Hot’s head beer man Casey Enman serves up an Ouroboros flight. Photo by Alyssa Morin
When Casey Enman replaced Mike Siordia as head of the beer program at Hot’s Kitchen in Hermosa, his goal was to keep the spot’s focus on local brews while making room for some more European heavy-hitters. Casey’s beer ideals line up with those of Sean Chaney, chef-owner: a commitment to highlighting California’s finest suds, fostering personal relationships with local brewers, and, as Enman put it, “Being a beer geek without being pretentious.”
Casey came on about three months ago after leaving Congregation in Long Beach. Now with 36 taps at his disposal, he has a lot of room to reach his goal of building a diverse list with a few fan favorites (think Strand and Lagunitas). A favorite up-and-comer showcased at Hot’s is Ouroboros Ales, a small brewery out of Ventura run by a couple of regular guys whom Chaney met at his Hot’s Cantina in Northridge.
Coworkers at REI, Nick Velasquez and Ben started making beer together on the side and now have award-winning brews like Punk Bock, Purple Iris, Old Bar Brown, and Oktoberfest, all available as a flight at Hot’s right now. Nick and Ben are a couple of hard-working dudes, and are known to pop into Hot’s with their delivery and stay to help Enman clean the lines. Connections like this are the essence of the local brewers’ relationships with local restaurants, Chaney says.
The proliferation of breweries in the South Bay means an even stronger community of beer lovers and the encouragement of supporting local vendors. El Segundo Brewing Company, Strand, Monkish, and Smog City are changing the landscape of craft beer in the South Bay. Stop into Hot’s and see Casey – he might tempt you with his current favorite: Brainless on Cherries, a Belgian-style ale from Epic Brewing Co. out of Utah. Epic has mixed a puree of dark cherries with their traditional ale and aged it in oak barrels; the result is a rich wine-lovers’ beer with a sweetness that is perfectly balanced by malt and barrel age. In other words, it’s good.