And while it's great to constantly discover new gems in this ever-changing dining landscape, the big downside is that there are very few places where we can be regulars. And worse yet, sometimes we just overlook blogging about these favorite spots--whether because it lacks the razzle-dazzle of simply being new or maybe because we subconsciously want to keep it a lower-key hang out just for those in the know.
In any case, I'm going to try to make a bigger effort to blog about places that I perennially patronize. If anything, they are even more deserving of the shoutout since they are consistently dishing out the good stuff (as opposed to numerous new places where food and/or service goes downhill after a honeymoon phase.)
The first of these regular haunts that I'll highlight, Bruery Provisions in Old Town Orange - the more consumer-friendly space of the Placentia-based brewery that's great for beer enthusiasts who want to sample and learn a little more about crafty beers.
At Provisions, beers are served primarily in taster flights (four to five 2-3 oz. servings) -- which I love since I can sample a few different things at once and it keeps out the rowdy riff-raffs looking to get plastered off pints while screaming at a sports game (oh yeah, there's no TV here either.)
Bruery's Specialty/Seasonal Flight (L to R: Humulus Wet, Rub-a-Dub-Dubbel, Snicklefritz, Autumn Maple and Oude Tart)
For those unfamiliar with Bruery beers at all, I highly recommend their $3 standard flight, featuring their five of their year-round beers like Saison Rue & Loakal Red. From there, move on to their $5 specialty flight that's constantly changing (and my usual go-to), sometimes it'll have seasonal releases like Autumn Maple, or it may be their limited-edition beers such as their anniversary series, or collaborative projects with other craft breweries or even home brewers.
Even for those who know their Bruery beers up and down the wazoo, Provisions offer at least 2 rotating flights highlighting beers from other worthy breweries, usually organized around some sort of theme such as geographic region, beer styles, best of the season, etc. And if you got company who are especially beer-averse, they offer two wine flights too.
Also noteworthy is their variety of sophisticated small plates, also assembled as a flight of different bites, from exotic charcuterie and eccentric cheeses to artisanal olives and specialty preserves. Great noshes to go with beer or on their own.
Last but not least, the store itself -- with a delightfully-curated selection of specialty beers and foods that you'll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. So be sure to save some moolah for shopping too. If nothing else, you'll definitely want to snap up a few bottles of their Provisions series beers, which isn't readily sold anywhere else. (Personally, I endorse the Salt of the Earth, a gose-style beer made with truffle salt and an excellent pairing with super-savory dishes, as well as the rich, malty Workman's Friend porter that's a great go-to brew after a long day's work.)
But be sure to set a budget limit too, or you may find yourself buying out their entire specialty cheese section. Believe me, I was tempted...
What Do Others Say?
- Caroline on Crack went to Provisions after the attending the exclusive Bruery Reserve Society initiation party earlier this year, but found that "it only carried a very limited selection of Bruery beers. Just some of its year-round beers like Saison Rue, Rugbrod and Mischief." (ed note: I think they've been way better since about stocking their more seasonal & special-edition bottles, on my most recent shlep out there I got a Batch 300 & their Dogfish Head collaborative brew that benefits Japan earthquake victims )
- KevinEats went there for a beer & cheese event organized by Marian the Foodie, and said "the beers, of course, were unique and delicious in their own right, but it was perhaps even more interesting to see how their flavors were enhanced, tempered, and complemented by the paired cheeses."
- DineDelish noted that this place "would be heaven for anyone trying to host and wine and cheese party or any exotic beer enthusiast. The prices are affordable and trying out a cheese tasting or wine and beer is really fun."
- The BeerAdvocate collective gave this space a solid A
- Not a review of Provisions per se, but also worth reading is OC Weekly's feature profile on the Bruery and founder/CEO Patrick Rue by Michelle Woo
The Bruery Provisions
143 N Glassell St
Orange, CA 92866