When I went to Sunset Beer to pick-up a 4-pack of the 2019 Unity, I saw an empty cooler where the beers should have been lined up. I turned to the helpful staff who pointed me where I needed to go in the store and off I went with my prize.
Truth be told, I was kinda hoping for something more strange this year. Maybe some fruit or herb that is local to the Claremont area where Claremont Craft Ales is located could have been added.
But the fact that the cans were in short supply must mean a level of popularity that the style still draws and economics does factor into the equation when selecting a beer style.
And yet, this beer, fine as it is, seemed like something down the middle. It is a bigger beer, north of 8% but other than that it was a DIPA. It lacked a certain spark in the aroma, flavor profile or bitterness. Park this beer amidst three or four other West Coast Old-School DIPA’s and I could not have picked it out or said, that it had an ingredient that screamed L.A.
I know that a Unity beer will evolve. It can’t always be strange beers and it does need to be of the moment. The moment now seems simple and businesslike
#UNITYBREW will be returning to taps and shelves in early June just as the 11th LABW kicks off. 2019’s collaboration brew is led by Claremont Craft Ales. Marking the furthest east that the beer has been brewed.
More coverage and photos tomorrow and then EVEN more in the June Issue of Beer Paper LA.
Only a couple days away now! Here is my L.A. Beer Week choice for the day….
From Southland Beer – The Unity Firkin
Tomorrow at 4:30pm!
“Every year for LA Beer Week the LA Brewers Guild selects one local brewery to brew up one massive collaboration beer called Unity. This year Los Angeles Ale Works was the lucky brewery. Every year since we’ve opened we’ve been honored to receive one of the few firkins of this beer. We’ll be tapping one again this year to kick off Beer Week! No doubt you’ll be drinking more than a few pints of Unity beer this month. Come check out the cask version and see how it compares!
UNITY West (7.0%) – El Dorado | Idaho 7 | Simcoe. Classic dry west coast IPA with notes of tropical fruit and a dank finish. Hop forward with the malt and yeast characteristics playing second fiddle.”
One of the best traditions of L.A. Beer Week is the release of the yearly Unity. It is a collaboration worthy of the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild.
This year we have twins as on June 6, 2018 there will be a dual-can release. Los Angeles Ale Works is the lead brewery for 2018 and they have created both a hazy and West Coast IPA.
Here are the details from the L.A. Beer Week website, “Both beers clock in at 7% ABV and will take on flavors of El Dorado and Idaho 7 hops, but the west coast and east coast will also feature Simcoe and Mandarina Bavaria hops respectively. The west coast is fermented with the classic Cali 01 yeast strain while Sach Trois was utilized for the juicy version. The recipes result in a classic, dry west coast IPA with a dank finish for the west coast and a softer, full-bodied hazy IPA with lower bitterness and a tropical finish.”
Time for the moment of truth, what is the review for the 2017 edition of Unity – The LABW beer.
This year hosted and bottled by El Segundo Brewing.
From the tap: the fruit added IPA pours a pretty clear and light orange color. I was wondering if this would be a fruit bomb or if the extra hoppy nature of ESBC would win the day. Turns out neither, really. It is for sure hoppy but it is approachable, dare I say lighter than the baseline for them. The citrus doesn’t come through as strong as I would think considering all the zesting the L.A. brewers did.
From the bottle: More citrus popped out in a few days old bottle. The orange peel bitterness was there, intermingling with the hops. The color is light and the beer is super easy to drink. 22oz is actually an OK size for this IPA.
After experiencing Unity 2016 from Three Weavers and the LA County Brewers Guild in the cask format, it was time to try the bottled version. Though I am not a fan of the artwork on the label, I can see why a certain niche would think it is cool.
I cracked open the bottle and immediately the hop nose bubbled up before even pouring into the glass. It was a dual hit of pine and tropical fruit with berries swirling around. After that though, the beer sorta fizzled out. Bitterness was there, but the aroma just didn’t carry through into the flavor and when that aroma faded off, I was left with a bit of an underwhelming IPA.
I had a can of Stone’s Go To IPA earlier in the night and that beer had a well executed juicy orange character to it. Did that influence my taste buds? I don’t know but I couldn’t help but compare the two and hoping for Unity16 to pop a little more. Instead it just sorta rolled downhill into a bit of dankness at the end.
It leaves me perhaps to try it on tap and see if that is the optimal dispense for this beer.
Three Weavers Brewing Co. played host to the L.A. Beer Week Unity brew for 2016 along with more than twenty other L.A. craft breweries.
This is year 2 of the rotation around the L.A. brewing area. Smog City held the mantle last year with their Tart Saison and now we head to IPA land. At least it isn’t a fruit IPA. And at least, there will be two as-yet-unnamed hop varietals in the mix. Otherwise this style choice seemed a little predictable and not so edgy. Like greenlighting a sequel instead of an indie flick.
HBC 522 & HBC 342 were used in the brewing. Hops still so new that you really have to dig in Google to get descriptions or characteristics. The latter is described as having an aroma that is mild, pleasant, citrusy, and tropical, with some melon notes as well. 522 is being positioned as a Centennial-esque hop.
With Alexandra Nowell, the brewmaster at Three Weavers, at the helm for the April 20th brewdate, you can expect a great example of an L.A. styled IPA. Unity IPA 2016 will debut before L.A. Beer Week at a special release party at Three Weavers Brewery in Inglewood on Friday, May 27th.
After that, look for bottles to send to those who can’t make it for L.A. Beer Week. Make sure they drink it fresh though.
I first sipped this beer near the end of the Kick-Off festival but after so many beers on the day, it was hard to get a true look at it. So, once bottles started showing up around town, I grabbed a few to re-test.
It is a very simple beer. The initial sip has a spark of tart and that tartness is there the rest of the way but not puckeringly so. The aroma would lead you to think it is more sour than it is. There is a good amount of farmhouse yeast aroma as you swirl the beer in the glass. There is some notes of grapefruit and a bit of the sweet tart intermingled.
I have had various saisons from Smog City with the kumquat being excellent and the plum, not so much. I would like to see fruited variations on this beer in the future. It is good with a nice low ABV but it is missing a little something like a spice or fruit note to add another layer to the beer.