Firestone Walker's Venice Brewpub "The Propagator" Opens This Week
Firestone Walker's new Venice brewpub -- one of the most anticipated openings and a project three years in the making -- finally opens its doors this Thursday, April 7 near the corner of Lincoln and Washington Boulevards.
Dubbed "The Propagator," it debuts with a restaurant, lounge, and retail space featuring cold beer to go, a growler fill station and gear for home brewers. The build out of the rustic ales cellar continues and will be coming next.
“The Venice Propagator is another step in our brewery evolution that is now 20 years strong,” David Walker said in the announcement. “Our hope is to create an idea laboratory for brewing while becoming part of the neighborhood and closer to the local brewing community.”
This will be the brewery’s third regionalized coastal California operation, following the main brewery in Paso Robles and the Barrelworks wild ales facility in Buellton.
Brewmaster Matt Brynildson says the idea for the Venice Propagator is not to duplicate what's happening at the other breweries, but to lead the way in new creative developments. The first program focuses on “rustic” ales, splitting the difference between the barrel-aged strong ales made at the Paso Robles brewery and the wild, or sour, ales made at the Barrelworks facility in Buellton.
“We have dabbled in these types of beers with our original Lil' Opal and our Unfiltered DBA, and now we have a place where we can sink our teeth into them,” he said. “These will be beers that translate well on draft but don’t make a lot of sense in a bottle—unfiltered, small batch, barrel-conditioned beers that are not sour but remain charmingly unrefined.”
The rustic ale program began with the recent arrival of used Firestone Union oak barrels, and will continue to grow into the space with new beers and ideas as they develop. Brynildson ultimately hopes to collaborate with other local brewers by bringing in their wort, then conditioning and finishing the beers at Firestone Walker Venice.
As plans move forward to open the restaurant, the pilot brewhouse for the Propagator is still looking at some hold ups with city permits. Firestone Walker said it put more than $1 million into acquiring a state-of-the-art small scale Kaspar Schulz brewhouse from Germany, but it's still working on the necessary brewing permits from the multiple City of Los Angeles departments overseeing the development.
“We hit many walls in the permitting process,” Adam Firestone said. “Some proved impenetrable so we made the decision to open before the brewhouse was fully operational.”
“It’s disappointing that this beautiful, perfectly formed, miniature brewhouse will not be operational for our opening, but we will continue to press the numerous city departments needed to make it happen," Walker said. “It’s all good, we have spent 20 years adapting to adversity with usually great outcomes.”
The restaurant's menu will have a gastropub feel with a mix of sharable dishes like pizzas and pork belly tacos, and more substantial selections of smoked brisket with grilled asparagus and smashed potatoes. There's also a a tempeh banh mi with pickled veg and crispy shallots. The bar will of course offer all of the familiar Firestone Walker favorites including Barrelworks wild ales, selections from the brewery's Central Coast neighbors, guest taps, and then taps will come for the Venice-made rustic ales.
Firestone Walker Venice Propagator // 3205 Washington Blvd. Venice 90291