Beer Paper LA and David Walker

I admit it. I am an unabashed fan boy of Firestone Walker. I have the latest Luponic Distortion in my ‘fridge right now. So yeah, I will be tuning in to hear David Walker chat. As substitutes for an anniversary party goes, this is a good one.

DuClaw and Who Else?

I wrote a piece for the January edition of Beer Paper LA about a distribution company called Guest Brewer that brings in beers from breweries for short bursts of product and time and it got me to thinking about what other breweries that I think this would work well for and also selfishly, the ones that I want to try.

So far parts of California have seen Surly from Minnesota, Ska from Colorado, Goodlife from Oregon, and DuClaw from Maryland. Captain Lawrence from New York, and Evil Genius from Pennsylvania will also make brief apperances. I haven’t seen any of these yet but they all would be welcome in my ‘fridge.

I would love to see a few Oregon breweries head our way like Upright and their Saisons and wild beers. Cloudburst from Seattle is on my list. Bierstadt Lagerhaus from Colorado and more Fonta Flora from the East Coast would be lovely too.

Either way, operations like Guest Brewer are filling a need that was really only available to traders up until now.

Near Beer Paper LA

When next you are at a brewery taproom or bottle shop picking up a local beer, make sure to look for the latest Beer Paper LA….

…why? Because page 4 has a piece of mine about the soon-to-come rise of the Non-Alcoholic beer style. Check it out!

Year of Podcasts – Beer Paper LA

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Full Disclosure – I write (on occasion) for the print edition of Beer Paper LA and I might even be heard in a future podcast.  That being said, this is a perfect pairing with the paper and with an LA beer.  Now there is only a podcast, singular, but in talking with Kip Barnes about it, they are trying to make this podcast different from the rest and highly local.  And to make it easy to listen to time-wise.

Check out the first episode and get your bonus Beer Paper LA content.

BAM! 2014

The Latest B(eer) A(rts) M(usic) Fest is done but another good show was put on.

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As usual, there was just too much beer on hand at BAM Fest to try it all.  I ended up skipping large swaths of booths simply because I knew that I needed to pace myself.  I also was on assignment from Beer Paper LA to write about a few of the newer/less known breweries which were pouring so my focus was on trying their offerings and talking to them.

One of which, Santa Monica Brew Works gets a gold star.  Being the “local” or closest brewery to the festival, they had quite a presence and the most beers on tap.  Six all told while most others had two.  I was cautiously optimistic as I approached their table and I was really impressed.  Their regulars, an XPA and a Wit were both well done.  Clean and crisp and excellent gateway beers.  But they also had another gear to take it up higher.  The Chili beer was spicy without destroying the palate, the wet hop beer was a serious peach/apricot blast with a solid hit of bitterness.  But the winner was PCH – Pale Chocolate Heaven.  A golden orange color that was a serious milk chocolate beer.  Surprising and very tasty.  It will be the first one that I will try again.  My beer crystal ball tells me that PCH will be the breakout hit for SMBW.

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Port Town took my second place with their Hefeweizen and Pilsner.  Both solid examples of the styles. Styles that are hard to nail correctly.  This brewery gets new digs in 2015 and will be one to watch.  Venice Duck had bottles of their Agave Blonde and their Hemp Ale and both were also solid.  They rank a bit below Port Town because because they were a little less well defined in the flavor arena.  But the beers do seem to be improving from when I sampled them last and I hope they get their Venice location going.

The other newbie was House Beer.  They only do an American style lager and it was fine.  I would take Port Town’s Pilsner over it though.  Too much sweetness here for me.  Got a little cloying.  And I wish they could have their contract brew done in state as opposed to Wisconsin.

Other beers that struck a chord for me were the Post Season Ale from King Harbor and the Grasshopper from Kinetic Brewing.  A golden rye strong ale that to my taste buds was a delicious rye IPA.

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There are a couple things that I wish BAM would do for next year.  The beer area needs to be expanded.  By 4pm, the crowd was difficult to navigate, especially with a glass of liquid.  Maybe add a seating area or two that could draw people away to create a better flow.  Secondly, increased signage would be great.  Or a little map in your glass to show you what was where and at what time.  For the musical acts this would be easy.  A board near the stage with a list of who was playing and when.

That being said, this is a great festival that always gives you both beer choices and art to marvel at.