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Lodi Beer Company

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The brewpub system at LBC is definitely a show piece that puts the spotlight on the beer. It’s a 15 barrel copper clad system built by Bohemian Brewing Systems, and contains brewed deliciousness using the finest grain and hops available.

Lodi Beer Company, untapped. Centrally located in Lodi’s beautiful and historic downtown, Lodi Beer Company is so much more than great beer. I sat down with Sam Rehmke to talk about her restaurant, LBC, and learn about how she and her husband got started in the restaurant industry.

“We had no experience in the restaurant industry at all. We wanted to brew beer. At that time–it’s changed since–the only way to have a brewery back then was to have a restaurant. So we opened one,” Sam said with a warm laugh. And the people who have tasted their beer and food could not be more grateful! LBC is a true Lodi gem. It offers a fantastic dining experience with fresh, made-from-scratch foods served in a warm atmosphere by people who love working there. What more could a diner ask for? LBC recently celebrated a ten-year anniversary and while they enjoy success today, it wasn’t an easy road getting there.

“Our drive to keep on going was huge. It hasn’t always been great. Being downtown when there weren’t many restaurants to attract people was rough. We had a huge learning curve. But we had the necessary drive to keep going, even in times that weren’t so great. That has been an important factor,” Sam affirmed.

And the beer, of course. That was another really important factor. Drive and beer. Yes, definitely a recipe for success. The dining areas, housed in a beautiful and historic building, are open and inviting with a really relaxed feeling. The brewpub system at LBC is definitely a show piece that puts the spotlight on the beer. It’s a 15 barrel copper clad system built by Bohemian Brewing Systems, and contains brewed deliciousness using the finest grain and hops available. There’s a very special and unique variety of hand-crafted beer available at any given time. Recipes may even change with the seasons, with some favorites staying on year-round.

And now, on to the food! Deep Fried Macaroni and Cheese: This item was taken off the menu for some time and then brought back due to popular demand. Sam even told me a story about two couples who would drive to Lodi all the way from Monterey just for the deep-fried macaroni served at Lodi Beer Company. Nothing else–not wine tasting, events or people in the area–got them to Lodi. I’m sure that group is glad to see this delicious treat back on the menu. It’s macaroni and cheese, breaded, then deep fried. Seriously, you’ve got to try it! It’s served in two variations, cheddar and zesty jalapeño. Both are divine.

The wonderfully refreshing Greek Salad was up next. It’s a spectacular combination of mixed greens, diced tomatoes, roasted red peppers, red onions, feta cheese and house-made candied walnuts with blackened chicken breast and balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Then there are the Baby Back Ribs. The plate of beautiful, juicy ribs arrives at your table. You might wonder why it’s not served with a steak knife, but after one glorious bite of melt-in-your-mouth heaven, it’s very easy to see (and taste) that one isn’t needed. They are slow roasted for about three hours and topped with a house-made barbecue sauce.

A current house special is a take on the Bistro Filet, only this one is topped with blue crab. This well-seasoned, tender and juicy filet is cooked to order and beautifully presented with French fries and made-from-scratch coleslaw.

Next was the New Orleans Cajun Burger. There’s an emphasis to source ingredients as locally as possible, whenever possible. The Kobe beef come from a farm in Corning, California, and is blended especially for Lodi Beer Company. The beef is seasoned in Cajun spices, then charbroiled and dressed in the LBC homemade chipotle dressing, sautéed red peppers, grilled onions, pepper jack cheese and lettuce on a grilled bun.

Finally, for dessert we enjoyed an LBC house specialty, Bread Pudding, right out of my dreams! As the menu states, it’s “like nothing you’ve ever had before.” This is another LBC original, made firm and rich, with berries and smothered in a house-made English sauce, drizzled with strawberry sauce and topped with whipped cream.

When asked about the phenomenal tasting food, Sam gives credit where credit is due—to her chef. He’s been with Lodi Beer Company for about ten years, pretty much since they opened, and has played a very important role in the development of the menu. She also raved about the rest of her knowledgeable staff, saying that each member, from brew master to bartender to server and everyone in between, plays an important role in the diner’s experience.

The menu is eclectic enough that there’s something for everyone here. “Grandma can come in and there’s something for her,” smiles Sam. “The kids can enjoy something for them. The wife who doesn’t want to go to a brew pub with her husband can come here and find something that suits her. From someone in casual clothes to someone in a suit and tie, this is a place that anyone can walk into and feel comfortable.”

With a full bar, a banquet room for parties and events, and even membership in the Lodi Beer Company Pint Club (read more about that online), LBC is ready to treat you to a wonderful dining experience. You can call them at (209) 368-9931 or find them online at Lodi Beer Company is located at 105 S. School Street in Lodi.