LocationAlhambra , CA United States
Reaching its nine-year anniversary in 2018, 38 Degrees Ale House & Grill has provided the Alhambra-area with classic and creative American Comfort Food on top of an impressive, rotating beer menu. I meet with Eric Katanian, the General Manager of the Alhambra location, to talk about beer, Alhambra, and the first annual Taste of Alhambra week. 38 Degrees is one of the local establishments, along with other community favorites, participating in the event during the week of Jan. 22-28.
What 38 Degrees Ale House brings to Alhambra
“We are a craft beer bar,” said Katanian. “The beers on our menu have to be privately owned and run, the minute they aren’t, we get rid of them. We are always changing, always trying to bring new experiences to our visitors. Get them out of their comfort zone in a sense.”
Their beer menu includes classics from favorite names in the beer scene including Russian River Brewing Company, a Santa Rosa-based brewery, and Pizza Port, a 26-year old brewery popular in San Diego county; but the selection also includes exclusive and experimental brews from lesser known distributors. The 38 Degrees staff focuses on establishing personal relationships with beer distributors in order to get onto allocated lists of retailers that get the first taste of special recipes and small-batch concoctions. Eric believes this approach differentiates them from other craft beer competitors.
Along with the dynamic beer menu, the Alhambra establishment also offers wine and a newly-launched cocktail program. But aside from attracting beer connoisseurs from the surrounding Los Angeles area, Katanian the ale house also attracts long-time Alhambra residents. “[Alhambra residents] are a very close-knit, loyal crowd…It’s nice, it gives it that homely feel,” he said. He compares the relationship he has with regulars to a Cheers-like crowd that come in at the same time every day and are close to the restaurant staff.
A new cocktail program in 2018
This year 38 Degrees is going beyond its polished craft beer identity and is currently working on colorful cocktail program to start. The cocktail menu includes special ingredients such as seasonal fruit, notable spices, and an overall concentration on drinks that “complement the weather.” But the new cocktail menu isn’t the only draw to customers.
“We are in the process of changing [our menu],” said Katanian. “We just bought a smoker so we are now smoking meats in-house and playing around with doing some barbeque too. And that’s some of the stuff that we will be featuring on our Taste of Alhambra menu.” Meats will be specially rubbed and smoked with mesquite and hickory chips from 4-14 hours depending on the meat-type. In preparation of the week and to “work out the kinks” 38 Degrees has already rolled out specials including a beef brisket sandwich and a pork spare rib plate.
Taste of Alhambra
According to the Downtown Alhambra Association’s website, Taste of Alhambra is a restaurant week that is part of “Visit California Restaurant Month,” an event series coordinated by the non-profit organization Visit California which focuses on supplementing attractions and events for the state’s travel industry. Cities across Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Diego Counties are also participating in this state-wide foodie attraction.
Between Jan. 22-28, participating Alhambra restaurants will be offering 2-3 course meals that highlight their classic dishes but also illustrate what else they can do in the kitchen. Meals in the “prix-five menus” will range anywhere from $15-$30 for lunch and $20-$50 for dinner. Along with 38 Degrees, other local participants include Dickies Barbeque Pit, Mahan’s Indian Restaurant, and The Diner on Main. Learn more about the restaurants participating in the week and their exclusive menus on the Downtown Alhambra Association website.
38 Degrees Menu for Taste of Alhambra
“Our Prix-Fixe Dinner Menu:
Choose 1 Protein:
– 1 lbs. Beef Brisket
– 1.5 lbs. of Pork Spare Ribs
– 1/2 Chicken
Choose 2 Sides:
– Mac n Cheese
– Cole Slaw
– Dashi Collard Greens
– Kennebec Fries
– Pecan Pie
– Lemon Meringue Pie
– Bourbon Caramel Ice Cream
Price: $25 a person for a 3 course meal
*Tax and gratuity are not included in this price. *”
-From the 38 Degrees Alehouse & Grill website.