Aftermath- Part 5

Next post crisis agenda, L.A. Beer Week. Each June the beer community gathers around our wide geographic area and celebrates. This year will be markedly not business as usual.

But, I do believe there is opportunity here. Yes, even if still locked down and isolated or out of business can provide hope. First, I think there must still be a Unity beer produced. And I would suggest that it be a strong golden ale that provides ABV but a golden hued glimmer as well.

If we are still isolated, there should be Zoom parties set-up for each day of the week, Jerry Lewis telethon style where brewery A hosts for 30 minutes, then a second brewery takes over with four breweries a night talking about their history, how best to support them and how to buy their beer. Or videos, can be made that guide people through a breweries beers and put up on the main Guild website and a dedicated YouTube channel.

If we are allowed outdoors in June, I would propose a Socially Distant Beer Festival. If only 10 people are allowed together in one venue, sell 9 tickets and have everyone properly spaced and then have a curated flight of local beers to offer them. Use the rules to make new events that abide by them. Or set a date for a Christmas Festival as a make-up. That is far enough in advance that it could actually happen.

We want people to get re-engaged with local.


Now that LABW11 is in the past, now is the perfect time to look ahead at the tweaks that can be made for next year. Here are (3) suggestions that I would make if my red phone rang…

Settle on a 2nd Weekend Featured event – My vote goes to Cellador and Sour Friends. Move that to Sunday and promote it as the bookend to the week. Years past has seen a whole separate festival, be it Sierra Nevada or Vegan Fest but I think those dull the shine of the Kick-Off festival and some people probably pick one or the other since the same breweries (basically) are at both. Focus on L.A. and focus on a niche.

Have one Unity Night – I would make Wednesday night a Unity night. List all the establishments that have the beer on tap or in cans and have a simultaneous raising of the glass to the beer. Also, can we go back to the beer telling an L.A. story. A West Coast DIPA is fine but how does that separate L.A. from other cities?

Go Hyper Local – Each day of the LABW should have a fun food and beer pairing from a different part of our sprawling Metropolis. Maybe seafood with a Santa Monica Brew Works beer, BBQ and IPA at HopSaint in Torrance, tacos in DTLA, dessert in Palmdale/Lancaster. Something to stitch together the whole fabric of LA.

LABW11 – recap

Earlier today, I posted some photos, here are my hazy recollections of the events I attended during the latest LABW

For the first time, well since ever, I did not attend the Kick-Off festival. Primarily due to the fact that I was only two weeks removed from Firestone Walker’s Invitational and because I was going to hit Sour Friends on the following weekend. Marathon. Not a Sprint mentality.

I did head over to Eagle Rock Brewery to sample and catch-up on the beers that they were quickly releasing in the run up to our beer week. Though the balance was weird, my winner of the group was Stimulus 03 which swapped out Belgian Amber for NE IPA with the only constant being high quality coffee. I also like the Norwegian Brut Kveik beer as well.

Next day was event-less as well unless you count making a run to Sunset Beer Co. to get the Unity beer not exciting. I mean the Cubs were in town which meant the Ravine was either busy or reeling from the busy.

Finally on Monday, I went to a sanctioned event! Hopped LA gathered some hazy IPA’s together at the Glendale Tap to show off what both LA and outside LA brewers are doing lately with the style. Arrow Lodge took home the popularity trophy on the night. I voted for Homage and their Little by Little which I thought hit all the hazy style points.

Next was Wednesday where the Brewers were making cocktails at Arts District Brewing. The usually raucous DTLA spot was not packed to the rafters which was good because the cocktails were to the rim of the glass. My favorite was the Three Weavers concoction which was one of the few mixed drinks that had beer as a component, in this case Knotty DIPA. I also enjoyed the Eagle Rock Bazooka Joe. Rum and honey swirled together.

The hits kept coming as I stayed close to home at the hidden gem that is We’re Pouring. They had a Shrago-centric list with a great variety of Beachwood beers. They had IPA’s (Greenshift for me), they had sours, they had Haybusa and they had stouts (System in two variants). Plus great pizza and NBA draft on the TV.

Friday and Saturday were my two most excited about events. I always make a point to hit Sunset Beer Co. during the week. They always come through with a casual and fun time. This year Kelly Erickson curated a list of Women-Brewed beers and she got a far ranging selection from Firestone Walker to the new Wave Maiden and Arrow Lodge as well.

Then I went out to Cellador (which I have been doing a lot this year) for their Sour Friends. This was a delight. Another great set of breweries pouring sours from across the spectrum many with Masumoto peaches if you wanted to pick a theme. Pyrus Rustique from Beachwood Blendery was fantastic filled with pear taste. Violet Underground from Firestone Walker was great as well plus they had palate cleansing beers like Pleasant Pils from Highland Park.

There was a quick stop at MacLeod’s on the way home to try their Five Anniversary 11% plus beer and soak up the sun on their patio and then, like that, LABW11 was done.

LABW11 – photos

Today, we look back (in two parts) at the events I ventured to for the 2019 L.A. Beer Week. Here are the photos…

Come to the Glendale Tap prepared, hazy IPA list in hand.
Ginger and Knotty DIPA cocktail from Alex Nowell of Three Weavers.
Greenshift DIPA and pizza at We’re Pouring.
Kelly and her beer list at Sunset Beer Co. (stolen from Facebook)
Kevin pouring special bottles at the Sour Friends festival.
My final LABW11 beers at MacLeod’s. One IPA and one barrel aged.

One Week to LABW11

With only a week to go until LABW11 fires up the full list of events is not yet around, I thought I should toss a little curated list of events that pass my worthy test and also fall on odd days:

June 17th – Invitational Hazy IPA Fest at The Glendale Tap

then toddle a short distance to Walt’s in Eagle Rock for a brewers Pinball Tournament.

June 19th – Beer Made Me Do It – Beer Comedy at Common Space Brewery.

June 21st – Women-Brewed Beer Night at Sunset Beer.

June 23rd – Wait Wait…. Just Beer Me at Eagle Rock. NPR game show meets brewery tall tales.

Many more events to be talked about as details get clearer and clearer. In the meantime, get them Kick-Off tickets!

#LABW10 – Extra Photos

I didn’t take nearly as many photos this year for LABW10 and combined with posting on Instagram and Facebook and not wanting to double up, there are only a couple more shots that I want to share.

Coedo samples and Japanese seasonings at Harajuku Taproom

Art and beer at the Craft Beer Cellar in Eagle Rock.

Tomm Carroll expounding on Japanese beer.

#LABW10 – Week+ Recap Part 2

It just so happened that the Beer Belly – Koreatown One Night Stand landed in LABW and so ONS had a local bent with Mumford as the headliner with taps from Homage Brewing and State Brewing as well. This was originally billed as Mumford and East Coast Brewers like Interboro. The winning beer of the night in my (hop)inion was a Watermelon Agua Fresca lager from State that balanced the fruit and the malt very well. The two hazy options that I also tasted were fine. But didn’t pop for me.

I quickly popped down to the nearby Southland Beer to try the Unity IPA on cask. On cask, the hop notes are softer, with a little more citrus. The beer poured a clear orange though I detected a trace of a little buttery character. It was Unity simple and stripped down..

I took a night off to watch the NBA Draft (thanks for nothing Portland) and then on Friday, I headed to DTLA and Mikkeller for a Fonta Flora Brewing night. I immediately picked a sampler tray consisting of…

Beets, Rhymes and Life – beet saison – pretty pink color. Dusky, earthy. Salad like.
Southern Saison – black tea and lemon – bit of spice kick here. Pretty light underneath.
Whippoorwill Wheat – orange, coriander, earl grey tea – EG comes through. Spice again
Wolf Spit – Baltic Porter with hickory bark

I also tasted a Brut IPA from Alvarado Street Champagne Hopi that was really good, but the beet beer was my winner. Even though I detest actual beets.

Finally on Saturday, I headed to Craft Beer Cellar for a local taplist and for Dope & Dank who hosted the party with a DJ on site. I tried a new Arrow Lodge beer Arrow Sol and tasted my local Brewyard’s well-named Loch Ness Maltster.

Finish #LABW10 Strong

It’s Friday, and you only have 3 days left of L.A. Beer Week.

Make the most of it, maybe in my hood of Glendale….

the Glendale Tap tonight as they BBQ and have a few beers on tap: “We’ll be in full Backyard Boogie mode w/ Bart’s BBQ smokin’ brisket, and Burnt Ends all-day. We’ll be pouring a ridiculous lineup of treats from the homies at Beachwood, Bottle Logic, Cellador, El Segundo, Highland Park Brewery, Homage, Moonraker, Pure Project, State and Unsung.”

tomorrow, Brewyard will mix art and beer: “The 2nd Annual Brewyard Art Festival is a craft brewery/beer themed art show with local artists, vendors, photographers, musicians, live painting, face painting, live auction, and more. The purpose of this event is to highlight local artists. Last year, we had over 400 attendees and this time around we’re doubling the outdoor space for artists. This year will be even bigger and better!”

and/or you could head to nearby Eagle Rock and Dope & Dank team up with the Craft Beer Cellar for “This is L.A.merica”

Finish strong!

L.A. Beer Week Kick-Off – The Recap

Back to L.A. Center Studios to volunteer and drink beer at the Kick-Off Fest for LABW10.

Here is my recap of the day after I finished my shift of putting wristbands on festival patrons…

I tasted fifteen beers. Some just a few sips, others I needed to get to the bottom of the glass. Only 1 was truly off but that was from the new Ximix Brewery down Hawthorne way and I will attribute that to travel and being new.

On the good side was Simmzy’s Beerbank Bubbly Brut. I don’t know what to expect from this American version on the classic (but wicked expensive) and rarely seen Belgian Brut beers. But this was low on bitterness with a nice dryness to it. Of the two Brut’s that I had, this tasted more like I expected than the Beachwood/Drakes collab.

My two favorite beers were from new breweries since that is where my focus was pointed. Liberation’s Lucy Hoppy Blonde and Ogopogo’s Naitaka rye were both bursting with flavors and stood out amongst the flood of tastes from each taster. I was also quite impressed by Wiretap from Lincoln Heights. Both their Echelon Pale Ale and Luchador Belgian/Mexican mash-up were very tasty. Cellador was strong as was Chapman (which had three beers kick before I could even make my way there!

Thankfully the weather was much better. So much cooler in fact that I forgot to put on sunscreen and came home red despite the cool breezes downtown. Organization wise, I will again make the plea for signage. Lots of signage. The crowd was processed much faster this year and with much less complaints but I think that signs and maybe some traffic controller volunteers might help make this a smoother event.

As it stands, this is the best event to try the beers from all over our sprawling beer scene.