Z: One chilly night in December our friends Jan and Julian joined us to experience a little brew and some tasty eats at the brewery, one that's devoted to sustainability, fresh ingredients, and support of the local community. And what a pleasant surprise it was to discover it's not the tiny little pub we had expected! Rather, the spacious locale offers four giant-size dining areas, each informal and uniquely different. One of Golden Road's support efforts is to donate a portion of the proceeds from sales of Heal the Bay IPA to the well-known environmental non-profit organization Heal the Bay in Santa Monica.
R: Though it was only 6:30 in the evening, the indoor pub area was packed and buzzing with happy chatter. All the tables in the covered patio area were also taken, but that was no problem. There was plenty of seating on the outdoor patio and heaters to keep the diners warm. We were invited to choose a table and told a server would be with us shortly.
Z: Just as promised, Steven, a very knowledgeable server, arrived quickly and assisted us in selecting just the right beer. In winter the brewery offers a few of the darker brews like stouts or porters, while in summer the focus is on IPA's. I chose the Get Up Offa That Brown, a smoky brown English-style ale served in a tall glass. Reuben found temptation in a full-bodied Schwartz Stout, a dark beer that arrived in a rather shapely glass. Julian ordered the 329 Days of Sun Lager, while Jan selected Point the Way IPA.
R: Julian asked Steven to bring us the Pub Pretzel appetizer for sharing. It's hard to imagine that a pretzel could be eye-popping, but this voluptuous, twisted, golden-brown pretzel was so gigantic it filled the entire dinner plate and was accompanied with two sauces for dipping. Steven brought us a vegan cashew-based sauce along with spicy brown mustard. What a fun treat it was to tear off chunks of the soft pretzel and plunge pieces into the tasty sauces!
Z: While waiting for our sandwiches, we learned the brewery offers more than 20 beers on tap, most made there, along with three or four guest beers. The menu is not all vegan but offers several totally vegan items, along with many flexible items that can be made vegan with ease. Soon our sandwiches arrived. Julian's Fried A.L.T. was a battered, deep-fried avocado, tomato, and lettuce sandwich tucked into a long baguette slathered with sun-dried tomato aioli. Nestled next to his A.L.T. was a generous serving of potato salad. All the sandwiches and burgers come with a choice of green salad, fries, potato salad, or penne pasta salad. He described his first delicious bite of sandwich as a pleasingly crunchy avocado mouthful that soon became soft and creamy on the inside.
R: I loved my Tomato Caprese Panini served on large slices of sourdough bread. Inside was a succulent blending of Roma tomatoes, basil pesto, and Daiya vegan mozzarella served with a tiny cup of balsamic reduction. It's an inspired medley of flavors and the sandwich stayed nice and hot, in spite of the chilly outdoors. The delicious potato salad was my choice, too.
Z: Jan's Vegan Pulled Pork Sandwich was served on a baguette with slow-cooked spicy jackfruit taking the place of pork. The sandwich was heaping with shredded carrots, pickled red onions, chopped green onions, and Chinese cabbage and delivered a mild curry flavor with a spicy edge. Jan chose fries with ketchup for dipping.
R: Zel's Southwest Vegan Burger was served on an onion roll with a soft risotto and barley patty tucked inside. Layered over the patty were roasted red peppers, red onion, sweet corn, cilantro, and green chiles with chipotle aioli to give the sandwich a little spicy kick. And since she's a committed potato salad lover, she couldn't pass up the opportunity to enjoy this well-seasoned salad accented with crisp bits of red and green bell peppers and flavored with delicate hints of mustard and mustard seeds.
Z: Because of the extensive variety of vegan offerings and changing menu of craft brews, Golden Road Brewing is a place one could easily return to many times. We loved our pretzel starter and discovered there's even a dessert pretzel. Next time we might choose fried roman artichokes, stuffed mushrooms, hearts of palm ceviche, or baked mac 'n' cheese. Vegans could also order the Ban Mi or Classic Vegan Burger from the sandwich section.
R: We plan to come with friends on the weekend for brunch and enjoy some of their vegan offerings and a glass of brew. Next time we'll even save room for a Brownie Sundae or Dessert Pretzel. We noticed people going into an area at the end of the patio and decided to explore after dinner. Tucked into the side of the building was the fourth dining area, a long, narrow room lined with tables and happy faces. Jan remarked that it reminded her of the beer halls she visited while traveling in Germany.
Z: The informality of each of the nooks and crannies was compelling, and we found joyful conviviality of the diners very contagious. There was even a little nook in the main room where people could buy Golden Road T-shirts, jackets, Frisbees, caps, tote bags, and coffee cups.
R: We found good value at Golden Road, and there's even a kids menu offering a burger, grilled cheese, or pasta. Starters range from $3 to $9. Salads $9 to $14. Sandwiches and Burgers $8 to $10.50. Lasagna $11. Desserts $5. Brunch $7 to $8.
Z: The size of the pub and its delightful menu wasn't the only surprise of the evening. As we were enjoying our first sips of brew, we heard a shockingly loud whistle blast, immediately followed by a train passing by. Just behind the row of tall hedges along one side of the building and parking lot is a train track that carries several trains across Los Angeles throughout the day and night. At least three trains came by during our visit. The trains just added local color that made the experience more memorable. Each time the train whistle blasted, we giggled.
Golden Road Brewing
Reviewed January 2015