Congregation

BY:LYNNE SULLIVAN

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It’s not every day that you’ll see a bar with a playful spin on catholicism. That is, unless you live in Long Beach. Congregation Ale House is that place—a lively spot for craft beers in downtown Long Beach, with the servers dressed up as schoolgirls and a large stained glass window as decoration behind the bar.

“Monday Mass” boasts all day happy hour, but if you miss it, catch happy hour during the week from 3-7 for “Midday Mass” and late night specials Sunday-Thursday for “Midnight Mass”.

I am not a beer master by any means, but I enjoy a craft beer and this is definitely the spot in Long Beach to find some. It offers a wide selection of beers both draft and bottled and hosts a full bar as well.

Congregation occasionally has what they call “tap takeovers” where for a specific amount of time they will have a number of their taps taken over by one brewer. I was lucky enough to show up during an event with Deschutes Brewery, which happens to brew one of my favorite beers, Chainbreaker White IPA. They had about nine different Deschutes beers on draft.

The food menu has gourmet, quality items such as the duck bacon sausage sandwich or their grilled rib eye and white cheddar burger. However, if you’re not looking for a meal, fun snack items like pretzels and tater tots with an endless list of dipping sauces are an option. If you want plain ketchup or mustard you are out of luck, but people rave about these specialty condiments which include beer mustard, curry ketchup, Sriracha ketchup and rosemary garlic mayo.

Congregation’s salads are surprisingly good, I recommend their grilled chicken salad which comes topped with delicious artichokes and grilled tomatoes.

All orders are placed at the counter, which some people may find to be an inconvenience, but it definitely makes things easier when dining with a large group. The service is always friendly but don’t expect a lot of attention, especially on busy weekend nights. The bartenders at the counter appear to be trying to move the line as quickly as possible and the servers are busy running food from the kitchen to the tables.

Nevertheless, for all the beer lovers out there, Congregation Ale House is definitely spot in Long Beach worth checking out.