Bonaventure Brewing Co.
During the month of April, Happy Hour City will be celebrating all things beer related. Each week we will educate you on the different types of beer. We will also show you how to make beer centered cocktails/drinks, and we will be giving you the inside scoop on some of the best beer bars & breweries around Los Angeles.
Happy Hour: $
Bonaventure Brewing Co. - Microbrewery
Mon. - Fri.: 3:30 -6:30 P.M.
You would never just run into the Bonaventure Brewing Co. Not unless you got lost once already inside the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and somehow stumbled upon it, which is totally possible given how huge it is. Located on the 4th-floor outdoor deck and patio, this hidden gem offers views of DTLA’s Financial District for days.
The landscape is enough to help you forget about all the loops you have to make to get to the entrance of the hotel, given its location (Fourth and Flower) is an area by Pershing Square that is getting a MASSIVE makeover.
The Westin Bonaventure has proven its staying power in DTLA through many other projects before. Opening back in 1976 this was the biggest hotel in the area with 1,300 rooms. It is a conference hotel so be prepared to see a lot of suits, but a few locals do wonder around here from time to time.
When you do find the entrance and enter the circular lobby, you may just recognize the elevators from the movie "True Lies". Don’t try to decipher which elevator to take to which tower. You’ll lose precious Happy Hour time. We simply asked the concierge, and they pointed us to the handicap elevator. Escalators are also an option.
It gets a little tricky as the hotel transforms into what seems to be a mall but look for outdoor access to the patio or the mural with the logo for Bonaventure Brewing Co. That’s the main entrance. Trust us that finally finding it was the ultimate prize.
Immediately you notice that you’re surrounded by skyscrapers, and if you’re there for Happy Hour you will catch the most beautiful sunset. Since we knew this was a brewery, the first thing we looked for were the tanks, they were right in front of us. It’s a small set up but a set up nonetheless, a brewery...on a rooftop deck… in the middle of DTLA. We hit the jackpot with this one ladies and gents.
Once you explore the grounds, the “back entrance” will lead you into the main dining room with even more seating available. Tables, booths, high tops, the bar, all comfortable, all well arranged. The music isn’t blasting and there are TVs for those perhaps looking to catch a game.
We chose to sit outside because it was a gorgeous day, Imani was kind enough to be our server and she let us know that the grounds make a great event venue for weddings and such. But we liked that they weren’t just an event venue.
Obviously, catering more to the hotel guests, those locals who do choose to venture back here will be glad they did and become quick regulars. Happy Hour is offered anywhere so seating was up to our preference. With such an awesome & relaxed atmosphere, we were ready to check out the menu.
For Happy Hour, Bonaventure offers an array of appetizers and meals all under $10, 12 oz house beer pours for $5.50, they feature four staples and one rotating Ale of the Month, $20 house beer pitchers, $6 wines by the glass, and $7 well cocktails.
Unfortunately, those with a vegan diet will find themselves only drinking. Not too many options on the Happy Hour, but if you find something that can perhaps be modified- ask!
All our appetites and diets were met, so we were pleased to see on top of beer they had the other options we mentioned, and the page following that is a cocktail list (NOT INCLUDED IN HAPPY HOUR) but we tried three of them anyway, in case you got curious.
We invited our friend Nester along to give us his candid opinion on the beers. Of course we had to try everything, beginning with the reason we visited, the beer!
The HHC Team Shared:
House IPA 7% ABV- This was the rotating ale during our visit. According to mixologist Cesar, who has been here for seven years, every time he put this one in the rotation it’s a bestseller. We deemed it a solid IPA. It has a tart aftertaste which is a little bitter, but overall light on the palate.
BBC Pale Ale 4.8% ABV-A classic California Pale ale. Brewed with Centennial and Northern Brewer hops. Nester and Alex agreed this Pale Ale was smooth and light in taste, very strong hop flavor. It did taste a little sweet but also with a roast flavor. It was smooth and very delicious. (Nester’s Favorite)
Shandy A blend of the BBC Marathon ale and a splash of lemonade. The beer for non beer drinkers was Mariana’s favorite, of course… And the team loved it, too. It only has a splash of lemonade, it’s not overwhelming. Much to Mariana’s surprise, the lemonade pairs well and lets the flavor of the blonde shine through. We know that a Shandy is a compilation of any non complex beer mixed with any citrus mix. Very similar to a Heigel if you’re looking for a comparison.
Strawberry Blonde 4.5 % ABV- The Strawberry Blonde is an award-winning fruit beer that is golden in color with a mild strawberry aroma and a fantastic dry refreshing finish. If you like fruity beer this is the beer for you, this could be a good introduction for beer if you like fruity cocktails.
Marathon 4.8% ABV- A light blonde ale that is golden in color with a mild hop flavor. The taste was smooth and crisp. There was a clean aftertaste, they got a blonde “right”, almost on the edge of watery but that’s what you expect.
Made with Bacardi Superior Rum, this was the right choice. Although she usually fears a Mojito’s overwhelming mint scent/flavor, this cocktail had the perfect balance between the mint, rum, and the pineapple juice cutting through the intensity of any one flavor.
Also made with Bacardi Superior Rum, as well as Myers Dark Rum, the traditional ingredients are mixed in well and they know how to do a Zombie here. I’d love to be sitting by the pool right now drinking it.
The Old Fashioned
I tried mixing it up with the Zombie but Imani insisted this one was different than the rest. And damn it she was right. This Old Fashioned is fantastic. Perfect amount of sugar and bitters but it still holds the strength of the Bulleit Rye. I could sip on this drink forever. They totally got me with this one... I was not expecting it.
The HHC Team Shared:
M: This calamari is well prepared, there is a decent amount served, and the pieces are already a little bigger than usual, but good nonetheless. Served along with two sauces: cocktail and a sweet and sour chili.
A: They were very crispy, which means there is a lot of batter, but it’s delicious, not soggy or drenched in oil. And I prefer that they are not in the shape of tiny octopus. I can’t bear eating those.
N: You guys aren’t going to believe this but this is my first time having Calamari. The absence of tiny sea creatures was also a happy surprise for me. It tastes like sweet chicken battered tempura. But as we came to find out, the batter is actually from their Marathon Blonde Ale. I loved it.
M: I thought they were delicious, the homemade batter is a bit darker than the one on the calamari but still delicious.
A: The chicken is a very juicy meat and not dry at all, absolutely loved them. The size is a bit small but smaller chicken doesn’t mean anything bad, it’s good chicken meaning not pumped with antibiotics or hormones.
N: I liked them, I thought they held together well between the crispy batter and the chicken. Definitely finished these myself.
Mac & Cheese
A: Made with elbow pasta, the traditional dish has a nice creamy consistency. It also comes with bread crumbs sprinkled on the crust of the cheese on top. The mix of cheeses include cheddar, blue cheese and cream cheese. The cream cheese is what applies the very smooth and rich creamy texture. Light flavor on the blue cheese, very solid Mac!
N: Not too big fan of Mac & Cheese, the blend of flavors sort of explodes in your mouth. I don’t know I guess people love the mix.
A: They’re good, the flavor is all there. However, just my preference I like dumplings to be a tad bit seared. These are steamed but the sweet chili sauce is the right kind of nice and spicy.
N: I agree, I like the crispy ones better. Sauce is mild but nothing out of this world.
M: These were my favorite of the bunch. The bread is toasted to perfection, I opted out of the cheese the originals come with. The meat is cooked right at medium with soft pink center but the juices aren’t bleeding out. I can see the seasoning, which is great since so many burgers usually depend on the other ingredients to have flavor.
A: The flavor of the meat is great. You can tell they use quality meat, it does not have any dressing but I added ketchup that was on the table. The real MVP of the dish for me here were the french fries! They are just the right amount of crispy and stayed warm throughout the munching of the sliders.
N: Ironically, I have been eating cheeseburgers all week and these sliders are by far juicier.
A: These are buffalo wings. I love buffalo’s spiciness, and not many places get it right; they did here. The wings were good, the skin on the outside was crispy enough. The chicken is a little over cooked, but I do appreciate it that the wings are well sauced. I would order this at the bar with the game on and a beer.
M & N: These were both way too spicy for the both of us.
A: Solid nacho recipe with all the right ingredients, they were fresh and overall good but nothing exceptional... a bit bland actually. Those who probably want to sober up might love these as a late night snack.
N: I’m a huge fan of nachos and I have to agree with Alex... they are bland. There is not enough cheese. I like real cheese to be melted on top of the nachos.
Baja Fish Tacos
M: The cod is battered as well with the marathon beer. Pico de gallo is a little spicy, and it has chipotle cream sauce. Your basic fish taco recipe, however, they are huge! The fish is in one big piece. A well done taco but with too much pico. Coming from Austin (Taco Capital of Texas) for two tacos, chips, and salsa, just $7 makes the dish a steal.
We got a tour of the small room where the brewery is. Imani was kind enough to let us take some pictures and ask her some questions about how the whole thing operates. The brewery is maintained by brew master Blackwell. He has been handling things since they opened up 20 years ago. The fact that they did brew on site was a surprise and what drew us in. Imani informed us that they have a sister location, the Belmont Brew Company and they are independently owned. Sorry hotel guests- no room service!
The Overall Experience:
Despite the trek to find this hidden gem, it was well worth it on our part. The BBC caters to many different crowds which is cool, but the fact that they have a brewery on this deck, that’s just so much cooler.
The food was all promptly served. If you’re looking to escape the crowds of other local breweries that are usually jam-packed (and don’t offer Happy Hour) come relax up here, get away from the noise, and laugh at the people sitting in traffic.
Also hot tip locals: if you want to enjoy Happy Hour on the breezeway you can bring your dog! We recommend at least trying one of the cocktails, Cesar knows his stuff.
Overall Score: 4.5/5
Happy Hour Score: 4/5
We’d like to thank Imani and Cesar for being such great hosts, we had a great time talking to them and the tour of the brewery was also a lot of fun. Plus, now we get to say we drank on a rooftop brewery and what’s cooler than that?
Thanks for reading, and as always…