A great excuse to be patriotic. Support American entrepreneurs!
A beautiful Southern California day to have beer…
…Culver City to be exact on the Sony Studios lot.
The Los Angeles Beer Fest!!
A very smoothly run event I must say. Free parking which is a plus on the west side. Check-in was smooth and kept separate from the entry line. A very nice selection of quality brews on hand.
On the down side, a sizable portion of the crowd was ex-frat party boys. Lagunitas only brought bottles no kegs and Bud and Michelob were on hand. But to be fair, no one seemed shy about trying something new and even Anheuser had Hoegarden Wit on tap so effort was being made.
On to what I had before I had to call it quits.
The Bruery – Saison de Lente
Excellent beer that seemed a little toned down from a bottled version that I had before. Light and refreshing though.
Left Coast Brewing – Hop Juice
Not the hop bomb I was hoping for so I would have to rank this as a middle of the road IPA
Alaskan Brewing – Summer Ale
Only so, so to me. I don’t know why but I much prefer their darker beers.
Pyramid – Rollick Amber
Very nice malty taste. One of the better Ambers that I have had and one of the best that I tasted.
Angel City Brewing – Che
Also very nice. Balanced. Not too malty and not to hoppy but with a bit of spice to it.
Dale Brothers – Black Beer
Sort of bland to me. Not bad but did not compete with the others.
Skyscraper Brewing – Sancha Lager
Excellent. In the top three. Light and refreshing lager. Would make a good session beer.
Dean Brothers – IPA
Unfortunately, did not taste right. Acidic and not hoppy.
Widmer – Drifter Pale Ale
I really like this beer. Spicy and fruity and great on a summer day.
Bootleggers Brewery – Hefeweizen
Plain. No banana or cloves. Below average to me.
The Bruery – Orchard White
You can’t go wrong with their beers. Complex but not overpowering. I wish they had brought more than two beers.
Coronado Brewing – Orange
Fair. Drifter from Widmer blows it away though.
If I had more tolerance I would have had more from the large selection that Angel City had brought and I would have tried Shipyard and Deschutes and Kona but my limit was reached.
Overall, I give the event an A.
Gonna get a little techy-geeky-wonky on you but this is excellent info from the BJCP website that will help you judge what a typical, solid Pale Ale should be. To check out the other styles go to http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/catdex.php
10A. American Pale Ale
Aroma: Usually moderate to strong hop aroma from dry hopping or late kettle additions of American hop varieties. A citrusy hop character is very common, but not required. Low to moderate maltiness supports the hop presentation, and may optionally show small amounts of specialty malt character (bready, toasty, biscuity). Fruity esters vary from moderate to none. No diacetyl. Dry hopping (if used) may add grassy notes, although this character should not be excessive.
Appearance: Pale golden to deep amber. Moderately large white to off-white head with good retention. Generally quite clear, although dry-hopped versions may be slightly hazy.
Flavor: Usually a moderate to high hop flavor, often showing a citrusy American hop character (although other hop varieties may be used). Low to moderately high clean malt character supports the hop presentation, and may optionally show small amounts of specialty malt character (bready, toasty, biscuity). The balance is typically towards the late hops and bitterness, but the malt presence can be substantial. Caramel flavors are usually restrained or absent. Fruity esters can be moderate to none. Moderate to high hop bitterness with a medium to dry finish. Hop flavor and bitterness often lingers into the finish. No diacetyl. Dry hopping (if used) may add grassy notes, although this character should not be excessive.
Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Carbonation moderate to high. Overall smooth finish without astringency often associated with high hopping rates.
Overall Impression: Refreshing and hoppy, yet with sufficient supporting malt.
Comments: There is some overlap in color between American pale ale and American amber ale. The American pale ale will generally be cleaner, have a less caramelly malt profile, less body, and often more finishing hops.
History: An American adaptation of English pale ale, reflecting indigenous ingredients (hops, malt, yeast, and water). Often lighter in color, cleaner in fermentation by-products, and having less caramel flavors than English counterparts.
LA Cabal has posted the link to purchase tickets to their May 9th event. Follow this… http://www.lacabal.org/ . They have also posted a partial list of breweries attending.
Secondly, Good Food last Saturday Evan Kleiman had Nathalie Balandran on the show to talk about beer and the history of women and brewing. Go to KCRW.Com and download the podcast. Nice interview with great info (I just wish it was longer).
Sunday, April 26th at 3pm sharp. Five beers (see list below) will be poured to the first nine that RSVP. For this tasting, I was aiming for lighter beers. For me, a really good pale ale or lager is hard to find. They are delicate in comparison to hop bombs or dubbels. So you can’t overpower a taster. But they are perfect for hot weather climes like Los Angeles. But enough from me, later I will publish the reactions to these brews from my panel of guests.
New Belgium – Mighty Arrow
Port Brewing – Hot Rocks Lager
Ommegang – Ommeggedon
Telegraph – Reserve Wheat
+ Mystery Beer
Now that I have fully recovered from the awesome amount of Belgian beers (25 on tap, 117 total) Here are some photos and commentary….
As you can see, a beautiful day in Carslbad, California.
The first beer of the day! Craftsman’s La Luz. Great way to start. Light but with a punch of flavor. Really excellent beer for a sunny day.
The second beer was # 16 on the list. The infamous Lost Abbey, Cuvee de Tomme. A super sour beer that is still way drinkable. My first sip was way sour but it mellows and is just excellent. Top beer of the day for me.
I was back at the taps for beers 3 and 4. A Dubbel and a Quad. The Dubbel from Hollister in Santa Barbara was good. Strong taste. Made with raisin puree. The even stronger quad was the Russian River Mortification. 11% alcohol and really good. Both are excellent choices.
I was four for four. Then I chose the only boring beer I had. The Pizza Port Faceplant from the San Clemente location. Not bad but the description said coriander and orange zest. Didn’t taste it. The alcohol must have obliterated the spicing.
Onto beers 6 and 7. I left the draft list and for my last two beers chose European beers. First was Baladin’s Al-Ikser. Very complex. A sipping beer not a “guzzling” beer for sure. Had a great smell and almost too many flavors maybe due to the fact it was made with whiskey yeast. The final beer was Boon’s Marriage Parfait. A vintage gueze. The 2nd best beer of the day. Sour but delicate. Easy to drink which is saying something for gueze. This was the 2003 vintage.
So Cuvee de Tomme, Marriage Parfait and La Luz are the top 3 but there were so many I didn’t try. Among them the Saison de Lente from the Bruery, Cascade Sour Fruit Ale, Nogne Saison and Ommegang’s Chocolate Indulgence. There is always next year.
Mark down May 9th on your calendar. Craft beer, gelato, live music with the proceeds going to one of my favorite charities, 826LA.
Very spendy but who could resist a beer made for and named for the brewer’s wife?
When you have had as many beers as I have had, surprises don’t happen frequently and when they do they are usually of the bad variety. But lately, I have had some really good but really odd flavors. Sloeber from Belgium has a sort of apple-esque quality but it has an sweet alcohol back. It is really hard to find the right words for. It is delicate and the most un-Belgian, Belgian beer I have had.
The XH aged in Sake casks from Hitachino is another odd taste. You get a hint of sake but also fruit and grain. It is a beer that at first tastes not like a beer but then all the flavors meld and it is wonderful. I do not know how many people will like either of these but to me they fall into the category of “what is this? It tastes really good.”
Starting in April, I will be conducting Beer Discovery Nights and then posting results and comments right here on the Search Party blog. Details are still to be worked out but there will be 4 beers on the docket either from one style or one brewery plus the St. Bernard Find of the Night and some munchies that pair well with the beer. Space will be limited.