Take down the tiki and store away the tropical shirts because Firkfest has a new theme for 2019…

June 29th is the date this year and tickets are on sale NOW!

Ranger the Bear Approved

It is hard to believe that the Brew at the L.A. Zoo will be turning 8 this year but that is indeed what will happen on Friday, August 3rd from 7pm to 11pm. Or you can VIP it and start at 6pm.

The Brewery at Simzy’s Burbank has stepped up again and has brewed up a Zoo beer with ingredients chosen by the L.A. Zoo’s American black bear, Ranger (excellent name for a bear, by the way). “Specially crafted for Brew at the L.A. Zoo, the pale ale has notes of hibiscus flowers and honey, ingredients picked by Ranger himself.”

Here are the participating breweries that I think you should taste from (others are either part of SABInBev or trendy spiked drinks)
101 Cider House, Alosta Brewing Co., Angel City Brewery, Baja Brewing Company, Ballast Point Brewing Company, Brewyard Beer Company,Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Five Threads Brewing, Four Sons Brewing, Innovation Brew Works, KeVita, King Harbor Brewing Company, Lagunitas Brewing Co., Latitude 33 Brewing, MacLeod Ale Brewing Co., Pizza Port Brewing Company, San Fernando Brewing Co.,Stone Brewing, The Bruery, Three Weavers Brewing Co., Transplants Brewing Company, Verdugo West Brewing Company, Yorkshire Square Brewery, and more…

Here are the ticket prices….
Online advance purchase: $65
Designated Driver admission includes unlimited soft drinks: $35
VIP admission: $135
Box office: $75

…and HERE is where you get the tickets.

Locals Rock

On Sunday, September 15th Rock & Brews in El Segundo celebrates their 3rd Annual Local Craft Beer Festival from 12-5PM


Here is the information from their press release, “This will be a beer fest of unrivaled magnitude; both a beer fest to pay homage to the booming local craft beer scene of Los Angeles, and secondly, a Rock & Roll circus extravaganza! Yes, you read that correctly. 15 of the best local craft breweries that LA has to offer will be present, showcasing and pouring their delicious liquid goodness. The breweries will be bringing both flagship beers, and beers so rare, you have a better chance of spotting Big Foot than these beers anywhere else. To accompany the beer, there will be many fun carnival-esque games such as dunk tanks, high-strikers and more. Try your luck to win the games and receive weird, whacky, and fun prizes! Bring the whole family! Great beer, food, music, games, and freakshow costumes all rolled into one great event.”

Participating Breweries include:
El Segundo Brewing Company
Strand Brewing
Eagle Rock
Smog City
The Bruery
Hangar 24
Golden Road Brewing
Port Town Brewing
Ohana Brewing
The Dudes’ Brewing
Cosmic Ales

“The event is $50.00 for the drinking admission, $10 designated driver tickets and $10 for the kiddos. Adult tickets include: Admission, commemorative glassware, ten 4 oz pours, and unlimited games! Non-drinking ticket includes: sodas, cotton candy, popcorn, and unlimited games! Food includes: Tri-tip and pulled pork sliders, pretzels and more for sale.”


Taste of Long Beach

Long Beach will play host to the 3rd iteration of the Taste of Brews later this month on the 24th.

logoIt will again be held at the Lighthouse Park and benefit the Long Beach Marine Institute.  Skip past the  Journey tribute band “The Journey Experience” and 80s cover band “The Pac Men” and head to the taps manned by Golden Road, Karl Strauss, Sam Adams and Firestone as well as Rock Bottom, Beachwood, Belmont, El Segundo, San Pedro and Strand Brewing Co.  Plus several breweries from the Inland Empire like Hangar 24, Wiens, Inland Empire, Craft Brewing and Packinghouse will also be on hand.

Now I have not been to this event so I cannot vouch for it.  But if you are averse to driving to the IE to try their beers.  This might make a perfect opportunity to try them at the beach.  Plus Beachwood is never a bad sign.

Firestone-Walker Invitational (the recap)


As threatened here is my recap of the Firestone-Walker Invitational that was held on Saturday……

With a beer stained shirt, I left the 2013 Firestone-Walker Invitational Beer Festival dizzy from the variety of beers and breweries on display and maybe the triple digit heat too.

The Mid-State Fairgrounds was hopping with crowds attracted by an impressive worldwide brewery list with beers that are rare within miles of their home breweries, let alone seen in California. Dark Lord from Indiana’s Three Floyds or Hunaphu from Peoples Choice winning brewery, Cigar City from Florida.

Both highly rated beers and both excellent but in my opinion, three others made my Best in Show List (plus an honorable mention in Tipo Pils from Birrificio Italiano).

#3 – Dos Osos IPA from Revolution Brewing. A collaborative hop bomb between the 3 year old Chicago brewery and Firestone-Walker. Was super fresh with a great bouquet.

#2 – Nefarious DIPA from Boneyard Brewing. For a big DIPA this (again very fresh) Double was light and nimble.

# 1 – Prickly Passion Saison aged in Peach Whiskey barrels from the venerable New Belgium. My first beer of the day and one that struck a chord that I measured all the rest of the days beers on. Had a bright fruit note that balanced with a smooth and light barrel flavor.

OK, on to my beer festival check list:
water: plentiful (they also had cool zone blowers and misters at most stations to keep things cool)

food: plentiful (and free with admission) I certainly enjoyed the cupcakes but you could really do some great beer pairings.

crowds: There were long lines but that was to be expected. You could easily move about the fairgrounds and if one line was too long another fantastic brewery was close by.

Considering the heat and the massive beer geek popularity of the beers on hand this was well-run and smooth operation. (Which was not a surprise to me)

This will be an annual pilgrimage for me.

Event Review – L.A. Beer Week Finale

Craft beer can draw a crowd. Despite some serious heat. Despite the Carmageddon sequel on the 405 freeway. And despite a triathalon blocking other routes, Union Station was packed with beer lovers who were shown a cornucopia of craft beer choices.

For the first time this year, I signed up in time for one of the three break-out sessions (indoors) that were on offer. But I did have time to sneak in a couple beers first. So I started with Smog City’s Citra Quercus and Bravery’s Allegiance IPA.

This was not the panel I was attending (though I hear it was great). I sat in on the Unity – Prickly Pear panel and sampled four of the prickly pear influenced beers from Eagle Rock, Monkish, Beachwood and Ladyface. It was a study in comparing where one ingredient would take a brewer. Two added it to existing beers to create a whole new breed and two created from the ground up. Or the Sueno up in Monkish’s case. My favorite of the group was the super Prickly Pear Chesebro IPA from Ladyface that was SUPER red and fruity before getting back to bitterness at the back.

This year, I decided that I was only going to have beers that I had not sipped before. And I still had plenty of options. I got my first taste of Ritual Brewing from Redlands, Ouroboros and the aforementioned, Bravery. And I tried new beers from Ohana (Saison Dubach), El Segundo (Rum/Oak Hyperion Stout) and Hangar 24 (a hybrid IPA a blend of two of their regular hop offerings) too.

The ratio of hit to miss was about even. Partially due to the heat and the fact that after seven or eight tasters the palate gets a little wonky. But that is what is great about beer festivals, you get to sample so many and find that gem of a beer. One like Bravery’s Pineapple Boo which had a kiss of pineapple then a nice wheat beer behind it.

Speaking of gems. My two favorites were from one booth. Smog City. Their Citra Quercus and Weird Beer (yes, that is the name) both rocked.

They were light with a complex swirl of spices and very refreshing. Each one made you stop and go what is in this. I even told complete strangers in line to get either one or both.

So the 4th annual L.A. Beer Week is complete. Due to BAM Fest in Santa Monica and the Great American Beer Festival coming soon, there will be no heavy critique on these pages about this year’s extravaganza. But I would like to hear your thoughts as to how to better improve the festival and the week as a whole for when the Week turns five.

L.A. Beer Week – Day 14 – Union Station

What a beautiful Sunday to have a beer festival. There were three “must” attend events for this two week bonanza called L.A. Beer Week. One was Deconstructed, the second was the Beer Float Showdown and the third was the festival finale.
First on my list was to sample the beers from L.A. newcomer Ohana. They were pouring their new Black IPA by the gritty L.A. name of Black Dahlia. As well as two versions of a Muscat barrel lambic. And as good as the IPA was to this hophead, the lambics were great. One was milder and really showcased the grape tastes with a bit of tart. The punchier version was much more Belgiany and pucker inducing. I liked both equally precisely because they were so different but with common flavors.
The other spot that I honed in on was the Pro-Am area. And I was lucky to get the last of the collaboration of Strand Brewing and the Beer Chicks. It was a combination of hops, nuttiness and caramel that I really enjoyed. I ended up trying close to (15) samples while alternately hiding in the shade and warming up. But there was just too much good stuff being poured. From Beachwood…. to Craftsman…. …to Dogfish Head…. and many more inbetween.

The first two iterations of the festival, I volunteered. But this time around, I played the role of media and got to see the event from a new perspective. There was quite the equal representation. Both genders and all ages in equal amounts. This was definitely not a Beer Geek dominated party. There was also a wide representation of beer with a nice amount of focus on SoCal. I was really impressed by the amount of beer that Craftsman brought too. Angelino Weiss, Ruddy Bloke, Sour Grapes among the many they were pouring.

On the downside, water stations were nowhere to be found and I walked around a few times looking. At a festival with unlimited pours, there needs to be easily accessible water. There was a hiccup getting people inside but that was an unforeseen complication that was not the fault of the organizers.

Overall, it was easy to navigate and get beers. Not many lines and the ones that were there were fast moving. Couple that with the selection and the weather and this event was a winner.