OC's latest beermaker is Placentia's Stereo Brewing Co. Rick Smets is owner and head brewer, and Amanda Lee Pierce is the Operation Director. Rick was head brewer at Left Coast Brewing Co until 2009, when he left to join the brewing crew at Firestone Walker Brewery—BOOM. Expect not only fresh craft beers but also great music: Rick is a huge fan of music, from punk to rock to jazz, so also serves as the brewery's DJ. As you approach the bar to order your beer, one of the first things you'll notice is Rick's vertical turntable. He spins vinyl from a unique turntable that stands on its side. He also has a reel to reel with hundreds of tunes to drink the night away.
Stereo Brewing Co. offers growlers to go and they also offer Crowlers, a 32 oz. can of your choice of beer, canned and sealed right before your eyes. Growlers are cool but you need to drink the beer within a few days; with the Crowler you can keep it for month—pure Genius. And they're only $9!
All brews are named after songs or bands, so know your music history! The high quality of ingredients is evident in Robot Imperial Red Ale (9.5% ABV): nice malt, rich in flavor, very clean finish. With a beautiful copper color, it's smooth and easy to drink, which can be deceiving because the high ABV will catch up to you. With the Blond on Blonde Kolsch (5% ABV), you know a brewer knows his stuff when he can brew a German-style beer that taste like the tap has a direct line to Cologne. It's light but it's packed with flavor, as a true Bavarian style beer should, and perfectly pairs with a nice bratwurst.
But the early star is—appropriately enough—the Big Star Pale Ale (5.5% ABV), a perfect blend of hops and malt. It's not IPA-hoppy but packs a punch; the citrus tones down any bitterness and it finishes clean.
Stereo Brewing Co is a great place to get your craft beer and groove on—dancing is permitted! And while they don't serve food, check their website for the food truck schedule or bring your own grub. Now, let's see if Smets plays my old Alex Chilton LPs…HA!
Stereo Brewing Co., 950 S. Via Rodeo, Placentia, (714) 993-3390; www.stereobrewing.com