06.20.13 – Stonefire Grill is a family-friendly restaurant with a fresh, California-inspired, take on casual dining. Stonefire restaurants feature take-out service, catering, and walk-up ordering; they have several So Cal locations, and I visited the West Hills one for a craft beer tasting. Initially, I wasn’t expecting too much from the restaurant because of its casual and family-friendly atmosphere; however, to my surprise all of the food was exceptional.
I started off my dining experience with the Roasted Corn & Arugula and the Kale salads- both of which could easily compete with dishes from LA’s finer dining venues. I couldn’t believe how tasty and unique both of these salads were and just when I thought I couldn’t be further surprised- the main dish was served. I had the tri-tip roast, cooked medium-rare, and was astonished by how well prepared this dish was. Also, I can’t forget how phenomenal their breadsticks were- and I don’t even like bread! I may have been in a “casual” restaurant but there certainly was nothing effortless about this food. Especially after trying their undeniable dessert menu, I knew that the laid-back atmosphere was not, at all, indicative of the quality of the food. By the end of the meal I had made up my mind: Stonefire Grill is definitely a choice eating experience disguised by its ‘simple dining’ image.
My unprecedented dinner was accompanied by a variety of craft beers that I was able to pair with my food- the list included a variety of darks, lights, and IPA’s. This tasting and pairing is a preview of the beer program that Stonefire Grill will rolling out this year but at this moment it has not been launched. The official launch is expected by the end of this summer, so stay tuned.
For those of you who prefer the blond-colored beers, I recommend the Sierra Nevada Kellerweis, which goes great with any of the salads or lighter dishes. For someone who likes beers that are ‘in-between’ in color, the Hangar 24 Alt-Bier would be a great choice; it has a lot of toasty and toffee-like flavor with no overwhelming finish- making it perfect to pair with any food. Another darker beer that is certainly worth trying would be the Deschutes Black Butte Porter, which is abundant in chocolate and coffee flavor. This brew is somewhat comparable to Guinness and because it is so rich and lusty, it makes the perfect ‘dessert’ for those of you who like to end meals with beer instead of cake.
For all IPA-lovers, the Ballast Point Sculpin IPA should definitely be added to your bucket-list. Even though this beer has so many fruity flavors (such as apricot, peach, and mango), you will know that you are still drinking an IPA by the “wonderfully harsh bite” of bitterness in the finish. If you are going to do an IPA, this is the one to try.
Whenever you try a variety of anything, there always has to be a winner- one that was better than all the rest; at this tasting, my gold medal is awarded to the Fireman’s Brew Brunette. This beer surpassed all others that I tried that evening, due to its “drinkability”; though it may be dark in color, the flavor is not too overwhelming for it to be paired with food. This beer is a “winner” for all beer-lovers because it has the slight bitterness of an IPA, the chocolate and toast flavors and a dark brew, but still maintains the simplicity and ease that comes with drinking a light-colored beer. Fireman’s Brew Brunette was the perfect in-between for everything one could want in a beer- the key to its success was definitely moderation- there wasn’t too much or too little of anything, making it essentially perfect.
Overall, the Stonefire Grill Craft Beer Tasting was a pleasant surprise for me and anyone who expects a blasé dining experience from a casual restaurant. Stonefire Grill’s food was worthwhile to say the least and because of its to-go services this restaurant is the perfect go-to for anyone seeking phenomenal food at moderate prices, conveniently served. I recommend it to anyone who wants to bring a noteworthy lunch to the office or pick up an exceptional dinner coming home from work. And of course, to those of you who love pairing great food with great beer, the Fireman’s Brew Brunette should be your pick every time- a noteworthy drink to accompany an impressive dining experience.