Knotty

Looks like more beer is coming to Westlake Village in the form of new brewery, Naughty Pine.

Brewing has started and former Enegren brewer Brittany Brouhard is looking to make her brewery a real party of the community.

Look for a 1st Visit review when their taproom is open.

Help the Butterfly

image from the Five Threads Facebook page

Five Threads Brewing north of L.A. in Westlake Village is “releasing an Organic IPA with a special cause at its core. Vanishing Beauty is our effort to rally support for the critically endangered Western Monarch Butterfly. Numbers of these majestic migrators have fallen from 4.5 million to 2,000 in just the last 40 years. Integral to the pollination of much of our local flora, these creatures must be protected at all costs, and a portion of the sales from Vanishing Beauty will be put to that use.

Vanishing Beauty was brewed with 100% organic ingredients including Bravo, Simcoe, Sultana, Calipso, and Mosaic hops. Expect a light and crisp body buoyed by notes of grapefruit zest and a subtle floral medley. This can with a cause is available today in our tasting room and online, and if you’d like to do even more to help protect the Western Monarch Butterfly please visit our website to find out how you can make a difference.”

The brewery is also releasing a quintuple IPA named 5X as well. A hoppy way to help the earth.

1st Visit – 14 Cannons


Way at the back of the same industrial park as Westlake Brewing is where 14 Cannons has put their taproom and they have cleverly branded t-shirts using “Beermuda Triangle” as their slogan, promoting themselves, Westlake and Five Threads which all have taprooms within very short walks of each other.

Wicker lighting and ship reminiscent wood on the walls
Really nice weathered and round bar with metal accents.
Fire in the Hole slot games. Couches on one wall and there is fun blue lighting on the tanks giving them an otherworldly vibe. 14 Cannons has really gone for the theme. It almost looks like a stage set.

Their flight of four comes in wine glasses. With the NON hoppy menu to left, hoppy to right. Below are my bullet reviews of my taster flight:

Patient Pilsner
Nice. Got a bit of a metallic bite to it.

Marooner Marzen
Spicy malt nose to this one. Light but still substantial.

One Cannon – Mosaic
Rotating hop series. Good citrus aroma. Comes on strong and isn’t really a hop showcase to me.

Wreck Yo Ship

Seems initially lighter than the One Cannon. But it is teetering toward Barleywine. Fits with the taproom theme though

Still to Visit L.A. Brewery # 3 – 14 Cannons


Up north of us, 14 Cannons is a hybrid showroom and brewery. The Westlake Village location “showcases the industry’s leading vendors while also producing beer by award winning brewer Nic Bortolin.” Basically, they can get you started in your building a brewery process with actual brewing going on.

Here are my initial taster tray choices:

Spice Island Chai Tea Brown Ale
“a traditional English style Brown Ale. Brewed with a
Maris Otter base malt and old-world Brown malt for a great biscuit flavor and rich toasty mouthfeel. We then brewed fresh Chai Tea and added that to the finished beer. Fragrant aromas of ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, clove and black pepper transport this beer across continents and will make you swear you’re sitting in an ancient royal tea house.”

Patient Pilsner
“Pilsner is a centuries old obsession for brewers and beer drinkers alike. 14 Cannonshas boldly and patiently added a true to style Czech Pilsner to their core line-up. Patient Pilsner is brewed with 100% Czech ingredients. First, our reverse osmosis water is engineered to matched to the soft water profile of Pilsen, Czech Republic the birthplace of the modern-day pilsner. Next, floor malted barley is flown halfway around the world to create the classic pale color and clean malt taste. Kazbek hops provide the classic noble spice of a Czech pilsner with refreshing lemon peelovertones. Finally, the beer is laid to rest in our lagering tank, where it rests andtests one’s patience and isn’t served until absolutely ready.”

One Cannon Single Hop IPA
“Hop head alert! Our brewers are notorious hop heads. One Cannon is a new rotating Single Hop IPA series. This is a great way for you and our overzealous brewers to learn about new hops. The first batch of One Cannon featuresIdaho 7 hops. This experimental variety of hops is from Wilder, Idaho.Aroma and flavor characteristics include pungent notes of orange peel and tropical fruit with a dank resiny pine finish.”

Slippery Deck Imperial IPA
“! Hold on to your senses, Slippery Deck Imperial IPA can
overwhelm even the most experienced IPA lover if they’re not prepared for a tropical-boozy- trip off the coast of New Zealand. This heavy hitter clocks in at 10.5% abv although it is deceptively easy to drink. Tropical aromas of pineapple and fresh crushed citrus, from the New Zealand hop Motueka, are expertly paired with a 100% pilsner malt body to create a dangerously drinkable IIPA. Resinous notes of pine on the finish are brought to you by the Zythos hops added to compliment the aroma.”

How Many Cannons?

14 to be exact.

In what is new to my knowledge, 14 Cannons will be both a brewery in the crowded Westlake Village market, that already has two big players in Figueroa Mountain and The Dudes as well as Westlake Brewing and Five Threads, and a showroom for future breweries to Ikea shop for a brewhouse design.

From the website, “The showroom is a working operational teaching facility for brewers and novices alike. It features top of the line equipment from Premier Stainless, Microbrew Water, ProBrew, Blome Tile, Airgas, Pro Chiller, Keg Credit, and GF Piping System.”

Infrastructure like this has been slow in coming but could really help those building a brewery now.

Westlake & Down

Beer travel in LA is different than other cities. Freeways are not easy, so once I get to a location, I plan to hit multiple spots. When I visited Westlake Village, I was expecting two breweries and ended up with a bonus one.

First stop is the southermost outpost of Figueroa Mountain Brewing.
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There a casual outdoor mall setting meets prospector camp vibe was in effect. Despite a plethora of employees, the service was a bit on the slow and not paying attention side. Maybe, sittin’ at the bar is the way to go. The parmesan tots were excellent though and the beer list, see here….
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…was stellar and long. Both the Chamuco brown ale aged in tequila and mezcal barrels and The Gipper, dry hopped lager were excellent. Tequila barrels are under used or poorly used but not in this case and though I am not a fan of Reagan, a vote for the Gipper is also a vote against Cruz/Trump.

The main reason for the visit was for the grand opening of Westlake Brewing Co.. The brewery shares a warehouse space with 101 Cider and had cider on tap at their really long bar and for sale in a cooler.
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I was surprised to taste that their IPA is nice and bright and the best of the bunch. Surprised because it is such an over done style that to make something that breaks out can be very hard. The rest of the line-up was a bit below par for me. The Mistress blonde ale tasted like it had sat in a cider barrel for too long. The Red Sky raspberry version of their Cloud Cover wit tastes like the filling of a raspberry donut. That was preferable to The Master which tasted like cooking vanilla and had no discernible coffee note to it.
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While searching for the Westlake brewery, I saw a food truck and made the assumption that it must be where the brewery was, I was partially right. It was a brewery but it was the unknown to me Five Threads Brewing. Since me and beer buddy Richard were already there, we popped in to see the place and try a couple.
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And I was glad that I did. The Game Day Cream Ale was well done as was the Jessica Imperial Red with had a nice cereal malt flavor lurking behind the hops. The Winter Pantry Black IPA was very smoke malt forward but still nicely balanced. I wished that I had started here instead of Westlake. As a bonus if you order 4 tasters the 5th is free. That is a damn good deal.
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And the bonus is that the always great Ladyface is on the way back to LA.

Moving Closer

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Figueroa Mountain Brewing must have construction companies on speed dial what with opening new taprooms all along the Central Coast of California. Now an amazing sixth taproom is open and it is the closest yet for those of us in Los Angeles up north in Westlake Village. Located in the Shoppes at Westlake Village, the taproom will seat 200 and most importantly includes a 15-barrel brewhouse.

Nic Bortolin, Head Brewer for the new location will have the flexibility to brew “specialty beers not only for that location but for nearby retail accounts, as well. In addition to their year-round line-up of beers, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. will offer beers on nitro, collaboration beers from their Short Tank Series, seasonal beers and taproom specialties brewed by Nic as well as from other FigMtnBrew brewpubs. Beer cocktails and floats are also available along with non-alcoholic beverages. Cask ales will be coming soon.”

That last point is the draw for me to try the beers in a new format.

Now you have many options for FigMtn beers be it at the main location in Buellton, or Los Olivos, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Arroyo Grande, California.