I actually went to a beer festival! The first one since 2019! Cellador Ales hosted the kick-off event for the 2022 L.A. Beer Week and here is my rundown…
Before I start with my best beers though, I want to say that I love the fact that Cellador has embraced magnum pours. They had a whole “magnum island” booth plus bottles were being walked around the festival alley.
On to the beers, this was not a sour only event as in years past, but there were sours aplenty. Rare Barrel had Space Jellies with Strata hops, Craftsman had some barreled Flors and many others had bottle or can pours at the ready.
That said, some of my favorites on the day were from North Park who brought their historically named DIPA’s …
Probably a notch above was the Green Cheek version of Timbo Pils which was bright and hoppy and refreshing on a hot day.
Another stand-out was Craftsman Brewing, OG in L.A. bringing their famous 1903 Lager as well as three barrel-aged ales including 3rd and 4th Flor. I tasted 3rd which used Sherry yeast and was different from every other taster I had.
I like the set-up lots of colorful branded pop-up tents in a row with food at one end and wine and cider inside. I was hoping for more seating and shade options. It was telling that the slim strip of shade near the building quickly became a hang out spot.
I will need to get my festival legs back. I was like a kid in a candy store who hadn’t had sugar in a bit but was also was too wary of crowds. But, my pacing and technique will improve as I get back in the swing of things.
Thanks to Kevin and Fran for setting up a great return to festival action in Los Angeles.
Now you can have some Italian pizza with your English-styled beers from MacLeod Ales. I am liking that breweries are expanding into food. It is the next step in the L.A. craft beer evolution.
I have written, in the past, of my disdain of the yoga and the comedy and the trivia that seem to happen in every taproom, so when I saw this on Facebook, I was thankful that something new and different was being attempted.
I also appreciate that the creativity is being tied into the brewery and the beer too. Sort of a mystery podcast version of Cheers.
I have only tasted beers from Reel Brewing once. They were sub-par and since I have not seen them around either on draft or on store shelves, they were out of sight and mind.
But recent Instagram activity, shows that they are building out in Van Nuys near MacLeod and are also planning a location in my Glendale.
Hopefully, the beers have improved over time. I will keep you posted as to further news.
Coming soon, when you are at MacLeod’s for a pint of the cask, you will be able to slide over to a window and get some pizza to go with it.
The next door kitchen will be overseen by chef Bruce Hall (who is also heading up the upcoming 2nd location Ale and Pie Emporium). The window will have slices and salads. Then it is up to us to determine which pizza pairs best with which beer.
I had visited the newest LA brewery (love typing that) a couple weeks back, I only got to sample one beer, so I headed back with beer buddy Rich to see what the other beers were like.
Here is what I found during Round 2 at MacLeod’s Ale Brewing….
…a nice sized crowd. The bar stools all taken. Quick and attentive service. And three new beers to try.
I hopscotched across the styles starting with the 60 Shilling, then the Ordinary Bitter and lastly the Brown Stout. The Bagpipe tune names, you can see in the above photo.
My favorite and my top choice is The Session Gap. It is ordinary in name only. Lots of grain taste here. Crisp with some citrus notes to it. And like all four beers, it is way easy to be halfway done with a pint before you know it.
The Kings Taxes and Jackie Tar are both on the darker side but are still worlds apart from other dark beers. Even with the added creamy mouthfeel from the hand pump, these two are not viscous or over chocolate/coffee tasting. I keep coming back to the fact that the malt bill is the star here. The Yorkshire yeast is background and the hops are off stage somewhere.
And that is a refreshing change for an over IPA’d LA market.
I strongly recommend visiting their taproom which is open Wednesday through Sunday and look for their beers to be on tap at places like Story Tavern and Glendale Tap in the coming months.
Considering how many British actors are starring in major Hollywood movies, it is amazing that they haven’t clamored for some beer to remind them of home. The old school stuff from cask.
Well, that dry spell will come to an end (and hopefully earlier rather than later) this year with the introduction of MacLeod Ales. Based in Van Nuys they project themselves as “the valley’s other production brewery”.
Their brewing plans are to “replicate and celebrate the traditional brewing methods of the British Isles.”
When they start up, an empty spot in our craft beer eco-system will be filled and hopefully it will make our bars more open to cask spots in their taplines instead of 5,000 IPA’s and it may encourage more cask beers from our current and future brewers.
Who knows, maybe in 5 years L.A. will have a major cask beer festival. For now we will have to rely on MacLeod for draft, cask and bottle.