This past Sunday 8/11/13 marked a new chapter for Travis and his partners at Congregation Ale House in Azusa Ca. The first batch tasting of Congregation Ales. I’ve been eager to try them since I heard they bought brewing equipment to start this new endeavour. Actually I’m going to start from the beginning.
Many years ago I met Travis at Lucky Baldwins in Pasadena Ca, where he worked as a bartender. We visited weekly and had many conversations and laughs. One day he said he was going to open up his own bar soon, sure, cool I said. Not that I didn’t believe him, I just thought it was conversation. Some more time went by, then one day Travis said, he found a great spot in Long Beach and was working hard on getting it open. Took him a bit, but they finally got it open. Then pieces just fell into place after that, they got a spot in Azusa Ca. Following the Azusa chapter, came Pasadena Ca. Luckily I’ve been invited to all the openings and witnessed all these great things with Travis and his partners.
A few months ago, Travis said “We just bought some brewing equipment for in-house brewing in Azusa.” I was surprised at first but knowing his love & knowledge for craft beer, I knew it would be perfect and he could make it work.
I get the call, to go over on March 5th to Azusa, early morning and to bring my camera. I get there and see big trucks with the brewing equipment, I just thought this is fucking cool! So I watched and took many pictures from start to finish. Such a great thing to see, tanks being taken off the trucks, getting them inside the building and assembled right in front of me.
They’ve been hard at work with this new project, I got the call last week with an invite for the first batch tasting. Countdown started, I couldn’t wait to try these new beers by Congregation Ales. Sunday 8/11 arrives, and a big crowd of people are waiting in line to go in. Free glasses for all day happy hour were given out as well as free t-shirts. The excitement was crazy, a sign of how big this craft beer movement has grown.
They introduced us to 4 of their beers:
Summer Pale 5.3% abv
Saison 6.6% abv
Dark Ale 7.7% abv
90 Shilling Scotch Ale 7% (collaboration with Bootleggers)
Summer Pale was light, low malt and piney aromas.
Saison was a perfectly brewed Belgian style, crisp and small hop aroma
Dark Ale was dark, malty and I got a small chocolate aroma from it
90 Shilling Scotch Ale was dark brown, malty, and small heat from the alcohol
Congregation Ales is brewed by: Brewmaster Caleb McLaughlin & Brewer Amy Heller
My impressions on these brews? They’re awesome! I was asked what my least favorite one was, none, I liked them all. I will say though, 90 Shilling Scotch Ale was on top of my list. What a great day for everyone at Congregation Ales/Congregation Ale House and us the craft beer fans. For great beer and food, you get it all here at any of the chapters.
I hear Bottle Room in Whittier is now pouring Congregation Ales. The Azusa brewpub chapter will be the only ones filling growlers starting Sunday September 15th, 2013.
Keep and eye out, they have distribution too. I wish Travis Ensling, Dick and Richard Hale (his partners) lots of luck and success. Thank you for letting me witness all these big things with you, I raise my pint to you, cheers!
All pictures here, select play all.
Azusa Chapter 619 N Azusa Ave. Azusa, Ca. 91702 #626.334.2337
Pasadena Chapter 300 S Raymond Ave. Pasadena, Ca. 91105 #626.403.2337
Long Beach Chapter 201 E Broadway Ave. Long Beach, Ca. 90802 #562.432.2337