#LABW10 – Week+ Recap Part 1

I took a day break from LABW festivities on Sunday after the Kick-Off Festival but was back at it on Monday in Eagle Rock at the Brewers in the Hot Seat. Held at the Eagle Rock Brewery Public House, this event was one of many competitions. Be it Sumo wrestling, pinball or whose keg kicked first. This night entailed hot wings and beer industry talk.

Both Bob Kunz from Highland Park and Peter Mumford from Mumford Brewing showed the obvious signs of discomfort but that didn’t stop them or Alex Nowell from Three Weavers or Lee Bakofsky from ERB talking about various points related to creating craft beer.

Here are some of my jotted notes that struck me. One from each brewery.
HPB – Less beer geeks at Chinatown. Refresh, the house beer is a big seller.
MB – Not trend driven but on top of trends. Have been close on the heels of hazy and brut.
ERB – sending more beer to Bay Area where Manifesto Wit is more popular for instance
TW – wants large variety. Wants different colors. A Rainbow.

The next night, I drove out to Culver City for Japanese beer at Harajuku. A snug little spot with access to a pipeline of Baird beer. Not even their core beers are widely seen around town and this spot has all levels of tap choices.

Even better, a rep from Coedo beer was also on hand pouring out samples from their range which included a Pilsner and an amber sweet potato beer. Since it is World Cup time, I also had the New Belgium / Baird Bicycle Kick Kolsch too.
Coedo Pilsner

Owner Adam Gutentag fell in love with Japan loved izakaya and pub culture and also befriended Brian Baird the brewer behind his eponymous brewery that started out as the Fish Market taproom. Japan is starting to move out of what has been called the “souvenir” brewery phase to bigger and better things. How that plays out will be quite interesting. But pairing beer and skewers works really well.

LABW10 – 5 Events to Check

Here is a really early look at L.A. Beer Week events that you may want to add to your schedule for celebrating the week in Los Angeles beer…

1. Monday, June 18th @ Eagle Rock Brewery Public House
“Come one, come all to learn a bit about the beer world from our esteemed panel of brewers/brewery owners (Highland Park Brewery, Three Weavers, Societe Brewing and Eagle Rock Brewery)! The kicker? Each panelist will be presented with hot wings that get progressively hotter throughout the panel. Sayre Piotrkowski, Bay Area beer evangelist will be moderating this SUPER HOT and hilarious panel. Can they take the heat? Can YOU? If you aren’t scurred, you should come try the flight of hot wings plus beers designated by the panelists to quell the inferno in their mouths. Each of the hot wings will be prepared with special hot sauces prepared by Chef Jerry Su, so they’ll be both delicious and SPICY!”

2. Tuesday, June 19th @ Harajuku Taproom
Harajuku Taproom is a taproom for Baird Beer from Shizuoka, JAPAN. We will be celebrating LA Beer Week with a wide selection of Japanese Craft Beer from Baird Beer, several guest taps including Coedo and Hitachino, and some Japan-themed local LA beers. 21 beers on tap, special flights, representatives from Coedo, pouring some samples of their beer offering, a presentation on Baird Beer, and a discussion of Japanese Craft Beer by Tomm Carroll, LA Correspondent for Celebrator Beer News, and regular writer for Beer Paper LA.”

3. Thursday, June 21st @ Naja’s Place
“Naja’s Place in Redondo Beach will once again host the Battle of the Guilds; a three-Guild tap takeover between Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. Come support the home team and help LA win back the highly-coveted Golden Keg!”

4. Saturday, June 23rd @ Three Weavers Brewing
“Join us at our brewery in Inglewood for the 1st Annual Brewmo Pseudo-Sumo Showdown, where brewers from all around will square off in a brew-tal battle for eternal glory and a chance to hold the world-renowned Brewmo Pseudo-Sumo Belt of the Beermasters. We’ll have our parking lot turned into a sumo wrestling arena where you can drink some beer while you watch your favorite brewers lay it all on the line as they strap themselves into giant sumo wrestling suits and fight! It will be TOTAL PSEUDO-SUMO MADNESS. Free admission for 21+ with valid ID; our doors open at High Noon.”

5. Sunday, June 24th
“Why not finish the week at Milkfarm for the grand finale? ‘Cause in case you didn’t know….BEER LOVES CHEESE and CHEESE REALLY LOVES BEER! We’ll kick-off the class with a welcome pour of this year’s Unity Beer hosted by LA Ale Works! Alyssa, Milkfarm Cheesemonger and Craft Beer Cellar’s Beer Queen, will then guide you through FIVE unique, LA-brewed beers paired with FIVE delicious American cheeses (and/or cheese-based yummies). This class is meant to highlight the importance of the current-day artisan, and how they affect their communities. You’ll also get an overview of the brewing process, as well as learn the differences between many of the major beer styles….oh and you’ll learn a thing or two about CHEESE of course!”

In the Tap Lines for June 2018

The first week will be taken up with all things 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational and then, well, wall-to-blog-wall of L.A. Beer Week, the 10th L.A. Beer Week mind you.

~ e-visits to three breweries from the LA Brewers Guild that I have still yet to visit.
~ special featured reviews of the Unity beer for 2018 plus other special LABW10 Beers Lyke the Indie / Hopped LA collab.
~ 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 Happiness is a Choice You Make by John Leland
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.

Here are two events to get your June started in the Los Angeles craft beer world:
1) June 3rdBig Summer Brew at Indie Brewing
2) June 10thMumford Brewing Third Anniversary Shindig

In the Tap Lines for May 2018

Lots of good stuff on tap for May (now that the blog is back up and viewable). There will be weekly nods to the upcoming Firestone Walker Invitational as well as a report from Oregon where I will be heading back to the alma mater.

~ e-visits to three breweries from the New England area.
~ special featured reviews of two new cans from L.A. Ale Works
~ 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 whatever the library finds for me from my long list!
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.

Here are two events to get your May started in the Los Angeles craft beer world:
1) May 4th – System of a Stout Release at Beachwood
2) May 13th – Mother’s Day at Boomtown Brewery

Three from Select Beer

Mark your calendar and set sail for Redondo Beach and Select Beer Store for these upcoming events….

Saturday, November 19th – Tap takeover with Jolly Pumpkin and North Peak. Ron Jefferies, the Master Brewer of both breweries will be here from 6-9 for a meet and greet. Ron is a master of both clean and funky beers and
we’ll be showcasing the breadth of his talents on draft we’ll also have a good variety of bottles on hand as well.

Wednesday, November 23rd – A night before Thanksgiving event with Pizza Port

Sunday, December 4th – We’ll be celebrating Firestone Walker 20th birthday. We’ll be reaching deep in the cellar for this one and we will be pouring verticals of their Anniversary Ales, Parabola, Sucuba and other great beers

L.A. Beer Week – Update 2

Only 10 Days until L.A. Beer Week commences for 2016. Last week, I highlighted many, many cool events. Here are three more…

June 18th – 26th
Flight Test @Mohawk Bend
“Calling all craft beer fans! Challenge your tasting skills in the first L.A. Beer Week Flight Test hosted by Mohawk Bend. Correctly name each beer and brewery in a specially curated Los Angeles flight for a chance to win a craft beer experience at Mohawk Bend.
The Prize: Winner will receive a private craft beer and artisan pizza tasting for up to eight people.”

Wednesday, June 22nd @ Beer Belly
Join us for a special night of beers from the Pacific Northwest. Featuring beers from Cascade, Boneyard, Logsdon, Double Mountain, Crux, Fat Heads, Buoy, and Breakdside. If you’ve never had the chance to try standout beers like Shrieking Violet and Notorious TIPA now is the time.
• Cascade Shrieking Violet
• Cascade Figaro
• Boneyard Notorious TIPA
• Boneyard Hop Venom
• Logsdon Conversion
• Fat Heads PDX IBUisive IPA
• Breakside Salted Caramel Stout
• Breakside Rainbows and Unicorns
• Double Mountain Veiled Conspiracy
• Buoy NW Red Ale
• …more to come

Thursday, June 23rd @ Rock & Brews El Segundo
The 2016 Version of “So You Want to Open a Brewery in Los Angeles” with host Tomm Carroll.

Peel the Label – Sticker Shock

Over the course of last year, sticker shock at craft beer event prices really started to wear on me. Every weekend seemed to tout a new beer-y happening with a price tag north of $50. And I believe that L.A. may have reached the limit on such expensive events that can be thrown in a year.


My reaction is partially due to festival fatigue that anyone who covers craft beer eventually encounters and that plain ol’ beer fans are probably feeling as well. I love picking up an impressively logo’d taster glass as I walk into a festival space and having the choice of multiple beers from multiple breweries but after six or seven samples, my palate gets tired. And if it is a timed session, the clock begins to tick and you can’t really linger too long on any one sample. The “must taste everything” part of my brain takes command.


Afterwards, the opportunities to recover become scarce. I almost could have scheduled just beer events most weekends of the year. But instead, 2014 was the first time that I skipped big events just to ensure that I could enjoy a festival or other beer outing the following weekend.


My choices of what to skip was made easier though by price. If I could get into a festival/dinner/release party as a member of the media, I would generally go, but if no pass was forthcoming, I took it as a sign to take a pass. Because by the time December (heck, even October) rolls around on the calendar, it can be hard to justify spending the time and money on yet another event. Eventually the beer budget is tapped out.


And no amount of brewer rock stars or imaginative beer and food pairings can save that.

Getting people to events becomes much harder. And guess which end of the price scale gets hurt by that? The top end. I know of a few events that were flat out cancelled last year due to lack of sales. I’ve been to events that had PR firms behind them that were not super well attended. Certain parties may still pull extraordinary crowds but a local brewery doing a beer dinner priced at $70 will be a tough sell from now on. Because it is already!


Not that the value isn’t there. From my experience, I have received much more in beer alone than paid for at most events that I have attended. But even with an improving economy you can’t spend money at every tap take-over, festival, bottle release and then be semi-expected to also be buying bottles and cans for home consumption and just go out to a bar for a lark.


In a way, it was easier when you only had a few breweries in our City of Angels. You would go to any and all events to not only support the locals but also because the calendar was open.


How to avoid this malaise?


  1. More options spread out over more days.

Make your festival a two day affair or publicize a leftovers night. And if you are preparing a beer and food pairing dinner, offer a la carte options as well. Some may blanche at a high price tag overall but won’t blink at a dessert and beer option. And instead of a VIP (or in addition), how about offering a discounted ticket (with a better name than discount) that offers less beer.


  1. Calendar management.

You can do two things. Stake out spots in advance. Plan your tap takeovers for the third Tuesday of each month. That will condition people to show up out of habit. Very Pavlovian. But first check around your immediate area to see if others have something going on that day. You may not avoid all scheduling conflicts but you can get out of the way of biggies like GABF.


  1. Do Less

Seems obvious but instead of planning more events publicize people just coming out for a night. Make it more about beer and a movie or beer and a concert depending on where you are located. Help people combine their entertainment so that they think of craft beer as part of their everyday life and not simply in connection with an event.


The times are a’ changin’ in Los Angeles and those who can both realize what the situation on the ground is and who can alter course to take advantage will be the winners in the end.

Peel the Label is an occasionally appearing post about the world of craft beer with no links, photos or graphics. Just opinion.

Bring the Pub to You

Have you ever been at a party and wished you were in the pub instead?  In England, you can do both with Pubs on Wheels.

from the Pubs on Wheels website
from the Pubs on Wheels website

PoW  “can deliver a seamless bar operation, whatever the weather, whatever the terrain and wherever the location. We are all about the Great British Outdoors.”

How great would this be in SoCal.  It might even make me re-think camping if one of these big trucks pulled up.  The only question is what beers are on tap?

L.A. Beer Week – First Wave of Events

It is only days away from the initial kick-off of L.A. Beer Week.

LABW6 hashtag

And events are already filling up the calendar.  Here are three to schedule right now ahead of others……..

The Coaster Show 2014 | Beer is Art Opening

September 5 @ 8:00 pm11:00 pm

Meeting of the Guilds

September 25 @ 4:00 pm10:00 pm

Beer Belly Welcomes: Three Weavers Brewing Company

September 25 @ 5:00 pm11:45 pm

And yes, I know that two of those events are the same day.  That will happen with L.A. Beer Week

L.A. Beer Week – Odds & Ends

How is your bucket list looking, all you L.A. craft beer geeks? You had better get to work on filling each quadrant with a sticker. Visit that brewery. Eagle Rock or Strand would work. Go to a special beer-centric event like Saturday’s Beer Float Showdown. Once those four stickers are affixed to your sheet, all it will take is four quarters for a bottle of Unity 2012!

Next item:
Federal Bar in North Hollywood through Friday
“Beer week has been super delicious so far! What better way to keep it going then by adding a creamy, tantalizing twist..Cheese! That’s right, The Federal Bar has shipped in the creamiest, most scrumptious,
finger-licking cheeses, specially for this week. We’ve designed the perfect beer tasting with the perfect cheeses and homemade jams. Stop in for some special treats from Firestone Walker. We’ll be tapping DBA,
Double DBA, Union Jack, and Oaktoberfest.”

Middle item:
City Tavern in Culver City tonight!
Black Market Pint Night with some delicious old-standby’s and some new beer too.

Last item:
38 Degrees in Alhambra
Ultimate Flight Night III

“LA Beer Week is back and so is the return of Ultimate Flight Night! This year we are changing it up a bit, well only the beer but not the sexy flight gear! I have invited a few of our favorite breweries to pick their own flights to feature as well as to hang out with us for the evening. We will still feature 15 flights as Clay will mix up the breweries for his own fun as well as feature some rare bottle flights. If you missed the madness last year, dont be left out again.

This years participants are: Kern River Brewing,The Bruery ,Stone ,Eagle Rock ,Beachwood BBQ and Brewing, Bootlegger’s, Ballast Point and Firestone Walker.”

That should keep you busy until October.