Beer Review – Lagerville by Figueroa Mountain with Wild Fields Brewhouse and West Coast Brewing

This year for Lagerville, Figueroa Mountain traveled a bit of distance to Atascadero and Wild Fields to grab one collaborative partner and then a much bigger distance to Japan to get West Coast Brewing for a Matcha Rice lager.

It pours yellow with a tinge of green (unless that was me reading into it). There is an orange aroma coming off this at first and then in the first sip, the matcha tea comes through the citrus. This is very light and I am getting a bit of tea bitterness at the end.

Lagerville 2023

I will be at a different festival on April 15th but if you are looking for a lager that day, there will be a lot on offer just north of us, so read on.

“Over 40 craft breweries will be pouring some of the best Lagers in the Country. Lagerville will take place at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. in Buellton.

Guests will get to sample throughout the day and talk to the brewers that make these approachable Lagers.  Your ticket includes a souvenir glass, and sampling from any of the breweries on site. 

VIP Tickets are $65 and include an hour early entry. This is a limited ticket and will sellout soon! There will be special VIP beers poured that won’t be available during the General Admission Session. 

General Admission tickets are $55 and include entry at 12 p.m.  

Tickets at the door will be $65 for General Admission and there will not be VIP tickets available on the day of the event.”

Hoppy N/A Poppy

Figueroa Mountain Brewing is joining the N/A realm with their Hoppy Poppy IPA getting a sibling.

Hoppy Poppy IPA is brewed with the same bold hop flavors and aromas as the original Hoppy Poppy IPA, but with less than 0.5% alcohol. This allows beer lovers to enjoy the taste and experience of a traditional IPA no matter the occasion.”

Hope this is the N/A IPA one that uses lots of hops.

Novak & Fig

Figueroa Mountain Brewing has added some firepower to their brewing team  Victor Novak of Taps fame has returned to the craft beer conference to be the Innovation Director/Head Brewer for their three Los Angeles outposts at UCLA, Ventura Boulevard Lagerhaus and the Pico Boulevard Agua Sante Cerveceria.

That means some high quality tasty and small batch beer is coming.

Interview with Brian Waters of Figueroa Mountain Brewing

Last month, big beer news hit Los Angeles with Figueroa Mountain moving into manage four locations around the city previously held by Tony Yanow’s Artisanal Brewers Collective

I emailed brewer Brian Waters some questions about himself, hops and FMB in L.A.

1. What is your brewing background and history?

Before I was brewing I was working as a video editor for an online publication/events company. The company unfortunately went out of business. I freelanced for a while, but found that video editing was no longer terribly satisfying. In the meantime, my cousin received a home brew kit as a wedding gift, so he and I and his wife made a one-gallon batch of a West Coast IPA. It actually turned out pretty nice. I continued to make beer on my own until one day I saw a job posting for an assistant general manager position at a brewpub that was opening up in Hancock Park. I sent them a resume and cover letter telling them that I wasn’t interested in the AGM position but if they needed an assistant brewer I’d love the opportunity. Two weeks later the head brewer hit me up and the rest is history. I started as a draft tech and worked my way up.

2. Which brewer or brewery is your brewing role model?

That’s a question that has too many answers! We are spoiled for choice just here in LA alone. For now I’ll go with a few SoCal locals: Green Cheek, Highland Park, Enegren, Societe, and Burgeon make outstanding stuff. But there are so, so many others home and abroad that I love and whose beers I look to for inspiration. 

3. Will the Los Angeles breweries have a different guiding principle than the main brewery in Buellton? Will it be clear that beer is an L.A. brewed one vs a Buellton one?

The goal for the beer brewed in LA is the same — to brew outstanding, high-quality beer. Each of the spots will have its own flair, and will focus on producing consistent, exceptional brews. All of our bartenders will know which beers are brewed on site and which are brewed at the mothership in Buellton. 

4. How much freedom will you have to pursue seldom done styles at the Broxton R&D brewing system?

We are lucky to have the freedom to pursue whichever styles we like. However, it will always be a balance of brewing fun, experimental beer, but also brews that people are interested in drinking. We probably won’t make any grodziskie or chicha. But who knows, we may get a little out there and do something like a Kentucky Common. 

5. Is there a new hop varietal or new malt has you excited to try?

There are a few hops that I’ve had my eye on. They aren’t necessarily new, but I’ve yet to try them. HBC 586, Vista, Eclipse, and a couple of French varietals. Can’t wait to get my hands on them! 

6. Is there a beer style that to you is quintessentially L.A.?

If I had to choose only one I think I’d go with a hoppy lager. I think some of the best producers of the style are right here in town, and it’s exciting to see more and more breweries put their best versions forward. 

7. Will there be experimentation with new old world lager trends like side pours, slow pours and milky pours? And what is your take on these trends?

We are definitely going to have a couple of side pour handles at the Lagerhaus! We are super excited to take a deep dive into a style that we love. Each of those trends has their own value, and while I consider myself more of a Hladinka kind of guy, I do also really love a slow pour. 

Past Breaking News (Part 1)- Figueroa Bend

Well, this news can be filed under BIG.  Figueroa Mountain Brewing will be taking over four brewpubs currently held by Tony Yanow.  Bluebird Brasserie, Broxton, Stalking Horse and the biggie Mohawk Bend.

You can read all about the changes coming HERE from Hopped which broke the news on the eve of L.A. Beer Week.

Per my usual operating procedure, I needed to sit with the news a bit before I commented.  I think that any time a medium/ large chain like FMB can add a stand-alone pilot and R&D brewery is a no-brainer.  I also like the idea of a lager centric brewery, a little less but if that craft lager train arrives in trend town, it will be a super smart play.

The other two, confuse me, Mexican styled lagers are big but that could have been rolled into the German lagerhaus plan.  The SoCal Cerveceros are in the ascendancy with members opening and running breweries across L.A. which makes that Agua Sante idea much less appealing.

As for Mohawk Bend, will it be FMB Presents Mohawk Bend?  Or Mohawk Bend a FMB Joint?  I don’t see how it furthers the brand.  The absence of Sunset Beer might help but it seems more restaurant play than brewing. And it gives me a bit off more than can be chewed vibe.

Time will tell of course and I will be most interested to see which of the four locations becomes the busiest.

Double Double Review Day – Lizard’s Mouth and Hiker’s High from Figueroa Mountain

One day, four beers. Starting with the hoppy side of Figueroa Mountain and their hazy and double….

Hiker’s High – Pours a fairly hazy yellow/orange color. It has that soft but palate dusted with hops mouthfeel that I associate with the hazy style. Mostly pine and and earthiness to the flavor. The bitterness is pretty rugged overall and the beer finishes on the stronger side to me.

Lizard’s Mouth – Third time having this imperial IPA, and imperial it is. Aroma wise, this is pretty muted but this is a strong beer once you start sipping. Slick mouthfeel, a bit of a candy taste to it and with a bitterness that slopes of dramatically.

These are both old school IPA to me. HH is that first gen hazy and LM is that San Diego palate wrecker hit.

In the TapLines for April 2022


One quarter of the year gone by in a flash.  Now it is time for spring-y beers or as they should be called in SoCal, early summer ales.

~ e-visits to (3) breweries that will be pouring at the return of the Firestone Walker Invitational
~ special featured reviews of press review beers from Figueroa Mountain, Stone and Firestone Walker
~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 South to America by Imani Perry
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to History Hit with Dan Snow
~ Great Beer names and Best Beers of the Month
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.