In the Tap Lines for June 2023

June is a special month on the calendar. You have the Firestone Walker Invitational, you have L.A. Beer Week and the weather ain’t like a pizza oven yet here in Los Angeles. This month plenty of posts about the festivals and less about the weather.

~ e-visits to (3) breweries from the Central Coast

~ special featured reviews of beers to and back from Paso Robles

~Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events

~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark

~ A Book & A Beer reads Lone Women by Victor Lavalle

~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to Vinfamous

~ Sports & A Beer returns with the transfer portal

~ New Beer Releases and Best Beers of the Month

~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.

The Firkin for May 2023

At the start of this month, the Craft Brewers Conference was held in Nashville, Tennessee. There was a bit of dismay at both the choice considering the hostility towards, well anyone not a white male, in that state as well as disappointment at the Brewers Association for not either moving it (may not have been feasible) or at least using their voice to condemn recent laws.

Let me preface the next bit by saying that I am an over 50 white guy who is trying to be more aware each day and who tries to keep rose colored glasses and blinders away from my face to see the world as it is.

There are some steps to be made that I think will help.

  • Create a city selection committee who will make suggestions based on current optics and politics and not on facilities or hotels or cost and maybe not have any white people on it, just to see what happens
  • Have a grievance list for the city chosen because you can easily find problems in literally every city in this country, then air your grievances like at Festivus
  • March to the state house of representatives and hand them your grievances and let them know that if they are in the red, as it were, that they may not get the conference again until things change
  • Allow dissenters to participate virtually if they feel unsafe going to a city. Or better yet, create an alternate conference where views can be spoken

It is easy to sweep things under the rug. It is easy to just say craft beer is broken. The truth is in the middle. There are great people in craft beer and there are shitty people in it. No one in this country is doing well by women, minorities or anyone not a rich white male. To expect that craft beer will be an exception is naive. But, we can all push the ball forward. Might only be a yard and a cloud of dust but we can all enjoy our beer and make good change.

The Best Beers of May 2023

To be transparent, I did take a pre-Invitational beer break so May drinking was cut short a few days but since I am a very picky beer buyer, the quality is there if bot the quantity.

This was a particularly strong beer class as well. I had Green Cheek’s Illusion of Choice (great name – by the way) Hazy on draft at North Hollywood’s Hop Merchants and it was great. Had the haze but didn’t have that unfiltered apple cider brown look. I also had a collaboration lager from two Washington State breweries, Lowercase and Machine House which was fantastic. Glad to see super high quality lagers in cans.

But the winner was Seoul Searching IPA from right here in Los Angeles. Party Beer Co. teamed with LA Mill Coffee on a tea driven IPA and it had such a bright tea note, very floral, without sacrificing the hoppiness. A really grand aroma when the can was cracked open.

Firestone Walker Invitational Brewery # 3 – Private Press Brewing

We are mere days away from the 2023 edition of the Firestone Walker Invitational in beautiful Paso Robles and here is the third featured brewery that will be pouring at the fairgrounds, Private Press Brewing.

They are unique in that is a membership brewery that focuses on barrel-aged brewing focused and creating only Imperial Stouts and Barleywines. As with most membership breweries, the output is small and the wait list long and winding but the below beers give a taste of what they are up to, in case you run across them at a festival.

Limitations American Strong Ale – “Bourbon barrel aged munichwine ale brewed with honey.”

Ripple in Time Quadrupel – “Belgian-style Quadrupel aged in bourbon barrels.”

1966 Barleywine – “Blend of bourbon barrel-aged barleywine ales.”

Collaboration with Cellarmaker Brewing Company


The Los Angeles Brewsology Beer Fest is back for 2023. It is a good mash-up of beer and museum as you get a festival at the California Science Center.

It will be held on July 8th, with a brewery list over 50 + food trucks and all-inclusive access throughout the museum and exhibits after hours.

Beer Review – London Lager from Machine House Brewery and Lowercase Brewing

I have been jonesing to try a beer from Seattle’s Machine House Brewery. It seems to be a brewery where the best is draft but thanks to some Lowercase Brewing beers sprinkled into Los Angeles, I get to try the collaboration London Lager from the can.

“A traditional base of Simpsons Lager malt and Crisp Floor Malted Maris Otter with some of the finest East Kent Goldings. We decided to recruit some Hallertau Mittelfruh hops from Germany because Lowercase are Mittelfruh Children.”

To me, this is a classic watch Premier League highlights beer. Light orange in color. Lovely malt aroma on the nose. Soft and delicate mouthfeel. Nothing really dominates. All subtlety. Some potpourri and orange pith with a tiny metallic clang.

Tour the City

Right upfront, I usually do not buy beer in the mail. There are a couple places that I check out but your Tavours of the world just aren’t my cup of tea. Mostly because I am super picky and prefer to choose the beers that I want in the quantity that I want and I just enjoy the experience of in person shopping and looking through the coolers.

But….City Brew Tour has an interesting hook to it. It is the ubiquitous subscription model and yes stickers and koozies seem to be a big part but what I like is that each month focuses on a different city and not just big cities or easily known beer cities.

For example, Bend, Oregon has been a stop but not Portland. New York hasn’t been hit nor Asheville or Denver. Yet. Instead you get Mikwaukee, Grand Rapids and Lexington as stops. And they already have Cincinnati lined up for June.

Last 4 Monks

With another Trappist brewery closing, this time Stift Engelszell in Austria, it may be that craft beer fans will see both the high and low water marks of the protected trademark associated with brewing in a monastery.

At Stift Engelszell, the last four monks made the move to another monastery.  It is probably both a victim of changing tastes in not only beer but also in religion.  Second sons are not forced into a career path in theology as in the ye’ olde days and even the term primogeniture isn’t used outside of the odd coronation, here or there.  It is actually surprising that monasticism has lasted as long as it has.

Hopefully the Trappist organization can find a way to save these recipes and maybe revive the brands under a less stringent set of productions.

Seasonal Magic

Craft beer has seasonal beers, most notably in winter but there are certainly beets for spring, summer and fall too. When obe thinks of gin, you may not think that way but Leopold’s Distilling in Colorado does and their summer gin is out now for 2023.

“This gin draws on the warm climates from which its exceptional ingredients are harvested by hand: Spanish Blood Oranges for a rich sweetness, French Immortal Flowers and Juniper Berries for a cool and clean flavor, and Australian Lemon Myrtle for a fresh, citrus finish. Each ingredient is distilled individually to honor its distinctive flavors.”