Taking over the former Caution space in Lakewood, Old 121 Brewhouse held their grand opening this past Sunday with seven of their own beers, a collaboration and a handful of home-crafted sodas. Short-version, Old 121 is your standard suburban brewery; great if you’re in the neighborhood but not worth crossing town and passing a dozen other craft breweries. The taproom is little-changed from Caution and stayed full all afternoon and evening, with crowds spilling onto the patio. Given that many breweries take a few months to really hit their groove I’ll definitely look to re-visit and reassess in six months or so.
BEER LINEUP: The seven-beer taplist mostly stuck to the light/medium styles and seemed pretty typical for opening-day; stuff that could be done quickly and with less margin for error. Everything I tried was pleasant and I’m sure like most breweries, time and experience will let Old 121 experiment and expand their offerings.
ATMOSPHERE: Opening Day is atypical for any brewery, and Old 121 certainly had a big opening day. The taproom was packed and the energetic crowd spilled out onto the patio. It seemed like a younger, neighborhood crowd with some families included. There was a lot of turnover with people dropping in to check it out and then moving on. The taproom itself retains the charmlessness of Caution and doesn’t try to hide that it’s a plain-vanilla slot in a suburban strip mall. Decoration is non-existent and furniture is bar-101; hard-surfaced bar stools along with basic tables and chairs. There are several food business in the nearby strip malls including a wing place and a pizza joint that provide food for eating in the brewery.
SERVICE: Old 121 seemed to have smartly staffed up for Opening Day and the servers were busy but still relatively efficient and very attentive.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Located in a strip mall near Wadsworth Boulevard and Jewell Avenue, the area around Old 121 is exactly what you would expect. The neighborhood contains the standard strip malls with the usual mix of chain and local businesses, surrounded by mostly single-family housing. Unless you live closeby, there’s not much to draw you to the area except, perhaps, Old 121. Most people will find Old 121 a driving destination and happily there is plentiful parking. It can be easily combined with a trip to Landlocked just down Wadsworth.
STANDOUT BEER: In all honesty I didn’t find a beer that blew my mind, but given their newness I thought that the Lager turned out pretty well. The light-yellow, slightly-cloudy beer had a thin mouth-feel, as one would expect. The flavor profile was significantly more complex than your average lager, however. I detected alternately a little sweet, a little sour, and a little hoppy. While I wouldn’t necessarily call it balanced as the flavors never seemed to blend, it made for an interesting and easy-drinking brew that will be a great thirst-quencher this summer.