What you see in the glass is the third in the barrel roll series from Hangar 24, Pugachev’s Cobra. It was in attendance last night at Tony’s Darts Away along with a bevy of beers from Redlands.
Joe Savage & Rafael Hurtado from the brewery were in attendance too. Talking to the crowd that grew as the night progressed. (Side note – It has been good to see large turnouts for this and last night’s Library Alehouse FiftyFifty night. Especially in a holiday week)
I started with a sampler tray….From left to right, you have the winter warmer, Amarillo Pale Ale, Anja and the Helles. I was most surprised by the Helles. It was light and bubbly and filled with grain notes from start to finish. It really tasted fresh and alive. But my favorite of the tray was the Anja, a pro-am Belgian ale that had that light bubbly-ness with some fruit and spice notes and a touch of vanilla. I will order that again.
I did not partake of the Double IPA, yet. I am heading to the brewery itself on Christmas Eve to pick up a bottle or two but I did end the night with a bang. The aforementioned Pugachev. It was thick and viscous. Poured a dark black with an espresso colored head. It was maple syrup sweet at first and then some roasted notes and bourbon crept in to balance. It did not taste like 16.5% alcohol though some aging will probably smooth it out even more. I am glad I have a bottle to store away.
Yesterday was the 1st of hopefully many more to come of the Craft Beer Fest Los Angeles. I was there as both fan and volunteer from 2pm to 10pm so this will be a longer than usual post so find a comfortable chair. I will break it up into sections to make for easier reading.
Section 1 – The beer!!
Not a bad brewery in the bunch. And most importantly for me, new stuff that I really wanted to try plus new stuff from some of my old favorites. Here is what I had…..
1. Siamese Twin from Uncommon Brewers
Light golden ale, very different fruity taste to it. This beer really grew on me.
2. Automatic # 1 from Blind Lady Ales
Light Belgian ale. Had a bit of a tinny taste to me. A little astringent.
3. Scotch Isle from Craftsman
Very nice. Dark and malty. Not my favorite style of beer but this is well done.
4. Black IPA from Stone
Very good. I love IPA’s and this is an excellent beer.
5. Golden State from Uncommon Brewers
Hazy color. Light and flavorful. Great on a summer day.
6. Cuvee Jeune from The Bruery
Had this at Blue Palms a week ago and had to get some more. Excellent sour taste.
7. IPA from Hangar 24
Another really solid IPA. Not a hop bomb but citrusy and not too acidic.
8. Warm Water Wheat from Port Brewing
This was a really good banany hefeweizen. I hope they bottle this it is one I would like to have more of.
What I didn’t get to try and wanted to..
TAPS – Belgian White (which was really popular)
Port Brewing – Pig Dog Pale Ale
Section 2 – The Beer Panel
Moderated by Christina Perozzi with Mark Jilg from Craftsman, Ryan Sweeney from The Verdugo, Larry James from Wine Warehouse, Steve Grossman from Sierra Nevada and Victor Novak from TAPS Brewery.
Quite the interesting cross section of the beer community. They were all quite optimistic and passionate about making craft beer and where we are compared to the past and where we may end up.
It was so heartening to hear what they were saying and I wish they could have gone on longer. One thing that I took away was that there seemed to be a feeling that it was inevitable that craft beer would do to BMC (BudMillerCoors) what Starbucks did to Folgers. To that I say Amen!
Section 3 – Behind the Bar
All I can say is, I had great fun being behind the bar. I had never done it before and I am sure it showed but it was great to hand beer over to the smiling faces on the other side. It was not long before I was sweating from avoiding fellow volunteers and going all the way from one side of the bar and back with four beers trying hard not to spill. Thanks to Kevin, Alex, Liz, Bob and Ben for allowing a rookie to help out.
Section 4 – Who was there
Jeremy from Eagle Rock Brewery
Tomm from the Celebrator
Tony from Craftsman
Joel from 826LA
Patrick from The Bruery
All in all a really great time. If you weren’t here this year plan on it next year.