A Haunting Place to Drink at Phantom Carriage Brewery

These days there is a brewery for everything on nearly every street corner.   But then we stumble on a place so unique that we’re reminded why we hunt for breweries in the first place. 

No other location in America’s…expansive…craft beer scene has as many breweries within a stone’s throw of each other as Los Angeles does, yet we found Phantom Carriage Brewery. 

And boy does it stand out.

A look at the bar from Phantom Carriage Brewery in Carson, California

A rare look at the empty bar. Photo – Phantom Carriage Brewery

Phantom Carriage Brewery isn’t just in some giant industrial complex at the tail end of a city surrounded by highways. 

Well it kinda is.  But unlike others, inside the 7500 sq foot building is not your typical wide open spaces with clinical steel brew tanks and a small corner tucked away with corn hole and giant jenga to make it feel homey. 

Instead when you walk through the doors you walk into another dimension.  A step out of the bright California sun and into the innards of a spooky homage to horror that doesn’t go overboard.  No eye-rolling kitsch in here

The brewery is named after a 1921 Swedish horror movie where a drunkard, while sitting in a graveyard, tells his buddies a legend where the last person to dies each year must drive Death’s carriage around and collect the souls of everyone who dies the following year.  To keep with the movie inspired theme, the brewery names most of its creative brews after famous actors who shined during that era of cinema.

And we can thank co-founder Martin Svab for that.

Svab, a former sales rep for craft beer behemoth Stone Brewing was born on Halloween (seriously) and has roots in the business of serving fine people good booze dating back to 1781 where his family owns a tavern.  But the real draw about Svab is his film background.  Before jumping into the craft beer industry he studied screenwriting at UCLA and went on to become a production executive after college.  

This bit of background lends an explanation on why some of the beers have names like Bergman, Cushing, and Lugosi.  

A dark sour beer Lugosi from Phantom Carriage Brewery
The rare dark sour Lugosi – Photo: Phantom Carriage Brewery

Especially Lugosi.  Bela Lugosi, the original Dracula.  The King of Horror.  The legend who also happens to be a beer.

This year’s Lugosi, just released this week, is a monster sour quad weighing in at a one-and-done 12.2% ABV aged in Syrah barrels.  Yeah, a legendary beer to match the master.

This kind of thing is where Phantom Carriage brewery shines.  The beers, crafted by head brewer Simon Ford, are not the kind of brews you’ll easily forget.  Beers like Deadly Harvest a wild blonde ale from oak barrels with a tart finish, or the Gates of Hell, a new beer for them which is a west coast unfiltered IPA.  For beer lovers looking for sours and barrel aged, this is your castle.  Your dark and stormy night kind of castle. Ford was a bit of a homebrewing legend around LA and it shows in his creations.

The place can also throw a hell of a party.  As if the Lugosi bottle release wasn’t impressive enough, all month long the crew at Phantom Carriage has not relented on the fun.  Horror trivia nights, movie nights, and of course an 80’s slasher themed costume party for Halloween night.  Because why not?

All of this has been a recipe for success as the owners and patrons have found out.  For only having been open a few years, Phantom Carriage has definitely put a big heavy pin in the craft beer map.  With insane bottle releases and the mood and decor to set the perfect spooky tone for those that are craving the haunting of all hallows eve no matter what time of year it is.

Bottoms up to our ghouls in Carson, California.

Phantom Carriage Brewery is located in southern California at 18525 South Main street in Carson, California. Their hours vary but are open every day.  Check out their website for updated hours, beer list, and events.  

For the full story on Phantom Carriage brewery founders Martin Svab and Simon Ford, read this amazing interview from the California Brewmasters.

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