Hop Saint Brewery offers delicious Southern food

z_outsideThe craft brewery scene in the South Bay has exploded. Even more interesting is that they all seem to be doing well and none of them have gone out of business. I’m surprised that someone hasn’t started a trolley car to shuttle customers between South Bay breweries.

My latest find is Hop Saint on 190th Street near Anza Avenue in Torrance. Billy’s Deli and Cafe formerly occupied that space. Glancing at the food menu online, the emphasis appeared to be on Southern food with the focus on quality ingredients.

Beer Flight

Beer Flight

If you dislike taking a risk about ordering a full pint of a beer you don’t like, you can request a taste or order a sampler. The sample consists of 4 small portions from very light to very dark in hue. The light labelled as “easy drinking” all the way to the chocolate porter. After sampling each, I was surprised that I actually liked all of them, but for very different reasons. Most of it has to do with the weather or whether I was going to pair it with food.

In addition to Hop Saint’s own brews, they also have a nice selection of guest beers on draft. Hop Saint shows a lot of diversity in their offerings: IPAs, Porters, Tarts, Saison and even Ciders. Beer by the bottle is equally varied.

As much as I enjoy their beer, I happen to like their food even more. The first time I visited, I had trouble choosing what I wanted to order. I’m usually quick and very decisive. There were about 5 items that I could have selected that day. This time the fried catfish won over.

I’ve been to Hop Saint a few times and so these are my impressions on what they offer.

Deviled eggs topped with smoked pork

Deviled eggs topped with smoked pork

Their deviled eggs are a bit unique because they are topped with smoked pork. They are also served with fresh arugula and chives. This is a good starter to share.

Killer shrimp is another good one. It’s made with  roasted red peppers and fresh tomatoes, shallots, habanero chiles, cilantro and cream. It comes with toasted sourdough bread which is great for dipping into the sauce.

Southern fried catfish draped over gold rice and red peas and topped with charred greens

Southern fried catfish draped over gold rice and red peas and topped with charred greens

Fried catfish was draped over gold rice and red peas. With the addition of their creole mustard sauce and their hot sauce, this dish was remarkable. The catfish was very fresh, very crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. The smokiness of the charred greens was something I savored on every bite.

Smoked Duck and Andouille sausage was an effective pairing for their gumbo basmati rice. The brown roux was full of flavor. They seem to like charring items as the cornbread was also charred.

On one visit, my wife had the jambalaya and it was outstanding. Roasted chicken and shrimp was added to the holy trinity, andouille sausage, tasso ham and grits. Tomatoes and creole seasoning was simmering for a long time and the tasso ham really added to the flavor.

Key Lime Pie topped with marshmallow creme

Key Lime Pie topped with marshmallow creme

The only dessert I’ve tried was the key lime pie. It is made in a small round ramekin and served with marshmallow creme on top.

Burnt ends chili made with brisket

Burnt ends chili made with brisket

Sunday is when they have “Burnt-end chili”. Sounding promising, I ordered that to go and I’m glad I did. It was made with pulled burnt-ends of the brisket and it was extremely hearty. I appreciated that they even grated some fresh cheese and topped off our “to go” cup.

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While Hop Saint offers very good beer, I’d have to say that their food is the main attraction. This is really a restaurant that happens to be a brewery and not vice versa. Even if you don’t consume alcohol, Hop Saint is a wonderful find.

Hop Saint

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Follow Bryan on twitter for the latest and greatest in food trucks and street food. @btsunoda.

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