Have You Seen Me?
THE MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF
Written by Dan Sinclair
Something's just not right in the world of craft beer. Something's... missing.
For those of you who never had the unique experience of what was Pacoima's own Pac City Brewery and Tap Room, let me break it down for you. You first look on a map of LA County to find out exactly where Pacoima is and say, "Oh, shit. That's far."
Seriously, is that even still California?
Then you politely ask your beautiful girlfriend, who loves you so much she actually appreciates your love of craft beer, for a ride because you know drinking and driving is neither cool, nor safe. She says okay, but you will owe her a nice dinner in trade, and you agree because it's a fair deal and the journey begins.
You are confused when you arrive and find yourself circling an empty business park several times before you see a large man with a shaved head, and more importantly, a black Pac City T-shirt come out from behind a unmarked door. The hoppy excitement sets in as you realize you've arrived. The tough-looking door dude is a real nice guy and he leads you in explaining how the asshole landlords don't allow them to have any signs outside because they think advertising for alcohol is the kind of evil that sends you right to hell (I'm paraphrasing at best here). Inside you find two other really down-to-earth friendly dudes behind the tiny bar that couldn't possibly sit more than eight people at a time, and feels more like your buddy's basement than a brewery tap room. But it's all there-- all the brewing equipment sits only a few feet away from where you will drink it.
And then you drink. You start with a Jameson Lightly Sour Ale, brewed with actual Jameson Irish Whiskey. Though it's made with booze, it feels so smooth, and of course, lightly sour. You want more. You go with their staple brew, the Imperial Guava IPA, which goes way too easy for 10% ABV. And then you taste the mother of them all, Cake Stout. It's basically boozy chocolate cake, and the only thing you will want for your birthday for the rest of your life!
You leave not only beer-satisfied, but overjoyed with how cool it's gonna be to brag to your fellow beer lovers about your expedition to this little known speakeasy of breweries! You'll show them the way one day, if they're lucky and agree to pay for the beers. The future looks so bright...
Here's s visual aid of said future looking bright...
But then... everything changed. Pac City's Web site disappeared. Rumors started about gang activity in the area keeping customers away, and that they may start focusing more on bottling. But then their Twitter feed vanishes, followed shortly by the Facebook page. And then finally, sometime earlier this year came the kiss of death, the "this location is reported as permanently closed" on that popular site that reviews shit.
And you cry and cry and you cry some more...
And you wonder why God hates you and mocks your futile existence, and you take out your frustration by beating the ever-loving shit out of your extensive collections of porcelain dolls and plush stuffed animals... and then immediately apologize to each one of them and beg their forgiveness, kiss each on their cheek and promise Daddy will never hurt them again.
But the Pac City mystery lives on. Are they gone forever? Will they bottle their beer? Did they sell the business? Does Pacoima even really exist?
We may never know. But what I do know that their death does not spell the end of good craft beer in the San Fernando Valley with the additions of Macleod Ales and their casked real ales in Van Nuys and San Fernando Brewing Co. in, well, San Fernando; as well as the production-only spots at Canoga Park's 8one8 and Chatsworth's Hand-Brewed Beer. Oh, and don't forget about the delicious aled lagers at Brewyard Beer Company in Glendale, which technically isn't the Valley, but you know, close enough. So even though there may no longer be a Pac City, there is still hope. And by "hope," I mean "beer," which tastes even better than hope.