Hermosa Beach: Craft Beer at Abigaile
Walking into Abigaile in Hermosa Beach can be a bit disorienting. I remember when there was a mechanical bull in the center of the room back when it was Union Cattle Company (a bit like the raunchy Saddleranch in Hollywood).
These days, it looks so prim and proper with nice light fixtures. Then you look at the graffiti art on the walls and get another jolt that maybe they want you bemused. The menu was another surprise. Although they have a burger and fries, there’s so much more. Abigaile also brews beer on site.
We came in on a Saturday before dinner hour. The hosts tried to get us to stay upstairs at their Ocean Bar since they told us Abigaile was more “fine dining.” Both levels were fairly empty but I didn’t want to sit upstairs as there wasn’t much of a crowd. And at least we could look at the pretty copper beer brewing tanks.
We decided to try the beer flight featuring a variety of beer styles Abigaile makes. We had just come from Smog City Brewing so we had beer on my minds.
Tangerine Honey Wit – very drinkable, I always like Belgian style beers. A light citrus tang from the fresh tangerines used in the making of this beer.
Sir Charles Mild – This is an English-style brown mild. It was innocuous. Probably a good beer if you want a little flavor while you still want a low ABV (3.5%).
Polyrhythm Pale – moving into the hops, there was a slight bitterness I don’t usually associate with pale beers. It was interesting.
Nihilist Double IPA – I never thought I was a hoppy beer chick but this grew on me.
Sugar Daddy – This was my favorite. Being a whiskey drinker, I noticed I liked the beers with the highest ABV. Oops. This is a Belgian-style strong ale with an ABV of 10.8%.
I didn’t try the bocadillio bites but they looked good. It seemed very proper with jamon serrano, piquillo and manchego.
I was glad the rosemary and sage potato chips came in a giant portion– you really can’t stop eating them. The chip strips were so addicting. I like it when chips are seemingly thinner than air.
Abigaile’s signature cocktails are called “Scratch Cocktails” alluding to the fact they made them from scratch. The backbar featured a small but decent selection. Unfortunately quite a bit of whiskey was almost gone. I counted at least 5 nearly empty bottles. I hope they get more The Balvenie Caribbean cask soon in soon.
My friend decided to brave the Penelope, one of the scratch cocktails. She asked if this drink could be made with mezcal but the spiciness in the Penelope comes from the infused tequila. If it’s not spicy enough, I suppose you can always nibble on the chile garnish.
Penelope – house-infused Serrano chile tequila, grapefruit, agave
The two most popular cocktails are the ones that feature infused spirits. The Penelope as mentioned above infuses Serrano chile in Jose Cuervo tequila and then Abigaile has two infused vodkas. They infuse cucumber into Russian Standard Vodka for the Simon18 (cucumber infused Russian Standard, ginger beer, Barenjager honey liqueur, lime for their take on a Moscow Mule. The other infusion is green tea with Russian Standard for the Mary Zen (green tea infused Russian Standard, pear liqueur, agave, lemon.
Actually, I probably would have tried the Deliverance (Buffalo Trace bourbon, lemon, rosemary-infused simple syrup, peach liqueur) but I was afraid it would be too sweet with both simple syrup and the peach liqueur.
Instead, I ordered a Bulleit Rye Manhattan. Sadly it was shaken. It was getting a bit busier at the bar so I didn’t send it back but I wasn’t going to try more cocktails.
Good ol’ Blanton’s bourbon on the rocks works for me.
Overall, I would return to try more of the food out. I wanted to try the Brazilian pao de queijo; those lovely cheesy poofs. Actually, I’d tackle the entire small bites and snacks menu. The fried green olives with sausage, tempura green beans, escargot all sounded good. I also really want to try the Vietnamese pho poached chicken salad, fried chicken, poutine and the P.I.G. pop-tarts. Those are pork confit in pastry. But I’d probably stick to beer, wine or booze on the rocks.
It’s great to see the craft beer explosion happening in the South Bay.(310) 798-8227 © The Minty 2013