Dot Com Dining Restaurant Reviews Click on photos (except logo) to see them full-size
Sorry folks, this restaurant has since closed.
DOT COM DINING A Look At San Gabriel Valley Restaurants by SanGabrielValleyMenus.com
Sierra Madre Brewing Company2 Serving Food as Well (and as Good) As Its Brews By Bill Coburn
The Sierra Madre Brewing Company2 (21 Kersting Court, Sierra Madre (626) 355-1140) opened after a too long hiatus while its new location was being determined and then readied. The original SMBC, on Montecito, had closed down when it lost its lease, and the popular local “hotspot” was missed greatly by a loyal group of fans. When the Fisherman’s Wharf in Kersting Court closed down, SMBC2 stepped in, with its Grand Opening on April 23, 2003. Not that Fisherman’s Wharf was lost entirely. You’ll still find a couple mementos of the old Wharf around SMBC2. Guys will notice a prominently placed statuette (like a goddess from the front of the boat) over the sink in the men’s room, that was part of the Fisherman’s Wharf atmosphere. But far more important was the retention of Chef Javier Sotelo as the chef for the new Brewery.
Ask any of the regulars around the Brewery and they’ll tell you the fish and chips can’t be beat. Well that may have something to do with keeping the chef that prepared the Wharf’s fish and chips, which were raved about by restaurant reviewers with names far more well known than mine. But Javier seems to have a way with more than fish and chips (I’ve had the Brewery’s beer-battered fish and chips several times, it’s one of my favorites, and they have about the best tartar sauce I’ve ever had). He also makes a delicious corn and black bean salad, full-flavored sausage sandwiches and sausage sampler plates, and a pretty tasty burger.
I’ve only tried a few items on the menu, but I can vouch for the Italian Sausage sandwich, served on a freshly grilled roll with sautéed bell peppers and onions. I’ve also enjoyed the thick, juicy, cheeseburger, and I was quite pleased with the Philly sandwich. You can order it with your choice of steak, chicken or veggies. I’ve only had the steak, but found it to be to my liking, with generous portions of steak, savory steamed onions and peppers and a generous side portion of French fries. Sandwiches are served with your choice of potato salad, black bean and corn salad or French fries. For a slight extra charge, you can sub for the sweet potato fries, a new item on the menu that I have yet to try. You can add a side salad to any entrée or sandwich for $1.99. On my last trip in, I tried the New England clam chowder, which was thick and delicious. There were chunks of potato in this deliciously creamy soup, and one of the clams I encountered was probably the largest I’ve ever run across in a soup. Again, I think you have to attribute this wonderful flavor to Chef Javier’s eleven years of experience with Fisherman’s Wharf coming through for the Brewery.
Now I wouldn’t really feel right about doing a review of a brewpub without trying the beer. SMBC2 is called a brewpub, aka, a bar/restaurant that brews its own beer, by Pubcrawler.com, which labels itself as the leading beer search engine for people looking for quality beer in the United States and Canada, and features thousands of beer bars, brewpubs and microbreweries on its website. If they consider it a brewpub, I do too. And since I would never want to let the readers down, I decided to have a beer while I was there. That’s right, I only did it for you. No, really. I’ve tried the pilsner, their lightest beer, and find it to be quite good, which is saying a lot because I’m pretty much exclusively a Bud man. I also enjoyed their lager, a little bit heavier, but full of flavor.
The Brewery carries five of their own home brews, the pilsner, a lager, a hefeweizen, a red ale and a bock. They also feature a selection of “guest beers.” You can order a 6oz. taster of any of their home brews for $1.50, or a pint for $4.00. A 60oz. pitcher will run you $13.00. For the adventurous, order the Beer Sampler, and get all five brews in a 6oz. taster glass, for just $7.00. Weekday happy hours from 3 to 6pm will find you paying a little less. By the way, the lunch menu runs from 11am to 4pm, with the dinner menu starting at 4 and running till an hour before closing each night.
Recently the Brewery began opening for Sunday Brunch, and you can get pancakes, bacon and eggs, ham and eggs, eggs benedict, and several other options, including something called a “train wreck”, which features scrambled eggs and pretty much everything thrown in. You can also build your own omelet.
They’ve also brought in a piano for your entertainment, and on selected nights, they feature live entertainment. Special events are a regular thing at the Brewery, they’ve staged a couple of “cigar nights” on their patio, featured movie nights (filmed in Sierra Madre movies such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Dude Where’s My Car, and Drowning Mona) on Wednesdays in February, and on Wednesday of this week had a guest bartender fundraiser to raise money for a community charity.
The Brewery also takes good care of men and women in uniform, as police and firemen in uniform receive discounts (if you’re on duty, we’ll assume you are just enjoying the food), and if you’re active duty military or in the National Guard and Reserve, just show your ID card to your server, and they'll extend their appreciation for all you do by reducing your pricing.
Co-owners Steve Heydorff and Jim Moran have worked hard to create a place where you can enjoy a nice meal in a pleasant atmosphere, or just stop by for a beer or a glass of wine. I encourage you to do just that. Their winter hours are from 4pm to 10pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, 11:30 to 10 on Thursday, 11:30am to 11pm on Friday and Saturday, and 10am to 3pm on Sundays. They are closed Mondays. If you’d like to take a look at the Brewery’s menu, you’ll find it at www.sangabrielvalleymenus.com/smbrew2.htm.
Bill Coburn is owner of SanGabrielValleyMenus.com, a restaurant website featuring dozens of restaurant’s menus, as well as downloadable coupons. He has nearly 20 years experience in the restaurant business, and has been eating for much longer than that.
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