venturing east.

This weekend was a completely rare moment in my life where I didn't have one single predetermined plan for the weekend going into it. This never happens! And usually when it does I fill up the weekend with so many things I need a break from my break.

But this weekend I decided to hang out locally (for my sanity and my wallet). Yesterday D and I ventured to the eastside to check out Eagle Rock Brewery in (of course) - Eagle Rock.

I had the brilliant idea that taking Olympic Blvd. would be quicker and more direct that 4 separate freeways. We were jamming along fine (this being about 3pm on a Sunday) until we hit Echo Park. Gridlock traffic, so we tried a few different streets, taking us right past the actual park that is Echo Park's namesake. We hear and see a helicopter over the park saying "This is the Los Angeles Police Department. Please leave the park for your own safety." WHAT?!!?!? Cars were turning around and going the other way due to street closures, so we turned around and finally snaked our way through sidestreets (and more detours) to our destination. Ridiculous. What was going on? I have no idea even though I checked local news sources.

The outside of Eagle Rock Brewery is completely unassuming and I actually called to make sure we were at the right place. Ting (one of the owners) laughed - I guess this call is pretty standard from patrons! We went on in and we were the only two people there so we got to sit and chat with Ting while she poured us tastings of the three brews they currently have on tap, and we sat and enjoyed glasses of our favorites ($5/pint). D was a big fan of Manifesto, and my favorite was Solidarity. Manifesto was lighter with a yeasty flavor - not to sweet and a bit lemony which was refreshing. Solidarity was a very dark brew with a low alcohol content, and was surprisingly light! I love dark beers and have been known to cap a meal with a Guiness or an oatmeal stout on occasion, but those beers are usually so heavy one is plenty. Solidarity could easily be enjoyed over appetizers watching a game, and it could hold its own at dinner. It seems like local spots are lining up to get these brews on tap so luckily I have options on the westside to get some - score.

The tour of the brewery was also just us and was so neat - as much as I go wine tasting, I've never done a beer tour. Eagle Rock Brewery didn't disappoint. One fun fact: they recycle their grain out to a dairy farmer in Ontario - an eco-brewery, how LA!

We got some great local food recommendations from Ting, I bought a pint glass and we were on our way over to Oinkster for some burgers and pastrami! Apparently this joint was just featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and ohhhh lordy...the line was out the door and around the corner! TV ruins everything. But we braved the line and a mere 45 mins-1 hour later (seriously.) we had our takeout ready to go, for the 30 minute drive (freeway this time!) back to the westside. The food was definitely yum! I tried the piggy fries (no idea what's all on these but they are tasty) and the pastrami sandwich. Both great but I barely made it through half of each - so much food! I have to admit, pastrami and fries makes me miss The Hat dearly. Chili cheese fries for life.

(Image via eaglerockbrewery.com)