A Dry, Bitter Blonde

Brouwerij West's Belgian-style beer

"Think beer."

It could mean any number of things, but when Brain Mercer texted Nick Brown last year asking him to "think beer," the implications were greater than the evening's libation. They thought beer, and Brouwerij West, one of the L.A. area's newest breweries, was born.

Their first batch of beer–a Belgian-style blonde, available only in kegs–popped up in Southland bars just weeks ago, to great acclaim. Now the pair is literally working the graveyard shift–they rent space at an Orange County brewery, often working midnight to noon–to fill orders.

Mercer may be new at running a brewery, but he knows the industry well. He's the owner of Dark Candi, an importer of Belgian sugars and syrups, key ingredients in many Belgian-style beers. Brown's familiarity with yeast and fermenting comes from wine, having worked at Rubicon Estates in Napa Valley.

Brouwerij West stays true to Belgian traditions, its beer styled after traditional farmhouse recipes. In addition to Dark Candi sugars, Mercer and Brown use malts and hops from Belgium to make their blonde. Low in alcohol (5.5% ABV) and not overly hopped, it has a pleasantly bitter and very dry finish, its flavor profile and balance making it perfect for drinking with food.

Brouwerij West is supplying 12 area bars, including both locations of Father's Office, Chez Melange, Library Alehouse and El Prado.