Above photo by Toliver Morris. Photos by Brian Addison.
It’s official: after four years of diligent work, husband and wife team Sterling and Ilana Steffen have signed a lease to open Long Beach’s newest craft beer brewery, Trademark Brewing, at 234 E. Anaheim—a game changer that will activate the Washington neighborhood.
Right next to the Packard Building, the former auto repair shop will be home to an open floor brewing concept where the brewing process and the drinking process are seamlessly brought together thanks to a glass wall. Think Stumptown in DTLA—but with hops and a buzz. Add to this the outdoor space shared with the Packard acting as an outdoor patio—possibly the city’s largest, a welcomed addition considering the shocking lack of outdoor dining.
Perhaps most warming is the fact that Sterling and Ilana, both hailing from Los Angeles, are bewitched with the charm of Long Beach, having not expected to be so warmly embraced compared to our northern neighbor.
“I am simply so excited to be a part of this city,” Sterling said. “Coming from LA and dealing with LA, this is a total shift… Long Beach is a place where we were welcomed with open arms, with people encouraging us to be here. Standing with us through the whole process.”
Sterling began the adventure of Trademark over five years ago, randomly purchasing brewing equipment to experiment because, well, he’s admittedly a science nerd, complete with a brewing system that he claims is unlike any other.
“Our brewery isn’t like other breweries because of our process,” Sterling said. “The disadvantage is that it’s expensive—very expensive—and very loud. The upside is that it produces beer no one else can make and it uses about a third less water and a third less energy. So we’re super efficient in that regard.”
Sterling brews in small batches only, something he insists allows him to perfect his beers while also creating things like his Single Hop Series. The result? Stellar beers.
Trademark’s Golden Reign IPA is wonderfully is a hop-forward golden brew with citrus-centric flavor and tropical fruit undertones with a low bitterness—mimicking the high quality of Beachwood’s epic IPAs. And their citrus honey wheat brew, dubbed Long Hair Don’t Care, is what Ilana calls a “lawnmower beer”: so drinkable that you can pound away on the porch without falling off of it with its balanced blend of wheat and barley.
Perhaps the best part about this is the fact of where it is located. While DTLB is filled with a plethora of craft beer bars and breweries, this stretch of Anaheim is in a definitive need of love and attention. And Millworks, owned and operated by Michelle Molina, has begun to lead the way with the purchasing of the Packard (and turning it into a music venue) as well as the property that Trademark will be leasing.
“It will be a game changer,” Molina said. “It’s transformative for a neighborhood that a lot of people want to see succeed—not just me. And it’s more than just the business aspect: Sterling and Ilana are a great couple with a great concept and great spirits. It’s just a fantastic aspect to our local market.”
As for the opening? The Steffens are aiming for November.
“It’s ambitious but it’s doable,” Sterling said. “We’re here for the long haul—and we can’t wait to introduce our beers to one of craft beer’s best places: Long Beach.”