Best Beers of March 2024

Time to get into the time machine and tab the top beers of March before we head into the April drinking session.

Honorable Mentions go to Long Beach Beer Lab for their Brewte (Brut) IPA, good to see this sub-style pop up on tap and this was a nice executed crisp, dry and pear version. Next to mention is the pilsner High 10 from Highland Park Brewery. The menu board had re-brews of past years and there were many High 10s to choose from but I really liked the West Coast Pilsner. I also quite liked the latest Short-Lived IPA from MadeWest brewed with Firestone Walker. Crisp and biting with nice fruit notes.

The March winners was the strawberry whipped Infinite Wishes from Smog City Brewing. Filled with berry notes and a slight touch of vanilla, it was luxury when paired with a bourbon barrel imperial stout.

The Best Beers of November 2023

I have three picks for this month. Two canned and one on draft.

In third with the bronze is the draft Bit-O-Sunny IPA from Eagle Rock Brewery. It was different from their other IPA options, it had a brightness, dare I say Sunniness to it that peaked it above the general IPA din.

Second was my second beer from GOAL Brewing with the long name of Shattered Backboard Ones. A San Diego hazy that like the Bit-O was bright and super fruity.

In first place is the Cold-ed version of Wookey Jack, Arctic Wookey from Firestone Walker. Big dark roast notes but the hops punched through it enough that it never became lopsided like so many black IPA’s can be. Maybe the missing link was the IPLing of the style.

Best Beers of October 2023

Some months there is a clear front runner for best beer of the month. Not October, so instead of closing my eyes and picking at random, here are the four beers that intrigued my tastebuds the most.

In no particular order:

  • Firestone Walker Credit Czech – malty and smooth
  • Riip Beer Pineapple Panacea – pineapple smoothie
  • Institution Ales Fall Seasonal IPA – multiple layers of flavors
  • Offshoot & Stone //Dolphins.Escape.Bikes IPA – filled with competiting fruit notes

Best Beers of September 2023

It was grand to have some draft Trillium this month so I need to put Headroom Hazy DIPA on the best of list for the month. I also have to shout out a dopplebock from Ventura Coast Brewing, Earth Day for being such a pleasant style change from all the hops. Speaking of, I was shocked to see that my AmaWhole FoodsZon had bottles of Russian River’s Hop Growers IPA – CLS Farms edition in their cooler. It was light and delicious.

But my winner is from Oregon, Cascade Brewing’s Tartini. Sour but not puckeringly so. And by goodness, it had botanicals not only in the beer description but in the beer itself. Lovely light spice note. On the nose for gin fans.

Best Beers of July 2023

Well, even though i spent three weeks in Los Angeles and only one in Portland / Hood River, my best of is basically a list of what I drank up northwest.

Though I do give Pure Project’s Shake the Ground Murky Triple IPA an honorable mention that in most months would be good for at least 2nd place.

But the winner is Fracture Brewing’s Hype Machine Vol. 1 – Oat Cream Hazy.

Tied for second is Von Ebert’s Volatile Substance IPA which is worthy of the awards it has received. I also nod to Lichen West Coast IPA from Grand Fir Brewing. The last beer I want to mention is Jammy Pale Ale from pFriem Family Brewers as Hood River fandom.

Best Beers of June 2023

This will be sort of a mini-re-hash of the Firestone Walker Invitational at the start of the month. When you have that many good breweries together, you are going to run across something stellar. But I will highlight one other beer from the rest of the month.

For me, what stood out was the Leeds based brewery Northern Monk. Their Very Stable Genius hoppy lager from their Patrons Archive was just bright and tasty which is saying something because the festival is home to a ton of fantastic pilsners and lagers.

Second was the Wild Pirate tiki-esque sour from the BarrelWorks program at Firestone Walker. It had a nice balance of vanilla sweet and fruit sour to be a hybrid of both.

Lastly, no homer-ism but I really took to the Artifex Beer Paper Pale Ale. Yes, I contribute the odd piece to the beer periodical but the beer itself was flavorful and 3-D.

The Best Beers of May 2023

To be transparent, I did take a pre-Invitational beer break so May drinking was cut short a few days but since I am a very picky beer buyer, the quality is there if bot the quantity.

This was a particularly strong beer class as well. I had Green Cheek’s Illusion of Choice (great name – by the way) Hazy on draft at North Hollywood’s Hop Merchants and it was great. Had the haze but didn’t have that unfiltered apple cider brown look. I also had a collaboration lager from two Washington State breweries, Lowercase and Machine House which was fantastic. Glad to see super high quality lagers in cans.

But the winner was Seoul Searching IPA from right here in Los Angeles. Party Beer Co. teamed with LA Mill Coffee on a tea driven IPA and it had such a bright tea note, very floral, without sacrificing the hoppiness. A really grand aroma when the can was cracked open.

Best Beers of April 2023

This month, just for fun, I will list the four best beers that I had this month and then I will give a not so subtle clue as to which beer is my overall pick…

  • MadeWest / Ghost Town Short Lived IPA
  • Firestone Walker Wookey Jack
  • 14 Cannons Fuck the Patriarchy IPA
  • Upshift Wheels Up Hoppy Pilsner

The winner starts with a swear word.

14 Cannons Pink Boots IPA was just super fresh and bursting with greenery close to a wet hop beer. The MadeWest and Ghost Town collaboration had a bit of that as well so it is a close second.

The Best Beers of March 2023

I was excited for the California Craft Beer Summit because I had a few breweries on my list that I wanted to visit and though I had some really good beer whilst at the state capitol. Overall, was a bit disappointed.

But there were some gems to be found. The Urban Roots 10Degree Czech Lager was perfect with BBQ and served in a hulking dimpled glass added luster to it. I was also taken by the IPA’s at Alaro Brewing. Both Castillo, their West Coast and Avenida, their Modern IPA. Their label artwork is also some of the classiest that I have seen.

But best goes to Wild Fields. I tasted their IPL, Montana de Oro which was crisp with a nice bite to it as well as a splash of their brown ale, Pine Mountain Monolith. Both were at the sweet spot of simple but complex.

Best Beers of February 2023

Time to re-cap the best of Birthday Month. Hope your birthday is in February because it is just empirically the best of the months to be born in.

We start with a San Fernando Valley version of a NE IPA from Shadow Grove Brewing called Hexed. They have a woodsy Fantasy theme to their taproom and beer names and this was the best of week one.

Moving on were favorites from two special events. One a certain sportsball game and a second from a beachside beer festival. First is DTLA HiDef Brewing and their barrel-aged barleywine Bass Clef and second was Bow & Arrow’s Denim Tux Blue Corn Pilsner.

The winner of the month though was drunk two days before March, a British Pub Ale from the combined forces of Urban Roots and Berryessa Brewing. So Many Promises a beer based on, what?, Golden Promise malt? It is one of the few beers that cries out for more. At 4.2%, you can drink a few cans. Fantastic stuff, simple but better than most beers with multiple ingredients.