Hop Culture Best New Brewery of 2022 # 1 – Mahalo Aleworks

Hop Culture did a round-up of best breweries in 2022 and it was a wide ranging list. This month, I will highlight three with the first being Mahalo Aleworks. This Maui brewery has a super cool train station style arrivals graphic for their beers, so let’s take a peek…

You can start with a traditional English Brown Ale or a Vienna Lagale. If you are in the mood for Belgian, they have a dry hop Saison or the more traditional Farmhouse Saison. Sours are their as well, Mango and Tropical last time I checked. Then to finish you can head for their Rum Barrel Aged Imperial Stout.

The Final Firkin of 2022

Before I dive into my quick thoughts for the end of the month, I would like to give a quick R.I.P. to Mumford Brewing in DTLA as they close after 7+ years. I visited when they first opened and thought the beers were only OK, but then a subsequent visit showed a fast growth. It taught me that some places need time to gel. From there on out Mumford was a solid winner especially with their hazy IPAs. Buy those few cans out in the wild still if you can.


Bourbon Pursuit and Breaking Bourbon have noticed that bourbon and spirits tend to run the opposite of craft beer. Big brands dominate. Making it hard for craft distilleries to get air where in beer bigger seems to default to worse or boooring.

As we head to a new year, both good beer and good bourbon will need to learn from the other. Heritage breweries will need to figure out how ubiquitous brands like Jim Beam or Maker’s Mark can remain popular even though they are much larger than little distilleries.

Craft distilleries need to ponder how chasing new trends works for small breweries and how they harness that energy to stay on the tips of tongues and front of minds.

And what I think might be more important is how do bourbon and beer combine past the simple fill a bourbon barrel with an imperial stout.

Christmas Beer Review – Our Special Ale 2022 from Anchor Brewing

You’ve at least ordered the Anchor Brewing Story, if not devoured it by now, so let’s dive into their 2022 Our Special Ale.

Right off the bat, the 2022 smells really malt. Just opened malt bag, malty. There is a bit of spice and a bit of apple cider here. To be honest, it tastes a little under done to me. I notice a little black licorice note as well. It doesn’t not say Christmas but it seems tilted to, dare I say, pastry stout? Apple cider and a yeasty bread roll version.

L.A. Scores in Best Of…..

….Craft Beer & Brewing’s annual round-up.

Here are the Los Angeles winners…

Readers Top 50 Beers – #23 Highland Park’s Timbo Pils

Readers Top Breweries – #13 Monkish, #15 Highland Park, #17 Beachwood

Editors Best Beers of 2022 – Highland Park Competition IPA, King Harbor Choco-Latte

Readers Best in Styles – Hazy IPA #8 Monkish, Abbey Ales #16 Monkish

Other friends / almost local Winners – Green Cheek, Figueroa Mountain, Bottle Logic, Firestone Walker

Review – Unity 22 IPA from Highland Park Brewery

Time to give the verdict on the 2022 Unity beer, an IPA from Highland Park Brewery.

The label has a Muppet feel to it which is cool with the logos on the left but not so much with the reaching hands from the word Unity.

The beer pours a dark orange and right off the bat loads of Concord grape here. A lemon note backs that up. Medium to low bitterness level to me. This review is from first day of release so it was at freshness peak. It is light and refreshing and as it warms up more tropical flavors appear.


The Brewers Association made no big waves in their 2022 beer style guidelines. Clarity, spelling and grammar being the key words in their press release.

As the craft beer landscape continues to evolve, we want to ensure that our Beer Style Guidelines continue to be a trusted resource worldwide and are in stride with the innovation that continues to be brought forward,” said Chris Swersey, competition director, Brewers Association. “We took 2022 as a year to focus on housekeeping, to address some discrepancies within the exiting beer styles, and for a small number of significant updates to certain beer styles.”

Stay tuned for GABF in the fall to see who comes up with medals.

Beer Review – Speedway Stout NEW variant from AleSmith

First beer box in the mail prize goes to AleSmith! And it is a long name. Speedway Stout with Madagascar vanilla and Ceylon Alba cinnamon.

This stout pours a pitch black. Lovely coffee cream head and lacing as well. I wondered, as I opened the can, would the vanilla out sweet the cinnamon? Or would the spice blow away the creamy notes?

To me, the two disparate ingredients meld together. The cinnamon has a red hot thing going on but it is tamped down by the vanilla making the mouthfeel less spiky. It is almost as each sip highlights one then the next sip focuses on the other.

Thankfully both flavors represent making this a grand start to the 2022 Speedway year.

In the Tap Lines for January 2022

header_attractionsWelcome to 2022!  I have a feeling that it will be a better year than the two previous.  Maybe that is optimism or just that I keep seeing new beers pop up and it makes me hopeful.  Have a blessed new year!

~ e-visits to (3) breweries that I would like to visit in 2022
~ special featured reviews of beer brewed in LA
~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 Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to Close to Death
~ 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.