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Photo above by Brian Addison.
Say it with us, Long Beach: Bixby Knolls will soon be known as Brewery Knolls—and Liberation Brewing Company (LBC), taking over the old 98 Cents Store at 3630 Atlantic Ave., is leading the way.
LBC, having just started its official first brewing session on March 22, officially opens today, offering up a space that keeps its strictly beer—no grub—and offers up some solid brews that include amber ales brewed with Rose Park coffee, classic IPAs, cream ales, and more.
It’s hours today will run from 3PM to 9PM, Friday from 3PM to 10PM, Saturday from noon to 10PM, and Sunday from noon to 6PM.
More than ten years before the craft beer boom, local brewer and LBC owner Eric McLaughlin long held an interest in brewing his own beer and for the past four years, has been developing the idea behind LBC.
Having moved to San Francisco for film school, the former Lakewooder-now-Long Beacher [pictured right] was surrounded by NorCal’s vast craft beer scene, from breweries like Russian River and Rogue to beer bars like Toronado and Zeitgeist in the city that served nothing but locally crafted brews.
McLaughlin’s talents in home brewing were honed entirely auto-didactically. His love for cooking and flavors—a factor that drives many into both loving beer as a complement to food as well as inspiring one’s inner brewer—drew him toward the idea of creating beer. Reading forum after forum on Beer Advocate, he created his first beer, a Belgian strong dark. In the words of McLaughlin, everything that could go wrong did go wrong: under-pitched yeast, no temperature control on any level, and a complete lack of finesse.
Brew after brew, over and over, failure after failure, McLaughlin learned from his mistakes and continued his uphill journey toward being a bona fide brewmaster. After a stint at Ohana Brewing in Los Angeles as brewmaster, he has taken his talents to his community.
“I love Long Beach,” said the Bluff Heights resident. “And mostly, I just want them to experience more great beer—that’s our aim.”
His driving desire has brought him to Bixby Knolls, where he—along with partners Danny Regan and Mike Clements—are hoping to take his brew skills to the next level with LBC. (Acronym very much intended to represent.) They hope to join Beachwood, the Blendery, Congregation, and Belmont Brewing as astounding examples of locally crafted, independent beer.