Before we get too far into 2022, I want to re-visit 2021 again and look at my year in beer.
643 individual servings of beer were had and well over half were IPA. I would say bad me but I will save that for another point in this post. Of those IPAs, 114 were West Coasties and 105 were of the Hazed variety. DIPAs were 54 and TIPAs 19.
Pilsners and Lagers combined for 49 entries with Barrel- Aged right behind at 45. Sours, which I seem to be eschewing more and more ended at 15 and the beers from Foreign lands a pitiful, measly, really bad me 7. Right there is one of the reasons why I persist in this Excel exercise. So that I can see the stark numbers.
Speaking of stark numbers, I drank, on average, 158.7 ounces of beer a week. The lowest mark since I have done this. The ABV average was 7.38% per beer.
On to who I drank the most of, it as as follows:
- Firestone Walker
- Smog City
- Stone Brewing
- Radiant Beer Co.
- Eagle Rock Brewery
- El Segundo Brewery
- Los Angeles Ale Works
- Highland Park Brewery
- The Bruery
Yup, a 100% California list and 50% LA local to boot!
Finally, of note is that each week I “crown” a Beer of the Week. This year, Firestone Walker tallied an impressive 5 as did Anaheim newbie Radiant Beer Co. Smog City racked up 3 for the proverbial bronze.
Each and every year, I start the blogging calendar with a disclaimer. As a beer blogger, I feel it is important to be clear about my rules and morals.
Every beer, brewery, event, restaurant reviewed on this site whether paid for or complimentary will get the same treatment when reviewed. If I don’t like the beer, it will be described as a beer that I did not like, even if it was handed to me by the brewer and I like the brewer.
If I forget, (which probably will happen, because it has before) to mention how I got a beer or a pass to an event, then go back and read the previous paragraph.
I clearly want the Los Angeles local beer scene to continue to flourish and I want craft beer in general to do so as well. So, my reviews will also take that into consideration. Some points in 2022 will require cheerleading and others require harsh sentences. I am not subtle so I am sure you will figure it out quickly.
I will be as impartial and truthful as I can be while also staying as opinionated as usual.
This is where the Christmas rubber meets the holiday road. This month we dive into seasonals every day until Christmas plus Christmas beer reviews. Get your tinsel out.
~ e-visits to (3) breweries that made the Craft Beer & Brewing Best Of List
~ special featured reviews of beers with a touch of the Christmas.
~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 Foundation by Isacc Asimov
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to My Dad Wrote a Porno
~ Great Beer names and Best Beers of the Month
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.
Normally, I would review the standard Infinite Wishes as well as any and all 2021 variants. Since normal is still a few months away, I have cracked open a 2020 as well as the Peanut Butter Cup version.
Now let’s review these two from Smog City…
Oh the Wishes I should have made this time last year. But let’s talk about this waxed Bourbon Barrel Imperial stout, which the label describes as “a bourbon chocolate pie”. I initially get a red wine vinous note along with a touch of coconut. As it warms up, the chocolate starts to cone through. A mix of milk and dark versions. A tiny hint of oak adds a different taste along with a bit more carbonated sparkle than I expected.
Now let’s turn to Reeses, Jeff, Skippy or wherever your personal peanut butter fix comes from…
Big peanut hit upon popping the bottlecap. It is not a candy aroma or taste though. More peanut butter cookie to me. Maybe a cookie dough effect. Less carbonated than the previous Infinite Wishes which I think works better. The bourbon barrel flavors are effectively removed. I wish that some more of that remained to create a boozy cookie simulacrum.
Being an expat Portlander and not being able to return home to try Oregon beers has been trying to say the least and the New School Beer + Cider blog is not helping by posting a rundown of new breweries coming to the state. I strongly encourage you to check out the full list but below are the breweries (and contract brewery) that struck me as places to visit.
A brewery, in a formerly church with a gorgeous bar like that. What a great drinking environment.
A new Japanese and food based brewery is a really nice addition to the beer scene.
Contract brewing has always needed more facilities and more people focused on smaller breweries. Back Forty ticks both of those boxes and does distilling too.
That is one wicked cool logo and the fact that they will focus on the wild side of beer is even cooler.
Followers of this Blog will know of my ambivalence to Best of… Lists. I even cast a skeptical eye at GABF medals because there is just no way of truly knowing what the “best” is, it is merely a snapshot of a small slice of “best” to me.
That being said, this year let me conduct a different way of choosing a best. It will be a year long experiment. It will be for two types of IPAs, Hazy and West Coast. I pick those two because I will more than likely drink more of them than any other style and they will be widely available as we move (hopefully) out of lockdown. It will not be exhaustive. More California with a smattering of Oregon, Washington and other states. It will be subjective. Very subjective.
Updates will arrive each month with a top three leaderboard as well as list of all the IPAs tasted so you can follow along.
Almost missed this one, but you still have a few days to order some cider sincerely Cidercon 2021 will be virtual this year. Below are the days emails:
“Since 2013, Cider Summit has been the unofficial culmination of the annual cider industry gathering – CiderCon. Both events have had to pivot this year but we’re still working together to celebrate our amazing cider community. We’ve created two festival to-go tasting kits, featuring many of our closest cider friends from around the country:
Festival Favorites – Our Festival Favorites kit includes an assortment of eight ciders from Vermont to California. You’ll also receive two Cider Summit logo 6-ounce stemless tasting glasses, apple & pear stress balls, access to the guided virtual tasting on February 6 and small promotional items from participating cidermakers. The base price is $54.95 (plus taxes/fees).
Artisanal Import – Our Artisanal Import kit will include offerings from British Columbia, England, France and Spain. You’ll also receive two Cider Summit logo 6-ounce stemless tasting glasses, apple & pear stress balls, a Cider Summit bar towel, access to the guided virtual tasting on February 6, and small promotional items from participating cidermakers. The base price is $59.95 (plus taxes/fees).
Shipment is available throughout the U.S. via our friends at Press Then Press. Please visit our Producers page for product selection details.”
About this time the e-mails from SF Beer Week start arriving like a Christmas gift, but this year that ends with news of no Firestone Walker Invitational in 2021 also gets a jolt of good news as SF Beer Week will be California Beer Week in February.
Sign up for e-mail alerts to purchase beers for virtual tastings.
As many of us are, Beachwood Brewing is over 2020 and have decided to be bitter about it with a new IPA for what has to be a better year in 2021. The leading ingredient is labeled as “utter contempt” for 2020.
As much as it pains me to write these words, I do not see myself attending a beer event until at least March of next year. It also pains me to think that 2020 might not be the only year called a dumpster fire either.
The reason I say this is because, as I work the timeline backwards from February would require a workable vaccine to be found about, oh, now. Why? Because to ramp up vaccine production and get it distributed and then get the remaining Americans to get the shot is going to take time, three months or so is my eyeball reckoning. If we can get the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers to participate.
Then breweries who have not already pushed their events will need to quick time hustle to safely hold a festival and have all the special beer glass made, tickets sold, beers brewed with a diminished post office and airline and hotel industry. Oh and no one wanting to Lyft in or out.
And if all the timing breaks right, you now have to convince fans to come out to what will be a smaller festival because there will be some breweries who will be reluctant to attend.
I don’t see it.