On a rainy evening in early January the highly anticipated Iron Triangle Brewing in the Arts District opened its doors (and its taps) to friends, community members, and beer media for the first time. Like many others, I had been patiently waiting for this opening for some time; both to try brewer Darren Moser’s beer and to see if the buildup that owner Nathan Cole had been asserting was all that it had promised to be. I think it’s fair to say that Cole has been a polarizing figure in the Los Angeles craft beer scene, something he’ll readily admit. An unknown in beer until now, Cole came out swinging by setting his sights high with a business model built on high levels of production and distribution throughout Los Angeles. Iron Triangle is positioning itself to make quite a bit of beer out of the 10,000 square foot facility they occupy, and there are already rumors of future expansions. The four-vessel brewhouse is equipped to handle multiple brews per day, giving the indication that the goal is to hit the ground running, and run fast at that. If things go well for this startup brewery, Los Angeles could be seeing the birth of a Golden Road sized player quite quickly. And that’s worth the intrigue itself. With these thoughts in my head, I entered the results of Cole and Moser’s best efforts to see for myself.
In short, Iron Triangle has delivered on its promises. The five beers on tap were inviting, easy drinking, and 99% without flaws. As Moser told me during a tour of the brewery, the focus is to create beers that are just that, flavorful but drinkable. “We want to sell you your second, third, and fourth pint,” he told us. And based on the beers I tried, he shouldn’t have a hard time doing that. My standouts were the Iron Triangle Dark Ale, (a robust but crisp beer that threw me for a loop in the best of ways), the Iron Triangle IPA, (bright, citrusy, and fresh), and the Mulholland’s Stash Barleywine (American in style, hoppy and accessible for the style), the last of which will be taste tested each month until they find the right time to release it to the masses.
The location itself is also gorgeous. Cole has paid homage to the Iron Triangle (named for William Mulholland, Fred Eaton, and Joseph Lippincott, the creators of the Los Angeles Aqueduct) by setting up shop in a building dating back to 1904 that reeks of history. The wood arched ceilings, exposed brick, and even the snappily dressed bartenders fuse the buildings past with its seemingly bright future.
I hope to interview Moser, a recent LA transplant from Maui Brewing, soon to create the usual California BrewMasters blog post, but for now I thought I’d throw in my two cents and offer up my initial observations. I can’t put my finger on why Iron Triangle has brought on so much more of a microscopic analysis, sufficed to say that they set the bar high for themselves, and I think we all were curious to see if they could meet it. While any one beer didn’t seriously blow my mind from an innovation standpoint, do any these days? They were damn tasty, and as Moser predicted they were in fact all beers that I’d have in multiples. The challenges that lie ahead for Iron Triangle are now about creating the distribution levels they hope to acquire and winning over a dedicated fan base. To conclude, I leave you with a Quentin Tarantino quote that seemed rather apt to the situation: “Gentlemen, you had my curiosity – but now you have my attention.”
Enjoy some more photos, and visit when they open… which should no more than a couple weeks away!
Visit Iron Triangle online for the latest info at www.irontrianglebrewing.com.