Congregation Ale House: Come for the Beer, Stay for the Masses
2011-01-10 · By Chandra Clewley
I have driven by Congregation Ale House several times in the past few months, but never stopped in. I have to admit, the patio always looked so intimidating, chock full of hipsters, I just didn’t know if I was ready for a scene. Particularly when I am not a big beer drinker in the first place. The beer menu did in fact; lure us in, since there are several beers on tap and a large bottled beer menu. After all, the hipsters must be on to something, right?
When we finally stopped in on a cold day in January, the patio was quite desolate, and the shared tables were actually not being shared. The entire place is made up to look like a church, which sticks with the entire motif, and the Happy Hour here is referred to as “Mass”. They have an all day Mass on Mondays, a midnight Mass Sunday through Thursday; and a weekday Mass, which is your typical happy hour Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (On a side note: Have you noticed that Happy Hours, as a rule, are getting shorter and ending earlier as we, the working masses, stay later at the office? What happened to Happy Hour happening when people are actually coming home from work?…I digress…)
There isn’t a wait staff, per se, so you will have to order at the counter, but they bring the food to you. There are so many untraditional beers on tap, which can make for some anxiety when you are up to bat. I wanted to ask questions, but the lines behind me made me feel like I had to hurry up and order. As a matter of fact, we caved to the pressure even ordering the Sweet Potato French Fries, that come with your choice of two dipping sauces…ahhh….what dipping sauces did we want?!?! The clock was ticking so we picked randomly, like pinning the tail on the donkey, we chose blindly.
The beers on tap are interesting and I hadn’t seen many of them before. I mean, they have your typical Guiness draught and Lindeman’s Framboise which I was familiar with, but my husband ordered the Val Dieu Grand Cru which was a thicker beer with a slightly floral finish. They also had Duvel and Chimay on tap, but not the ones we are accustomed to, instead it was Chimay White and Duvel Green. There were two IPA’s that were of note the day we were there as well.
For food, we ordered a Rib Eye Burger and a Turkey Burger. And of course, the Sweet Potato Fries which did not disappoint. Honestly, there were so many dipping sauces; we ended up with Rosemary and Garlic Mayo, Chipotle Mayo, Blue Cheese and Sriracha Ketchup. They were all pretty tasty, although the Turkey burger could have used a little extra mayo to spice it up. Turkey as a burger is always a difficult thing to make flavorful, and while the grilled onions were tasty, it could have used a bit more of a punch. There were also a nice array of sausages on the menu including Duck and Bacon which caught my eye, and flatbreads for the pickier eater.
The crowd itself was unintimidating which was a relief, and the service was friendly and prompt. For a local pub, Congregation is a great place to…errr…..congregate. Next time, I am trying the Belgian Style Fries, and the Pretzel with Cheese Fondue Dip!
Congregation Ale House is located at 201 E. Broadway, Long Beach. (562) 432-BEER or visit www.congregationalehouse.com