Given the scarcity of local microbreweries in the Orange County area, I had high hopes for my trip to Steelhead Brewing Company. It is located across the street from the UCI campus, which is conveniently close to my work… perfect for an occasional happy hour or after-work dinner. Because of its close proximity to the university, Steelhead seems to cater to the college crowd with its array of burgers, pizza, tv screens, and beer. It also has a decent-sized bar and open lounge area, great for chatting with friends over cocktails or appetizers.
Luckily, though, my review is about craft beer rather than food, because the dinner I ordered was very average and overpriced. For my brew choices, I sampled their Lord Stanley Stout and their Raging Rhino Red, which were both very drinkable and categorically tasted like they should. The Lord Stanley was a dry Irish stout, with a lot of roasted malt flavor, and the Rhino was hoppy without being over-hopped. In my opinion, they were both good session beers.
What I did find pleasantly surprising, though, was the U.C.I.P.A. that my husband ordered. It had a really nice floral aroma, and lacked the bitterness that many West Coast style IPAs are prided for. It was well-balanced, which allowed me to enjoy the nose and hop flavors without being overwhelmed by them. With all other factors considered, this was the beer we might actually go back for.
If you want to try Steelhead out for yourself, you can find more info on their website. I’d love to know what you think, or if there’s anything you recommend there!