30 years of craft brewing I saw certainly a wild ride so New Belgium is hopping up “Wild Ride Amber IPA: a hop-forward tribute to our OG Fat Tire.” Since it is Flagship February, would be a good time to have Fat Tire and compare it to Wild Ride.
I cover quite a few milestones on this blog. Most are under 10 years but today, I want to bring your attention to New Belgium who is at a much bigger number, 30. They are honoring their flagship Amber as well as modern trends with an Amber IPA.
This year, they came up with yet another great hook for a beer event. They brought five sour beers to five different L.A. bars. Did not tell the bars which beer they had and then had David Walker drive the Firestone-Walker emblazoned rover from spot to spot to reveal which sour they had on tap.
I skipped the first stop at Golden Road because the Better Weather Festival (to be reviewed later by my special westside correspondent) was in full swing. I headed for the Verdugo first and was treated to Lil Opal which poured a light yellow color and had a touch of tartness. And out on the patio after watching my Dad’s Oregon State team win over UCLA, was the full F-W entourage including brewer Matt Brynildson.
Then the next stop beckoned. While they headed to Alhambra and 38 Degrees, I jumped to the 4th stop, Far Bar. All because of a dirty hippie (aka, the 6th anniversary beer from Kern River) It’s good to have two beer events in one spot. Makes my job easier plus that Imperial Red is quite good and a beer you should search out. Notes of Citra hit the nose but the beer doesn’t try to tackle your palate. It is soft and strong. As the time approached for the 4th sour, many familiar beer geeks filed into the now expanded space on 1st for the reveal of SLOambic.
A red hued beauty with a light fruit taste and a nice bit of tart to it. Firestone sours are not the mouth contorting puckery kind but on a hot day where lighter beers seemed more appropriate, they really fit the bill and it was great to see the bar filled with snifters of the strawbeery in everyone’s hands.
Events can be hard to pull off. Events that involve L.A. traffic, a skosh harder. But this worked like clockwork. People could get one beer or all five. The taps flowed when promised and the group was more than willing to talk with everyone. It is a model L.A. Beer Week event. And whatever crazy idea they have for next year. I will be there.
Then the rover was off to Blue Palms for it’s final stop.