Wandering around the exterior of the Santora Arts Building in Santa Ana’s Artist Village lie some steps leading down to a curious door. A Copper Door. As I walk slowly down the creaking steps and open the door, I feel like I’m in some sort of eighties horror movie. Heart thumping, hands clammy, high violin shrieks rhythmically going through my head. I check the time on my phone as its glow provides an ominous faint blue shadow on the walls. “Hi, I’m here for a beer tasting event?” I tell a tall slender blonde woman. “I sent the invitation…thanks for coming”. I firmly shake her warm hand, my nerves twitch my grip, just enough to hear and feel a subtle pop from her fingers. “Sorry my hands are freezing” I say nervously.
I settle into a beer and and meet Joe Corona of Wine Warehouse, a stout fellow in his thirties with a penchant for Belgium beers. He pours me a Blache De Bruxells; the quintessential Wit from the Belgian motherland. Its subtle orange and coriander aroma enters my nose like a ghost taking over my soul.
The Copper Door is a gorgeous hip place reminiscent of a dark cozy ski lodge. What was once a former Jazz club in the 1930’s now sits a high end beer bar with live music and DJ’s. Walking the spacious room, I nearly feel the energy of the former tenants. I can easily envision the room packed with people dressed nice, flapper dresses swinging, and cigarette girls mulling about the crowd as music bellows and thumps from the stage. A circular fireplace warms this vast space as large golden candles flicker and glow. Centered in the room lies a mammoth solid wood table with more than adequate bench style seating.
As we are seated, Joe starts off with a brief introduction on the beer offerings at The Copper Door. The beer menu is broken down into three sections: Beer Connoisseurs, Beer Lovers, and Beer Drinkers. Most selections are between $5-10 which includes a daunting selection of Belgium Trappist, Abbey, and Belgium style beers on draft and bottles. Other craft selections and macros are available, however the waitress informed me most guests are there for the imported Belgium beers. We quickly sample ten beers and jot down notes.
My favorites: Unibroue La Fin Du Monde (A+ Beer Advocate) is a stellar beer; the nose reminds me of the aroma you get when opening the door to Krispy Kreme Doughnuts…yummy bready funky sweetness. Three Allagash beers were poured, White, Black, and Curieux; the latter being my favorite as it’s probably the most readily available Bourbon Barrel aged beer (A on BA). Chimay Blue and North Coast Brewing’s Pranqster Belgium Strong (A+ on BA) went particularly well with The Crosby provided appetizers.
Of the appetizers provided by The Crosby, the Gruyere Cheese Tuile was my favorite; it included smoked sausage with Goosberry marmalade. The Red Cabbage Tart was also remarkable, containing beer braised red cabbage currants and carrot mustard puree on a dill puff pastry. Also served was a German Tea Sandwich that included Fennel sauerkraut, head cheese, smoked gouda, sweet & spicy mustardon on pumpernickel bread. The strong pumpernickel flavor really overpowered the bite. I must say, after power-housing through that many beers, I could have easily eaten my Chimay goblet!
The Copper door is ideal for large parties due to its vast space and hip cozy atmosphere. The large table also makes it a great spot to come alone and meet new people! Most nights the live music kicks off at 8 and may require a small cover charge. They also have pool tables if you’re feeling sharky!
They’re located at 225 ½ N. Broadway in Santa Ana; basically underneath Chapter One. Valet parking is available off of 3rd Street, however the nearby parking structure on 3rd is only $2. Meters are free past 8pm on weekdays, but don’t quote me on that. The area also goes nuts on the 1st Saturday of the month for the Artist Village open house. Check http://www.aplaceforart.com/ for details, the next one is Dec 3!