As threatened, here is my take of the Kickoff Festival to L.A. Beer Week…
Usually I go to a craft beer festival and wander like a hobbit looking for a second breakfast but for the LA Beer Week Kickoff Festival, I was assigned to the Stone Brewing booth to pour. And pour I did save for a brief taste blitz midway through the the fest.
Which means this post is less about beers drunk in a Nick Hornby list manner and more about the people that walked past or stopped and ordered a beer.
First off being under a tent when LA is baking hard is a much better place to be than in the flow of the throng. With a prodigious amount of sunscreen I avoided getting burnt. Stone had two beers flowing. Made easier by the fact that both were double IPAs north of 9%. Enjoy By Independence Day and Mocha IPA.
The Mocha was quite good. Hops in the aroma, followed by coffee with a milky chocolate finish. No wonder that the small keg kicked pretty fast. It was pretty good timing to be with Stone reps after news had broken that brewmaster Mitch Steele was leaving for a new brewing endeavor. They were as wrong footed by the news as most of us were.
Most of the conversations were broken by surges of crowds. The life of a fest-Ista is not glamorous. It involves moving kegs and gear. Getting the beer to a decent temp despite the heat and fielding the same question repeatedly.
(I came to regret saying please enjoy when handing a glass of Enjoy By over the table)
I was able to try the Pilsner from Enegren, the unfiltered Pilsner from Brouwerij West, the new grisette from Monkish, another Pilsner from State Brewing and a Watermelon Chili IPA from Ladyface of all places. Notably, I had my first Sante Adairus beer too, their saison, Bernice. I missed Homage and Pocock as well as a couple Drake’s beers even though they were right across from me.
There were some funny little hats and a few strange outfits but mostly people who were there to enjoy some beer. Thankfully there were only a couple glass breaks for people to inexplicably cheer for. I will get into the set-up and quibbles later though.
The take-away is that the ticket to entry was a ticket to try all of LA craft beer in one spot. All you had to do was find some shade to enjoy the beers in.