I actually went to a beer festival! The first one since 2019! Cellador Ales hosted the kick-off event for the 2022 L.A. Beer Week and here is my rundown…
Before I start with my best beers though, I want to say that I love the fact that Cellador has embraced magnum pours. They had a whole “magnum island” booth plus bottles were being walked around the festival alley.
On to the beers, this was not a sour only event as in years past, but there were sours aplenty. Rare Barrel had Space Jellies with Strata hops, Craftsman had some barreled Flors and many others had bottle or can pours at the ready.
That said, some of my favorites on the day were from North Park who brought their historically named DIPA’s …
Probably a notch above was the Green Cheek version of Timbo Pils which was bright and hoppy and refreshing on a hot day.
Another stand-out was Craftsman Brewing, OG in L.A. bringing their famous 1903 Lager as well as three barrel-aged ales including 3rd and 4th Flor. I tasted 3rd which used Sherry yeast and was different from every other taster I had.
I like the set-up lots of colorful branded pop-up tents in a row with food at one end and wine and cider inside. I was hoping for more seating and shade options. It was telling that the slim strip of shade near the building quickly became a hang out spot.
I will need to get my festival legs back. I was like a kid in a candy store who hadn’t had sugar in a bit but was also was too wary of crowds. But, my pacing and technique will improve as I get back in the swing of things.
Thanks to Kevin and Fran for setting up a great return to festival action in Los Angeles.
Most closures spool out over a month or two, but in the case of Cellador Ales, the end date is further on the horizon 12/31/22, but no less sad for the Los Angeles brewing scene.
This will allow everyone to trek out and have a final wild ale ir purchase tickets to their L.A. Beer Week festival.
What struck me about the announcement was this section..
But…something I can’t quite put my finger on has been rippling through the industry in 2022; It has unexpectedly been the toughest year since the pandemic started, for us, and apparently many other small breweries.
Makes one wonder when the other closure pennies are going to drop.
If you are a fan of orange wine, then you will probably enjoy the latest beer/wine hybrid from Cellador Ales.
Orange Sunshine “features Falanghina grapes. It’s juicy and has lots of wine character, but also leans hard into the farmhouse/earthy/lambic part of the beer spectrum. We basically made an open-fermented orange wine (what you get when you leave a wine made from white grape varieties in contact with the skins for an extended period of time after pressing them) and blended it in to barrels a blend of base beers, before allowing it to continue aging for several months.”
My interest was piqued by the idea of a Saison that is headlined by melon. The use of Ogen melons in half of two melon saisons recently released by Cellador sent me to their tasting room. The other being a Chapo? melon version which was not on draft to compare side by side. I had no previous experience with either melon. There is a really nice light green melon taste here. Honeydew without the sweeter finish, more crisp. It has a nice tartness that takes it a bit further afield from Saison but as a Wild Ale is just right. Has a nice spritziness to it that accents the sour. As it warms, the grain starts to peek through to good effect as does a slight salt note.
Gourde Fumee. Bourbon barrel-aged sour with hot smoked Kabocha squash. Right off the bat is smoke. Then a sour hit follows that. Then the alcohol burn combines the two. Not getting squash notes and any bourbon is well hidden under the smoke which is probably closer to BBQ than campfire. As more sips are taken, I start to get cherry notes but that burn comes back. Maybe the palate is acclimating to the smoke because it recedes fairly quickly but it is still pretty spiky. I do wish the bourbon came through to add a needed layer to balance out the two strong flavors.
From those two paragraphs, you can probably easily tell which of the two that I preferred. It was not really close.