Ladyface Alehouse and Brasserie has been serving up beers for two years… (Ladyface Ale Companie/Red…)
Opening a restaurant/bar and calling oneself Dr. Hops takes guts on the West Coast, where breweries have long delighted in maximizing the ingredient for all its tart and bitter glory.
"That was a joke, initially," Roger Bott said. "We put it on the website with a little character, and it stuck from there. Home brewing, though, I was always using more hops than anyone said would taste good."
Out of the gate, however, Bott is going for wide appeal, putting the emphasis on balance at his recently opened the Lab in Agoura Hills (30105 Agoura Road). Initial brews include an XPA, which stops short of the sharpness of its IPA brother, as well as an amber ale, in which hops give way to a sweeter finish. The space has room for two patios with outdoor fireplaces, as well as a bar and an indoor dining room. The copper-clad beer tanks are on full display, giving the spot, said Bott, a "rustic, old-town character."
A 16-year home-brew vet, the mid-30s Bott quit his job at Amgen this month, and runs the Lab with two of his wealthier pals. The Lab is in the former spot of MOZ Buddha Lounge, although the Lab proprietors have brought on the latter's chef Almoez "Moez" Megji for creative cuisine.
Just down the road, Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie (29281 Agoura Road) has an antidote for long holiday days with its sip-worthy La Trappistine. It's a dark brown pour, with a dash of scarlet red, and is equally comfortable on dinner and dessert tables, with hints of dried fruit and brown sugar. Get it now on tap at the brewery's alehouse, and take home a growler for the grown-ups in the family.
While there, knock off your holiday shopping list. Ladyface's owner Cyrena Nouzille makes beer-inspired, homemade jewelry — earrings run about $15 and necklaces top off at about $25. Since Ladyface doesn't bottle, Nouzille's jewelry uses bottle cap art from others in the craft beer scene, and will even take requests. The bottle caps are mixed with pearls, silver and found objects.
Strong winds had their way with the in-progress Golden Road Brewing in Atwater Village, forcing a last-minute postponement of a pop-up beer garden under the Collaboration name. The winter edition of the roving craft beer garden has been pushed to early 2012.
Those in need can still get their winter ale fix Saturday at Hollywood's Blue Palms (6124 Hollywood Blvd.).