By Michelle Sathe
Signal Staff Writer
It’s fall, and I don’t know about you, but I’m craving comfort food. The Shepherd’s Pie ($14) at Brewery Draconum in Newhall certainly fits the bill.
While deceptively simple in concept — mashed potatoes, ground beef and vegetables in gravy — here, it’s elevated to something far more complex.
The potatoes are organic, perfectly fluffy and piped into a beautiful swirl atop a rich, fragrant stew stocked with house-ground Angus beef, carrots, peas and onions simmered in Brewery Draconum’s own stout. Each bite is creamy, savory, satisfying and delicious.
Such attention to detail extends from the food to the incredible selection of beers brewed in-house, with close to two dozen variations to choose from on any given day.
Currently, the most popular brews are IPAs like the fruity Juicy Drake and the west coast style Siduri, which owner Ben Law describes as a “bitter mouth bomb.” A Vienna lager has been dubbed “the Brat chaser.”
“We like to have fun with names,” Law said.
There’s also a Salted Caramel Gose on tap for the holidays.
“We have some seasonals, we have some core beers. We can do whatever we want,” Law said. “Brewing is fun. It’s science, but it’s also an art.”
The beers at Brewery Draconum are created by Law and his assistant brewer, Nora Finch, who spend Tuesdays and Wednesdays brewing.
Law first got into home brewing after being given a “Mr. Beer” kit by his wife back in college. “It was horrible. The worst thing I ever tasted,” he said.
Motivated to do better, Law began researching brewing techniques online. When he got laid off from his media production job in 2008, Law became an at home dad working at BevMo in his spare time, where he really got immersed in craft beer culture.
Eventually, he went to work at Valencia’s Wolf Creek Restaurant and Brewery, where Law learned how to brew commercially. He also worked at a restaurant in Santa Monica to get management experience, all with the goal of eventually opening his own establishment.
“I created it with my family in mind,” said Law, who has children ages 4 and 6. “People with kids can come here to enjoy a meal and some beer while the kids can run around and play.”
The menu, a collection of classic pub and American bistro favorites, was the result of a collaboration with Canyon Country chef Andres Moya, who’s catered high end Hollywood events and helped open popular restaurants across Southern California. “It was my vision and his execution,” Law said. “Almost everything is made from scratch.”
Brewery Draconum opened in November 2017 and quickly gained a devoted following of beer lovers and foodies, garnering a 4.5-star rating on Yelp.
It’s easy to see why. For appetizers, there are classics like buffalo wings ($10 for 8 or $18 for 16), which are baked, then fried for a crisp but tender texture, just the right amount of tangy sauce, and the perfect spicy kick.
Then there are surprises such as the slow roasted beets with garlic labneh ($6 starter or $10 entrée), an inspired dish of earthy, succulent beets paired with the creamy Greek Yogurt, and a hint of bitterness from the wilted greens. Pile a bit of each on top of the crunchy, cheesy mini-toasts for a delightful mix of flavor and texture.
Entrees include the exceptional Saison fish and chips ($14) features a generous portion of tender, mild Alaskan cod encased in a crisp, beer-infused tempura-like shell. There’s a choice of fries or chips, the latter of which are especially crunchy and addicting. Both the fish and chips are enhanced with a dip into the tangy remoulade imbued with just a hint of horseradish.
Brewery Draconum also offers a wide selection of hearty, crowd-pleasing sandwiches, hot dogs, and burgers ($10 to $12), including vegetarian options.
If you still have room for dessert, the nicely tart, not too sweet blackberry apple cobbler ($8) comes to the table bubbling hot with a huge scoop of ice cream melting on the crumbly streusel topping. Ask for several spoons and share with the table for a fitting end to a delicious meal.
The servers at Brewery Draconum are friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable about both the food and the beer, eager to help you find the right pairing. The vibe is hip yet homely, with warm lighting that casts a flattering, golden spell. It’s a place where you feel comfortable lingering over great food and conversation.
“The most rewarding thing about having this restaurant is seeing people enjoying what we’re doing,” Law said. “It’s all about community and family.”
Brewery Draconum is located at 24407 Main Street, Newhall. Open Monday and Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday noon to 9 p.m. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. For more information, call (661) 568-9160 or like their Facebook page.