Congregation Ale House, 201 E. Broadway, 432-2337.
• Hours: Open daily from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.
• Location: Located downtown on the Promenade. There is plenty of parking in public lots nearby.
• Staff/Service: Staff is friendly and exceptionally knowledgeable (Stephanie is truly amazing). Service is very quick.
• Food/Drinks: Food is well-selected pub grub including prime rib burgers your way, portabella cap burger, turkey burger; flat breads with varied toppings such as the Mediterranean with kalamata olives, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, bacon and Dijon, and portabella and sweet peppers with pesto.
Sausages include duck and bacon, hot atomic link, pork, jalapeno and cheddar, pork and goat cheese, chicken Parmesan and apple and sage vegetarian.
Sides include fries, sweet potato fries and a homemade pub pretzel. Fries come with two dipping sauces include curry ketchup, chipotle mayo, horseradish mayo, blue cheese, sweet chili and sour cream, pesto mayo and rosemary garlic.
Oh yes, there is beer. Great beer. Maybe close to 150 different bottles and two dozen or more drafts. It is a beer lover paradise.
• Chef’s Vision Statement: Travis Ensling says that, in his mind, Congregational Ale House is not his, but rather belongs to his patrons. His goal is to provide a unique, relaxing atmosphere and respond to the desires of his clientele.
• Atmosphere: The décor is like a Trappist monastery run amok and the vibe is fun.
• The Taste: Maryann, Chris and I stopped Friday for dinner and libation. We scanned the beer menus and the food menus. I had done some prior research online and was looking for a specific bottle of Brewdog Paradox (whiskey-aged barrel Imperial stout). Maybe Travis will get the insane Tactical Nuclear Penguin someday for grins. Maryann, true to her nature, ordered a Lil Sumpin Wild, and Chris tried Christmas Ale.
Then we contemplated food and decided on a little of everything. We ordered a hot atomic sausage, prime rib burger with Portobello mushrooms, Mediterranean flatbread, bacon and Dijon flatbread and fries.
The burger is excellent, tender grilled to a nice medium rare. This one was topped with chopped portabella mushroom, white cheddar and rosemary mayo. It’s truly melt-in-your-mouth with a richness that you expect from prime rib. Excellent.
The flatbreads also were excellent. The Mediterranean was nicely flavored with olives and tangy tomatoes. It was topped with arugula and a drizzle of olive oil. The bacon and Dijon also is topped with thin-sliced potatoes and is smoky and salty from the bacon, with a tang from the Dijon mustard. It also was topped with arugula.
The hot atomic sausage was wrapped in a small whole-wheat flatbread. It came with spicy grilled bell peppers and grilled onions. The sausage is spicy, not overly so but enough to satisfy. It was so good that on a return visit two days later Chris ordered another one while I sampled a burger with a fried egg.
Yes, that’s correct, we went back two days later. Congregation Ale House was celebrating its three-month anniversary. To mark the occasion, they tapped a keg of Firestone Anniversary 14 and a keg of Firestone Parabola 09. Wow! Two friends accompanied Chris and me, Paul from Dana Point, and Casey from Sherman Oaks; Firestone 14 brings the beer lovers out. We can’t wait to see what Travis and Eli arrange for the six-month anniversary.
If you love beer and good food in a casual, fun atmosphere, then you must get over to Congregation Ale House. As for me, all I can say is thanks to Travis and his crew for making Long Beach their new home.
• Price: Lunch or dinner for two is $20 to $25+ depending on how many libations are sampled.