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The Stufffed Sandwich - Beer Nirvana in SGV

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So the family and I got a late start heading out from the Westside to the SGV for some Chinese culinary immersion and in doing so, we got shut out at every locale that we tried. I think maybe many folks were getting an early jump on Mom's Day or maybe it was just the perfect weather. However, The Stuffed Sandwich has always sat on the back burner of my mind. I've been enjoying more focused beers for a while now, and I've perused their website from time to time just wondering out of curiosity what the latest beer happenings were going on there. Well, this was a perfect opportunity to try something off the beaten path in the SGV, and I didn't have to twist my wife's arm to do so since she enjoys a great beer as well. I also sold the kids on the idea: "Big sloppy sandwiches, curly fries, and cool sodas that only a few places carry..." Slam Dunk.

Indulge me as this was my first visit - just as I explained to the nice lady Marlene (?) behind the counter that I was a long-time lurker and first-time caller. The place itself is very casual almost to a fault, but like many places that Hounds appreciate, it's not so much about focusing on the tables, but what motivates you there to sit at the table in the first place. It's all about beer appreciation. There's both indoor and outdoor seating, and the patio area is surrounded by a fence. With perfect spring weather that day, the patio was full - we were lucky to grab a table.

If you think about a place like Father's Office, you know that it's a restaurant disguised as a bar. The Stuffed Sandwich is a beer-heads beer repository disguised as a sandwich shop. They have so many bottled beers (something like 700?)- mostly craft brews, European and hard-to-get stuff that has been aging for years if not decades. They also do beer/brew themes on a monthly basis. You can order smaller sampler-sized cups, or get a standard (I'm guessing) pint-brews. They encourage you to bring your own glass, as they only offer basic waxed paper cups. From seeing so many guests with their own cups, The Stuffed Sandwich obviously has a very loyal customer base.

The pulls are expert and very generous - first-timers like me are told to take a long sip before attempting to lift the cup or glass from the bar, as they fill your glass 110%. Belgian Beers are featured this month, and the taps were lined up with nothing but Belgian brews hand-selected by Sam and Marlene - nine in all. You can try all nine in sampler-sized cups for (I think) $25, but that's a lot of brew.

This is no gastropub - the food is good for what it is - basic but good sandwich shop fare with some pasta, bbq and salad items as well. The portions are generous - between the brews and the food, no one will go home hungry - guaranteed. If you're a beer-head, The Stuffed Sandwich is beer heaven and Sam and Marlene are the gatekeepers to the pearly gates.

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Stuffed Sandwich
1145 E Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA

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  1. For anyone that doubts the magnitude of Stuffed Sandwiches' beer selection ...

    See here: http://www.sangabrielvalleymenus.com/...

    Then see the backpage here: http://www.sangabrielvalleymenus.com/...

    And I believe this list is not even up-to-date with all of their current selections (rotating basis) or specials.

    1. Great beer selection, almost inedible food.

      I love the fact they have Pliny the Elder and other rare beers.

      8 Replies
      1. re: A5 KOBE

        Awesome beer range, nasty food, Pliny on tap ... sounds a lot like Naja's in Redondo. As I spend most of my time in either the SGV or the South Bay, I'll happily switch to Stuffed Sandwich for my rare-beer fixes if the music is less excruciating (or seats less sticky) than Naja's.

        1. re: A5 KOBE

          Is the Pliny on tap? (he asks hopefully).

          1. re: Peripatetic

            Pliny not on tap :( - the taps are reserved for their monthly themes - next month is anniversary brews.

            1. re: Peripatetic

              FYI, I had Pliny the Elder on tap at Father's Office in Santa Monica this past weekend if your looking for that specifically.

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              Father's Office Bar
              1618 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA

              1. re: JAB

                Thanks JAB. FO always seems to have it (that's where I first became addicted three years ago). I was hoping to find it on tap closer to home (Pasadena). Lucky Baldwin's has it once in a while, but it's infrequent, and possibly only coincides with the annual Pliny the Younger ritual. Russian River is reportedly very selective about who gets it and how often. Which to my mind doesn't explain why Naja has it so regularly!

                1. re: Peripatetic

                  If you're ever in Tustin, http://tustinbrewery.com/ seems to be one of those favored by Russian River.

                  1. re: Peripatetic

                    38 Degrees in Alhambra will usually have it, but they do run out on occassion. If they happen to be out, they have a very nice selection on tap that can hit the spot. Not a lot similar to Pliny, but I do really enjoy the Ballast Point Sculpin. I recommend giving it a try.

                    1. re: Peripatetic

                      Try calling the Verdugo if you need a East side Pliny fix.

                      They have Pliny on regular rotation plus you'll probably find something else there as well that you will like.

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                      The Verdugo Bar
                      3408 Verdugo Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90065

              2. I was tempted to go, but can't get over the "freedom fries".

                1. Of all the places I've ever seen mentioned on Chowhound, this place has the worst food. Think the snack bar at Walmart. That said, order the curly fries.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: sushigirlie

                    Wow - I didn't find the food nearly that bad, or was it the beer talkin'? :) The curly fries were ok, but the capocollo sandwich was pretty good - or was that the beer talkin' again?

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      To be fair, I only eat fish and poultry as far as meat goes. It may be that they make a good lunch meat sandwich.

                      1. re: sushigirlie

                        I had a cappacolla sandwich and it was just drowned in mayo. Not very good, but not disgusting either.

                        1. re: A5 KOBE

                          I asked the young guy who was making my sandwich to make it how he would want it if he was eating it. No overdosed mayo and a nice garnish of pepperoncinis.

                          1. re: bulavinaka

                            So what beers did you try ?
                            Which ones did you like or dislike?

                            1. re: burntwater

                              Urthel Hop-it! Hoppy Blonde Ale and Slaapmutske Tripel Nightcap Ale. Both were 8%+ and on tap as part of the Belgians featured this month. The Urthel was nice and hoppy but not over-the-top - I really like blonde ales and IPAs so this was a natural for me. The Nightcap Tripel was quite good as well but not as malty and fruity as I'm used to - a little more hop presence (or was that the food talkin'?). I wanted to do the sampler of course, but with kids in tow, this wasn't going to happen.

                            2. re: bulavinaka

                              "I asked the young guy who was making my sandwich to make it how he would want it if he was eating it."

                              Lucky for you he wasn't a big fan of the "Mayo Clinic" or otherwise you would have been slip sliding away... ;-D>

                              1. re: Servorg

                                "Lucky for you he wasn't a big fan of the "Mayo Clinic" or otherwise you would have been slip sliding away... "

                                Seriously enjoyed that one, Mayo Clinic.

                      2. re: sushigirlie

                        Sushigirlie, you may have missed the thread on AM PM hot dogs.

                        One thing of note for other folks who plan on going there.
                        You can't order a beer unless you order food.

                        The sandwiches are fine for what it is.

                        1. re: burntwater

                          and the pro tip... cause you have to order food to get a beer (something to do with their license), get a half PB&J for $1.50

                          Actually. I kinda like their foor in a guilty pleasure sort of way. They have spaghetti sandwiches!

                          1. re: emosbaugh

                            Potato chips don't count as food in case you wanted to order that as the cheapest item, but salads do pass as food there for there food and beer license.

                      3. Let me preface this by saying, Sam is a nut. Total whackjob. Do not mention politics or anything that may be construed as political unless you want to be dropped into a Glen Beck-esque rant that may end with your ejection from the premesis. This has not happened to me, personally, but I have seen it happen.

                        Okay, too much is being made of the food. They don't want to serve food, they HAVE to serve food... otherwise they are a bar and regulated differently. They take this very seriously, and require that everybody MUST order food with their beer. Period. Order a small side if it bothers you, that's totally fine with them.

                        As to the beer. Well... there's alot more there (in the "cellar") than Sam lets on. If you want something don't be afraid to ask. Want a bottle of Landlord? It has happened at least once. Want Westvleteren? Ask whether there is any out back... the answer might be no... it might be yes. Especially, if you've put up with a few of Sam's "tasting recomendations" which tend toward the sort of unwelcome advice along the lines of, "I can get you one that you've never heard of with a few hundred more IBUs, but you probably won't like it. How 'bout trying that that?"

                        Anyway, Sam is first and foremost a collector, and the Stuffed Sandwich pays for his hobby. It's not the most well conceived business model, but he's made it work for a long time now. I generally only make the drive when I want to try something with alot of age on it, or something that isn't distributed, or shipped here.

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                        Stuffed Sandwich
                        1145 E Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Moomin

                          In sum: this place makes sense if you're fanatical about beer (even Westvleteren can be purchased online) or amused by bizarreness (be sure to bring your own glass--otherwise you have to buy one).

                          1. re: sushigirlie

                            Last time I was there he was clearing out a mixed case of Young's... for a buck fifty a bottle. Good enough... until you realized they were from 1988. That is enough age to either thrill, or repulse you. Especially on a low alcohol brew.

                            I bought the whole case. Half the bottles had improved, half had turned. I really enjoyed the experiment and it was worth the $30 I gambled on it. No place else in town offers that kind of experience... nor should they.

                          2. re: Moomin

                            Moomin sums it up pretty well.

                            I really like this place, it is my guilty pleasure, but that food is not great, but I do still like it.

                          3. Damit Bula!!!

                            Why'd you have to let the cat out of the bag? Now my secret beer haven is no longer a secret.

                            MY FAVORITE BEER PLACE IN THE WORLD PERHAPS, I can just drink beer after beer here, and be a very happy camper, a few of my favorites, but they are pricey since you guys are already discussing it:

                            Russian River Supplication

                            Hansen's Dried Green Strawberry Beer

                            Professor Berlinweisner 1903 (????)

                            Kasteel Rouge.

                            Trappist Rochefort 8.

                            Trappist Rochefort 10.

                            By the way Sam is a beer genious. A wise, sage amongst the beer fanceurs.

                            And there food is not half bad: The meatloaf sandwiches on special are pretty darn good and I like their turkey sandwiches and their Italian dressing is homemade, very tasty, and heavy on the oregano, and other spices.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: kevin

                              sorry... :)

                              Tell Sam to open one up nearer to the Westside and I'll shut up... :)