In the Tap Lines for June 2015

header_attractionsThis is L.A. Beer Week month. From the 20th to the 28th, the City of Angels becomes a beer destination for all comers starting with a blowout local brewery bash at Exposition Park near USC.  Plus…..

~ e-visits to three breweries who were at the recent Firestone Walker Invitational
~ special reviews of beers from new to L.A. 21st Amendment
~ Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ Beer-centric podcast review, goes scientific with Beervana
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world
~ … and Session # 100 will converge bloggers onto a single topic, this month it is Resurrecting Lost Beer Styles

Here are two events to get your June started in the Los Angeles craft beer world:
1) June 1st – Burger Week at both of the Oinkster locations with Red Tick Ale from Highland Park Brewery
2) June (anytime) – Check out the new DTLA gastropub and homebrewer space of BarrelDown.

Oinkster in Hollywood

Those that know beer in L.A., know that the Oinkster is part of a beer loving restaurant group that is tied to Maximiliano and Little Bear and that they have added craft beer into their equations which other celeb chef driven spots seem oblivious too. (Looking at you Bourbon Steak at the Americana)

So I was happy to get an invite to the soft opening of Oinkster 2, the sequel.


Thanksgiving Turkey Burger and El Segundo Citra Pale ale. That is how I inaugurated the new Oinkster on Vine. And since I am a fan of the original. This article will be peppered with comparisons.

The new location (years in the making) has six taps compared to four in Eagle Rock. Josh Salinas (who has ably managed the rotating list) will manage both. There will be the same plastic cups that customers are used to as well. You can probably expect plenty of locals like Craftsman and Eagle Rock on tap.

Minimalist design is the motif inside. A bit retro diner meets Ikea. Their is some color mismatch which is jarring with teal on one wall then the classic red tablecloth pattern in one section. Some tables have bench seating and others don’t. Seems a bit random but I am not an interior designer. There is wrap around outdoor seating. It is a nice open space and a dog patio will soon be added as well.

There seem to be more things on this menu that I would repeatedly order (next time I will get the Bacon Cheeseburger or the Bleu Cheese burger) and for the Yelpers who bitch about parking, this spot has its own plus plenty on the street which is a Hollywood rarity.

I can see this becoming a late night spot to grab food when you tire of the scene to the north. And if the smog is light and if you get the right seat, you can see the Hollywood sign in the distance.


First Look – Little Bear LA

When you bring together the talent behind the Oinkster and Maximillianos with the beer savvy behind The Verdugo and the Surly Goat, what do you get?

Little Bear in downtown-ish Los Angeles. Here are some photos and my reaction on my first visit.

You drive by darkened warehouses on the eastern edge of downtown Los Angeles. Very noir. Then on Industrial Street there is an oasis and life going on. Strollers out and about. Dogs being walked and two restaurants across a skinny street from each other and one is the new (since Friday) Little Bear.
I scan the beer list and pick # 1 on the list, Duvel Single. Solid list with a good variety of choices. The industrial space is bright and warm. Nice mix of tables and a bar to choose from too. I really like the artwork including the Little Bear badge outside and the iconic Belgian beer logos on one wall.
My beer arrives as does my grilled cheese (which could use a lighter hand on the onion marmalade) and then my second beer (Ommegang Three Philosophers) which goes amazingly well with the Chocolate and Cheese plate provided by Ryan Sweeney.
It is an value for the price. You have to try the cheese and chocolate together. I was wary at first but it works quite well. Especially the stilton with a bit of dark chocolate.

photo courtesy of Richard Rosen
As of now, they are open only at night but lunch will be coming soon and you can expect a rotating list of Belgians and Belgian inspired beers on tap and in bottles. I highly suggest checking out the latest addition to the L.A. craft beer scene.

One refreshed, One almost opened and One in the works

And they are all under the Andre Guerrero banner.

First, The Oinkster the always crowded (and with good reason) BBQ joint in Eagle Rock with a great beer list has been renovated from tables and chairs to menu board. If you didn’t already go for the beer, check out it’s updated look.

Next up is Maximiliano in Highland Park. It is yet to open but if Oinkster is any indication, this will be yet another spot for great beer and Italian food.

UPDATE – I just tried Maximiliano and I have to say that it is great. The interior is way cool. Great windows make it an airy space. I have tried a good chunk of the desserts which are great and the potato pizza that I had was really good. On the beer front, they are going to carry primarily Craftsman beers including a special beer made just for the restaurant. The place gets a thumbs up from me for sure after one visit.

Last is the news (now, not so new) that a third spot will be created downtown called Little Bear! With the always friendly and beer savvy Ryan Sweeney on board. Check out the details HERE. Thanks to Eater for always finding the latest scoop!