LABW23 – Long Beach Festival

June is shaping up as a busy beer month, following the Firestone Walker Invitational on the first weekend of June is the opening salvo for L.A. Beer Week on weekend #2.

LABW23 starts at Shoreline Park in Long Beach, a beautiful spot to sample the independent L.A. beer scene in 2023.


News dropped yesterday from The L.A. County Brewers Guild

Here are the details straight from the Guild…

“Members of the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild came together for the first time in nearly two years for the 2021 Unity collaboration brew hosted by Common Space Brewery. Unity, the annual Guild brew originally created by LABG co-founders Eagle Rock Brewery, is traditionally brewed in the spring to commemorate our annual LA Beer Week. Due to the pandemic however, the last time Unity was brewed was back in May 2019. While hosting LA Beer Week this summer wasn’t in the cards, the Guild wanted to finally come together so that we could begin to rebuild the strong sense of community and camaraderie that make our L.A. beer scene so great.

Host brewery Common Space Brewery will be releasing 16-ounce four packs of Unity on Thursday, October 7 at their Hawthorne tasting room. This 6% abv Hoppy Pilsner marks the first lager iteration of Unity and will be available in cans and on draft at select retail locations. Check out the list below for LABG members and local craft beer retailers who will have Unity available.

But wait! There’s more! To celebrate the release of this brew, we will also be hosting the LABG Unity Oktoberfest at Common Space on Saturday, October 30, 2021. We’ve missed sharing beers with our community and while we still weren’t ready to go all out this summer with our usual events, we hope that you can join us for this intimate outdoor tasting event featuring 30 independent craft breweries, entertainment, and local food vendors.”

L.A. Beer & Food Fest # 3

The third in the Beer & Food Series from the L.A. County Brewers Guild arrives next month, October 19th. This year the festivities take place at the L.A. Arboretum. (personally, I much prefer a nature site to the hard pavement, so I am cheering the choice)

50 of our independent breweries will be on hand and there will be a selection of nibbles as well so you can hone your beer and food pairing skills.

But what is best is that the admission fee will unlock tours of the Arboretum. Everyone in Los Angeles knows about the Huntington Garden or Descanso Garden but many have not visited this botanical spot.

More details to come.

Cask’s Not Dead – Brewery List

Last month, I teased the next Los Angeles County Brewers Guild Event, Cask’s Not Dead hosted by the cask king himself, Andy Black.

Here is the brewery list with my guesses for Gold-Silver-Bronze winners…
Yorkshire Square Brewery (obviously)
Arts District Brewing Co.
Bagby Beer (GOLD)
Beachwood Brewing
Cellador Ales
Eagle Rock Brewery
El Segundo Brewing Co.
Fall Brewing Company
Figueroa Mountain Brewing
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Green Cheek Beer Co. (SILVER)
HopSaint Brewing Company
Inland Wharf Brewing Co.
Institution Ale Co.
Karl Strauss Brewing Company
Los Angeles Ale Works
MacLeod Ale Brewing Co.
Monkish Brewing Co.
Mumford Brewing
Pizza Port San Clemente
Riip Beer Company
Smog City Brewing
Stereo Brewing Company
Topa Topa Brewing Company (BRONZE)
Transplants Brewing Company
Trustworthy Brewing Co. (formerly Verdugo West)

Fest Review – LABW7 @ Exposition Park

After one bus and a Red and Expo train I entered Exposition Park through the Rose Garden for a more calming experience, then through the California Science Center, then around to the Natural History Museum and the Butterfly Pavilion.  

All before one beer had passed my lips at the Kick-Off event for the 7th L.A. Beer Week. It reminded me of the first festival that was held at Descanso Gardens way back in the day. 

While dodging the suns UV rays, I sampled:

Santa Monica Brew Works Cucumber Kolsch which was excellent particularly for this day and learned that they will be receiving their bottling line soon.

Ladyface Magnanimous IPA in their oasis which had tables and chairs. 

Kinetic’s Wild Ale for their 3rd anniversary which was just as good as some Belgian dark sours that are raved about. 

King Harbor Coconut Swirly which I thought was a little too much. I guess I am a regular Swirly man. 

Then it was time to try the two Cascade collaboration beers. First up was the Phantom Carriage / Cascade Vermiste Kat.  Which I found pleasant but not any better than the regular line-up. The El Segundo Perfect Strangers was more interesting flavor wise but the hops of ESBC were fully in charge over the sour power. 

FIrestone Walker’s Velvet Merlin was as smooth and delicious as ever plus Anders had the most shaded spot along the History Museum steps. 

Phantom Carriage Citra Muis showed how versatile a base beer Muis is. A touch of the lemony hop was just right. 

Boomtown Brewing from the Arts District was new to the fest this year and my first beer from them was the Ingenue white ale which could have had more spice to it but did hold it own and was slightly better than the Personal Assistant Pale which was good as well for a new outfit.  Look for more from them as they expand out.

I also had my first Rev Brewing beer. Great to see them at the fest. Unfortunately the pale ale that I sampled, though fine, was less interesting and balanced than I had hoped. I will need to head to Covina and try the full range though. 

Three Weavers Return of Sassy Rye was my favorite on the day. I had wanted to try the Watermelon saison but it had tapped out. If this beer is any indication, I am going to love Arts District Brewing. 

Noble Ale Works brought a bevy of beers. They almost brought a mini-OC fest with them. Mosaic Yum Yum was the star but I opted for We Saved Latin a Belgian tinged IPA that I hope makes it to bottles. 

Highland Park Brewing has some of the best beer names around and even though it was my second to last beer the Simcoe Bonkers IPA really stood out. Great aroma and a sprightly taste. 

Overall the Kick-Off was run well. There was plenty of elbow room. You could park yourself on the ground and sit if you needed. Restrooms and water were strategically placed and in more abundance than last year. And with hopped water and coffee in booths, you could easily stay hydrated. The layout was well executed.  You didn’t get stuck in traffic jams and the few rare lines moved fast. 

On the con side of the ledger, the expected absence of Craftsman and unexpected absence of Eagle Rock left a gaping historical hole. I also don’t get the need for both music and seminars. As educational as they may be, the beer education just gets swallowed up by the music and by the time they start, most people are sheets to the wind. Food trucks are also becoming a drag.  They never don’t have lines. Lines that never seemingly move.

The big con was, of course, the heat. It didn’t damper the fun but I did come home with a white line where my wristband had blocked the sun.

In comparing the last three festivals, this is the clear winner.  The beer quality and selection was high.  So high that Mother Nature’s heat couldn’t compete. 



This is big news for Los Angeles, so I will reprint the complete press release:

(I will add my two-cents worth of commentary on Thursday with my Brew& You post over on Food GPS.)

The Los Angeles County Brewers Guild (LABG) has taken the reins of organizing Los Angeles Beer Week to bring you the first-ever LABW hosted by breweries, for beer people. The change comes after LABW’s original committee chairs decided to pass the torch to the fast-growing Guild’s welcoming arms. LABG couldn’t be more thrilled to curate the 10-day event which will launch with a newly revitalized LA Brewers Beer Week Kick-off festival at a new location in Downtown LA on September 20th featuring an invitational-style roster of California breweries and the largest-ever showing of LA beer represented.

“The founders of LABW did a great job creating a structure around which the culture of craft beer was able to grow and flourish over the past five years,” LABG President Jeremy Raub said. “The LA Brewers Guild aims to continue building on that strong foundation, adding more interactive and educational components that will engage and energize the LA beer community.”

The LABG consists of over 20 LA breweries that are committed to craft, community, and culture. LA Beer Week will be entering its sixth year and will feature over 100 events around the greater Los Angeles area. This year’s event will be produced by the Guild’s Events Committee spearheaded by El Segundo Brewing’s Tom Kelley.

“The group of passionate advocates that have held the reins all these years has now entrusted them to the Guild, and we couldn’t be more excited,” said Kelley. “It’s a natural progression for LA Brewers to take over, and we are certainly up to the task of showcasing all the great beer being made in LA County.”

Further details regarding LA Beer Week’s main event and other LABG official events to follow.

Save the Dates:

September 20-28: LA Beer Week

September 20: LA Brewers Beer Week Kick-Off event

September 25: Meeting of the Guilds (LA/SF/SD) at Mohawk Bend