A Visit to the Newly-Opened Phantom Carriage Brewery
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to visit a recently-opened brewery in Southern California. Having opened up a couple months ago and having officially opened up earlier this month, Phantom Carriage is located in Carson, CA.
They had twelve beers on-tap, half of which were their brews and the other half being other breweries’ beers. Since I was visiting their brewery, I figured I would drink just their beers. Phantom Carriage offers flights of up to 3 beers in 3.5oz pours, so I opted to have half of their beers in one flight and the other half in a second flight.
In the first flight, I started off with their wild Berliner weiss, Broadacres (3.7% ABV), which I found to be light and lovely, seemingly kind of like a halfway sour. It was undoubtedly pleasant and great for a warm summer day. Next up, I had their Leapwood, a French-style session saison (5.1% ABV), which I thought seemed good for the style, although not my taste. To finish up the flight, I had their Muis, a wild Belgian-style blonde with 100% Brettanomyces (6.5% ABV), which had a lovely fruity nose, maybe cherries on it, it was sweet on the palate. Also, as someone who is not a fan of Brettanomyces, I was glad that I didn’t taste much of it on the palate; I detected it on the finish, but it was, fortunately, not an overpowering flavor.
For the second flight, I started off with the Ambler, a malty country amber ale (7.8% ABV), which I found to be pleasant and malty, perhaps a bit boozy. Next up was Houten Muis, which was there Muis that had been aged in a sauvignon blanc barrel (6.5% ABV), which was really yummy! It was tart and kind of reminded me of a sour (which is a good thing). It tasted and had almost the consistency of a light wine and I picture it being awesome to have at dusk on a warm summers day. It was roughly similar to Broadacres, but much more complex. For the final beer of my visit, I had the Bergman, a blonde sour (8.4% ABV), which was so lovely of a sour.
The first thing one notices about the Phantom Carriage is its interesting visual aesthetic which draws from the 1921 Swedish film of the same name, which definitely gives it a distinct look and feel. The dark lighting of the interior in addition to the decorations and artwork certainly sticks with this and seems cool. Since the flights do not have holders – wooden or otherwise – as other breweries do, my drinking compatriot suggested they come up with something that fits in with the motif, such as coffin-shaped wooden tasting glass holders.
Overall, it was a nice little brewery to visit and to experience, although there are not a lot of their own beers from which to choose, although a nice amount. One complaint I do have is that, after having ordered our beers, the beers came out so slowly. It seemed that there was a lot of foam that came out with them and the bartenders had to keep filling them to get the beer to the top. Fortunately, we were neither in a rush, nor were there long lines, but the waiting an inordinate amount of time to get one’s beer (or waiting for people in front to get theirs) was not normal. Hopefully, with time, they will figure out how to get the beers to pour out well. They are doing good things with their tasty, light beers and I look forward to more.