings were on par.

as for atmosphere, this location is low-key. the bar area is somewhat separated from the pizza area. the pizza area has booths on the peremeter with long tables in the middle. flat screens line the walls with a very, very small game area for the kids.

it's a good option for those who live in the area, but if not in the area or living there, i personally would not seek it out or make a special long haul trip just to go here.

Nov 12, 2007
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claytri from Maryland

3.53/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

I was in Irvine for business and popped brewpub in the VZNavigator. This was the closest non-chain brewpub that came out. So I headed that direction. Easy time finding the mall, but tough time finding the actual brewery as it's in a back corner. And I was very glad I did find it. I had a great round of beers and very good pizza. The menu was basic pizzeria, and the prices were quite reasonable. Good crust, sauce and cheese made a very nice pie. The staff was friendly and somewhat knowlegable about the beer. Mainly students for staff so it's pretty informal, and not the level you'd expect at a top restaraunt. But then it's a pizza place in a strip mall that makes some pretty nice beer as well.

Sep 22, 2007
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chelovek from California

3.44/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

Stumbled across this place, almost literally after having previously been at Hollingshead for a couple of pints. The brewery is set inside a split establishment, half Pizza half brewery, the place itself is in an active mini mall by the Ralhps. Not much for ambiance but I couldnt care less when the coversation was good and I was seated at the bar. Good representations of the different styles, pretty tastey porter and IPA. Both were extremely fresh as one would hope. Folks at the bar were really nice and the pints were cheap. A good stop and a pleasant surprise to come across.

Jun 01, 2007
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blitheringidiot from Pennsylvania

3.3/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 4

*** Great selection + great beer makes up for all other aspects***
Checked this place out on a foggy Tuesday. Split into brewpub on the left and family pizzeria to the right. My butt went right to the bar and ordered up an stellar IPA that was dan near the best IPA ever tasted. Counting ten beers that are brewpub fresh and some guest taps like Stone Oak Aged.

Clean ambiance with a bare bones style motif of chrome tanks behind the bar and about ten stools at the bar. Easy to read board of regular beers and special new releases was helpful.

Beers: Pilsner, ESB, Cream Ale, and specials like RIS, IPA, Smoked Lager (wow!) and Belgian Dark.

Could you take Mom here? I'm gonna say No, 'cos Mom would be bored with down to basics style and the menu of pizza pizza and more pizza...but I dug it ok.

Last call: Great beers, ok ambiance and the servers were asleep at the switch! Wake up and have a brew!

Feb 07, 2007
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IntriqKen from California

3.44/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Fun brew-pub attached to a Lampost Pizza. Entering the Pizza Parlor on the Right is a typical family pizza house but through the opening on the left is the Back Street Brewery Brew-Pub.
Backstreet offers a limited selection of 6 or 7 different standard beers (a red, a pale, an IPA, a bitter, a stout, etc) and occassionally a seasonal brew. The bitter was really nice and on the realm of being an authentic bitter. The seasonal selection this visit was a Swartzbier and while very light, it was also very enjoyable...not too sweet...a fault often found in brew pubs trying to imitate this style.
Fun, low key brew pub.

Jun 26, 2006
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SwillinBrew from California

3.58/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

I'm finally going to write a review because this place is finally worthy of some visits,... and it's getting better (new brewers and all). If i wrote a review last year, it would have been all 2's.

Back Street Brewing is a small brewery inside a Lampost Pizza. As you walk in the brewery area and bar are to the left. There is also a small patio and some TV's. Nothing fancy, just functional. The mash tuns are behind the bar. They could do something to make the place seem a bit warmer.

The service is really good. I've been going about once every other week for the past two months and i'm served up quick and with a smile. The bartendress has been really cool and doesnt hesitate to give copious amounts of whatever brew i want to sample. Awesome. Last night I sipped some brews with IceAce and talked with Dave the new brewer, nice guy.

The selection has improved greatly... that's probably because they've gone thru several brewers in the last year. Thank god 'cause this place used to basically suck. Well, maybe i shouldnt say that but it was nothing to write home about. Now Dave the new brewer has some maibock, dunkelweisse, and hopped wheat - think Stone 9th and a saisson is in the works. This is great. Not to mention their belgian experiment with the Larry, Moe and Curley. I see great beers on the horizon if the pace continues here.

The food is all right, pizza, jalapeno poppers, hot wings, etc. Not great, but not bad. however, they do have some good happy hour prices. Well, it'll get you by.

I'm going to be keeping an eye on this place. Dave has some great things in the works and it keeps improving. Once thing they really need to do is update their webpage because it is sooo old. Stop by here if you get a chance. It's much better than it used to be and it improves daily.

EDIT: Changing atmosphere to 3.5 from 3. I cant put my finger on it but the vibe seems to have warmed up some. Maybe it's because i know the staff more and they sit and talk with me, i know more of the locals, sharing pints with IceAce and BruinEric, not sure but seems a tad higher now that i've been going consistently for over a year now.

Nov 11, 2005
Backstreet Brewery / Lamppost Pizza in Irvine, CA
Brewery rating: 3.43 out of 5 with 145 ratings