OC's own Haven Gastropub is opening a Pasadena location in late 2011. It's not a clone of the Old Towne Orange restaurant, but rather an ambitious expansion into the company's own, on-site beer-brewing operation.
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It's taking over the space just off Colorado Boulevard that formerly housed the brewpub Brix 42. No confirmation on what style of beers will be brewed in those stainless-steel tanks, but I will confidently bet all the wages I earn this year from the Weekly that it'll do better than Brix 42's weak selection of a blonde, hefeweizen, amber and a pale ale.
Haven is opening in an expensive neighborhood with many direct competitors. There's craft-beer bar Lucky Baldwin's, wine bar Red, White + Bluezz, a Yard House, and, not too far away, Craftsman Brewing Co. Are the owners worried?
Beverage Manager Wil Dee says, "The restaurant business is risky, and there is big risk in opening up there, but we think there's an advantage in brewing our beer there and distributing it at Haven and Taco Asylum [ed - more about this Haven offshoot's grand opening later]. Craftsman's a brewery, not a restaurant. It's not a competitor because we'd be carrying its beer. Lucky Baldwin's isn't a brewery, and it carries a lot of other people's beer. It focuses more on American beers, not as much global selection, and its focus isn't food."
Adding to the recent openings of local breweries such as Cismontane in Rancho Santa Margarita and Noble Ale Works in Anaheim, plus the expansion of The Bruery into a retail store in Orange, can 2011 be the year we see an explosion in locally brewed craft beers?