Blog Bite: Congregation Alehouse in LBC

Hibernation Ale at Congregation Alehouse by Caroline on Crack

Hibernation Ale at Congregation Alehouse

I had high hopes for Long Beach’s Congregation Alehouse: a monastery-style bar worshiping all things beer. But things started on the wrong foot when I was told that they didn’t have table service and I’d have to place all orders at the bar. Meh, Father’s Office does this, too. They’ll deliver food to your seat but you have to go up to the bar whenever you want to order another beer, etc. Wonder why that is? With this in mind, the most coveted seats are the ones at the bar. If those are all taken you have your choice of the community tables throughout the bar or the benches on the outdoor patio.

Things didn’t improve when I ordered Dogfish’s Midas Touch ($8) — a beer I had enjoyed this past Sunday at Dionicess’ beer lunch. I was told they had it in a bottle but not on tap but then about five minutes later the beertender came back and said they didn’t have it in a bottle either. So she proceeded to try and sell me on a light beer and then fruity ales. I looked at her incredulously. Wuuut? In their menu it categorizes Midas as a stronger ale. Sure, it’s a sweet, dry ale but it ain’t all that fruity and it certainly isn’t light.

Why was she try to sell me on the less-strong stuff? Was it because I’m a girl? As a girl herself I thought she’d be on my side. Hmm, or maybe I’m being too sensitive? When I didn’t respond right away, she then suggested the Hibernation Ale…or some light beer as an alternative to the Midas Touch. After sipping on each in a sampler glass, I went with the Hibernation Ale ($6), which they had on tap. Really tasty and potent stuff. A dangerous combo with an empty stomach and the residual effects of the antihistamine I took eight hours earlier. Otherwise, I highly recommend it.

Anyway, turns out they have food at this bar, too, especially a variety of sausages, like duck and bacon or pork and goat cheese, which are $7.50 each. Unfortunately/fortunately my bf didn’t want to get food here. He had come here before when the bar first opened and was less than impressed with their small portions, especially considering the prices they charge for them. “They’re snacks, not meals,” he told me as I looked longingly at a basket of Belgian fries that wafted past me. Oh well. I guess he was too hungry to even think of dining here.

In any case, to give you an idea of their beer prices, they charge $5 for Craftsman Heavenly Hefe or Guinness and $8 for Duvel Green. You can either take your pick of the beers they have on tap which are displayed on the chalkboard near the bar, or peruse their bible o’ beers which are categorized by beer type. But, FYI, just because it’s listed doesn’t mean they have it so make sure to have a back-up beer in mind before you place your order.

And they do have a happy hour: $1 off all draft beer and wine, $3 well drinks, $5 burgers or sausages.

Congregation Alehouse
201 E Broadway
Long Beach, California 90802 (map)
(562) 432-2337

6 Responses to Blog Bite: Congregation Alehouse in LBC
  1. Chris
    October 12, 2010 | 1:54 pm

    HATE IT when new places offer preemptive beer lists! It’s also completely possible that your waitress just…didn’t know the beer well enough. F.O. (and usually Blue Palms Brewhouse/Verdugo Lounge) are seriously some of the only beer places where the servers are consistently knowledgeable about the beers on the menu.

  2. Caroline on Crack
    October 12, 2010 | 4:11 pm

    Yeah, they weren’t nearly as approachable as the bartenders at all those bars you mentioned. The fact they have only one area to order beer makes it kind of uncomfortable to ask questions about the beers. Especially when there’s a long line behind you.

  3. Carrie
    October 13, 2010 | 10:07 am

    Bummer. That’s my hood and was hoping to have a new place. Where’d you end up for dinner?

  4. Caroline on Crack
    October 13, 2010 | 10:10 am

    We just went to Lola’s. It was all right. Not crazy about the tilapia. As for Congregation, if it’s in your hood then go for it. Nice place to just grab a beer when you’re already in the area. I just wouldn’t make a special trip for it from LA.

  5. Carm Soto
    October 15, 2010 | 4:53 pm

    I went here late last month and had a totally different experience with the bartender there. I was able to snag a bar seat and try out the Chilldisc which kept my beer cold throughout. Our server also suggested many dark ales even though I told her I was afraid of them. She sold me on one, the name escapes me now but Im sure I could spot it on a list. I agree the food is snack size but with all the heavy beer I had my gf and I shared one the burgers and fries we were beyond stuffed. Our burger and fries were delish as were the side sauces! I say give it a whirl Carrie, I will def be returning soon!

    • Caroline on Crack
      October 15, 2010 | 4:57 pm

      That’s what’s weird about that place, those chill discs. You really only chill beer if it’s a light ale or if it tastes bad. But I agree about sitting at the bar. I can see how that would be the best seat in the house. You can talk to the bartenders, always a good thing.

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