Congregation Ale House opened its first chapter back in 2010 in Long Beach and has since grown to three Los Angeles County chapters and finally, their first Orange County chapter here at DTSA.
It has taken over the location at the historic Santora Arts Building on the corner of Broadway and 2nd St. Congregation offers an impressive variety of your favorite German beers as well as local craft beers on draft and in bottles. Congregations’ house ales are given clever names like the farmhouse style ale Praise on Saison and the hazy IPA with fermented mango called A Hazing Grace.
The food served at Congregation is more than your standard pub snacks. My philosophy when venturing to new food destinations is to try their most basic dish. If they can get that right, then that guarantees their other dishes will likely be phenomenal. With this in mind, I ordered the pretzel to go along with my beer. This pretzel was soft, chewy and came with an IPA cheddar sauce. After tasting this sauce, I never want to eat cheese sauce that is not made with IPA.
Once my friends and I tasted the sauce, we knew we needed more so we tried the Rapture Tots that include IPA cheddar, jalapenos, sour cream, and bacon (we got it on the side for our veggie friend). Again, tots will never be the same without sitting on a bed of IPA Cheddar sauce.
Getting thirsty? It’s hard not to be seduced into drinking a cold glass of Praise On Saison, but I went with one of their guest taps, 21st Hell or High Watermelon. The beer was crisp and refreshing with a hint of sweetness. If beer is not your drink of choice, there are plenty of cocktails to quench thy thirst. The Grapefruit Gimlet is made with Tito’s Vodka, grapefruit juice, orange juice, and agave nectar. The color was a beautiful peach and at $10 is packed with enough vodka to get the blood pumping. The Santa Margarita is made with Patron Silver and was equally as refreshing.
Back to the grub, their Portobello pesto pizza was a cheesy garlic masterpiece topped with a refreshing mixed green salad. The menu options at Congregations are plenty. A variety of pizzas, burgers, sausages, tacos, salads, and more where displayed on their digital menu. This makes it a great place for gatherings with their variation of food choices.
The name Congregation suits this establishment not just for their ironic Catholic church décor and witty drink names. It really is a great place to gather and feel inspired. The bar is spacious and holds weekly trivia nights on Wednesdays from 7pm-9pm. You can also look forward to a DJ playing every Sunday afternoon. Congregation is also the host of unique monthly events which you can check out online on their event calendar at congregationalehouse.com.
Story by Jennifer Morones
Photo by Andi Martinez