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.

Recap – LA IPA Festival 2020

Circumstances (aka Life) got in the way of me attending the Leap Day celebration of IPA at Mohawk Bend, but I did sneak over on March 1st to sample some leftovers.

Tarantula Hills Thousand Oaks IPA

People’s Choice Winner. Good solid bitterness. Nothing jumps out as to why this would make a mark. Pours a solid yellow color.  Tea and spice here.

Harland Brewing Leap Year

First beer from Harland. Had the beer a day late. Light yellow. Coconut but light. Strong amount of bitterness.  Some earthy pine as well. 

Gunwhale Ales California Scenario IPA

My fav of the three.  Light. Good amount of bitterness. More earthy but bubbly. 

This year’s winners did not include Green Cheek or Highland Park and cover a wide swath of California too. North Park took Gold with Sorta Mostly Dead, Silver to Heal the Bay from ABInBev subsidiary Golden Road and Bronze to Fieldwork for Boss of the Plains.

Russian to Mohawk Bend

Thanks to the new production facility in Windsor, Angelenos have been getting a nice, steady supply of beer from Russian River Brewing. And that means that we will probably see more tap takeovers, like the one coming up at Mohawk Bend on August 29th.

As that date gets closer, check the social media to see if any tap list emerges but I would recommend starting with STS Pils.

The 2019 IPA Festival

The start of March is gonna be hoppy here in Los Angeles.  The L.A. IPA Festival wll take over Mohawk Bend for a weekend of over 60 IPAs on tap. 

For a twist this year, there will be VIP food and IPA packages available.   Below is the information (The Sunday package sounds killer to me) SATURDAY, MARCH 2, 2019
•Doors open at 9:30am
•Industry Judging & People’s Choice all day
•Awards at 4pm
•No Tickets or Reservations

•Doors open at 9:30am
•Build You Own Flights all day
•Walk-ins Welcome

•Satruday Brunch With The Brewers Package – $40
Brunch with the Brewers and judge IPAs along with the pros!
•Saturday Final 5 Judging Package – $30
Judge the 5 California West Coast-style IPAs that make it to the Finals!
•Sunday No Leftovers Package – $45
Join us for a recap brunch featuring your choice of 1 brunch appetizer and 1 brunch entrée, as well as unlimited tastes of any of the remaining Los Angeles IPA Fest beers!

River Flow

I will be on other side of town on the 17th but if you feel the urge to have beer and be charitable towards making our winding river a bit better, then head over to Mohawk Bend for their Riverfest. I wonder how many other breweries have River in the name.

Recap – IPA Fest 2018

Rainy (for L.A.) weather did not dampen the spirits of fans of the hops as the 5th L.A. IPA Festival was as crowded as ever with lines before the roll up doors went up and a line when I left after sampling 5 IPA’s and wishing that I could have tasted more.

I was lucky enough to be on the media side of the back Ramona Room where I could watch the judging take place in front of me while IPA’s were also placed in front of me.

None of the beers that I tasted which included the eventual winner from Green Cheek, Don’t Die on Me really lit my palate up. They all inhabited the vast middle ground but my clear favorite was from the Tony Yanow backed The Bell Marker, Not F…ing Hazy was a clear and well done straight up West Coast Dank IPA.

Now I had a long list of IPA’s that I should have swapped in like Arrow Lodge and their 3 Wheel Motion, Bagby’s Boy Wonder, Societe’s The Fiddler and Burgeon’s Time Sensitive.

I think that I still like the day after though due to the smaller crowd and the availability of flights. One small change I would make would be to reduce the glass size or the tap list size. I (or you) could attack that list in so many different ways but when the pours are 6 to 8oz, there is no real way that you can fully appreciate that last beer or the beer before that. I would say going to 4oz would be good and might quicken the turnaround as well.

That said, if I were you, I would check out Mohawk Bend this week. Plenty of great IPA will be flowing.


Empty out your weekend plans when it comes to March 3rd and 4th. The fifth annual Los Angeles IPA Festival returns to blister the palates of all with truckloads of hops.

Mohawk Bend, will host the beer competition of the best India Pale Ales from all across California. Below are the details…

“Starting at 9:30am on Saturday morning, attendees will be able to stop by the Echo Park spot to sample over 60 craft beers from 60 competing breweries and enjoy a limited menu, pizza slices, and $5 keepsake glasses.

Two time champion brewer, Bob Kunz, from Highland Park Brewery will return as a judge/competitor along with Jeremy Raub from Eagle Rock Brewery and many more. For $5 per 8 oz. pour, you can enjoy a variety of unique brews and even vote for your favorite—both the People’s Choice and Judge’s choice winners will be crowned at 4pm.

On Sunday at 9:30am, continue the beer-filled festivities with build-your-own flights of 4 for $15 of the remaining beers.”

I have found that 11am on Sunday will give you actual elbow room and while the winners and a good share of the haze and milkshakes will be kicked, there will be plenty of beers to choose from. I still had 30+ beers to choose from. But for those that like the crowds and the energy, make sure you get there early.

Another Save the Date

60+. That is how many IPA’s that Mohawk Bend will have on offer for their 4th iteration of the L.A. IPA Festival. The bitterness starts on Saturday, March 4 and continues the on Sunday, March 5, 2017.

The judges start tasting and voting at 9:30am with awards at 4pm. In between and after will be large crowds and sharp elbows so plan accordingly and make sure to vote for your favorite in the People’s Choice poll.

This is the day that I usually attend. I can arrive and grab a seat and select from the flights on offer all day. Of course, the winner is usually long gone as are many other beers, but there is still a strong showing of IBU’s to choose from.

10 oz tastings are $5 and you can buy the custom glassware for an additional $5.

Review – IPA Fest (The Leftovers)

First things first. At the 2016 LA IPA Festival, 3rd Place was Lupulin River from Knee Deep. 2nd to two-time winner Noble Ale Works with That’s Unpossible and the winner was Bonkers IPA from Highland Park. (When that beer is fresh, it is insanely good so I totally understand it winning).

Secondly, do not even try to get in on opening day. Yeah, you will miss the winners mentioned above(they always tap out the first night) but you will save yourself waiting in line and being jostled around like a pinball. Plus you won’t have to put up with whiners who will complain about the lines as if it were some strange otherworldly happenstance that makes IPAs popular. And my favorite reason: flights so you can taste the variety of hops on tap.

I showed up fairly early for a lost hour Sunday and started with a flight of four ranging from the new-to-me, Jambi from Mason Ale Works in Oceanside to The a Winning Team from local favorite Eagle Rock, Stolen Valor from Arts District and the much hyped Peter David inspired beer, Hops are a Preservative from Transplants Brewing. ERB may not have won the voting but it won my first taster tray. (as it did in the People’s Choice Awards too)
Tray #2 included Recursion 8.0 from Bottle Logic, Anthia from Unsung Brewing of Orange County, Hop Drizzle from Honey Wagon and finally Inclined from Santa Monica Brew Works. The aroma and initial taste of Anthia was the best of both groups but I would still choose the Eagle Rock beer the winner of my informal tasting. Odd, that this group was uniformly yellow in color while group 1 ranged from amber downward.

Beer Talk

Beer events usually involve beer geeks. Not a bad thing. But sometimes casting a wider net of beer drinkers can yield more interesting conclusions. The 1st Beer Talk with the theme of IPA was just such an event.
For example, have noted IPA lover Tony Yanow of Golden Road talking about his take on the history of the IPA style to a crowd that included a home brewer, beer bloggers and a person who has never been to Mohawk Bend and you end up hearing new viewpoints on an oft discussed and oft drunk beer style along with generous samples to compare and contrast.
Tidbits that I picked up:
Tony is a big fan of the Kernel Brewery in London. I tried to put a bug in his ear about a transatlantic collaboration. Maybe that can happen.

A 4% beer with 80 IBU’s would be more of a palate wrecker than Palate Wrecker.

Deadheads were big Sierra Nevada fans and as they followed the band they brought the beer with them around the country. Possibly getting the US accustomed to hoppy beers.

Anything over 100 IBU’s is really theoretical. You just can’t utilize that much alpha acid.

To me the best aspect was getting to try Blind Pig next to Sierra Nevada Pale ale or the Pliny the Elder next to Wolf Among Weeds because it does really show the differences off and can lead to a greater appreciation for a beer that may get passed up. Plus to see the faces of people who either haven’t had the beer before is really cool. Toss in a little blind tasting where I ranked Wolf slightly higher than Pliny along with a couple others is fun too.

And the $20 price tag is a steal in an era of $50+ events out there.