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LA Beer Week Kickoff Festival
June 18, 2016
Los Angeles Center Studios in Downtown LA
Author: Dikla Tuchman
Photos: Dikla Tuchman & Rachel Ann
It’s official: LA Beer week is in full swing! With over 80 craft breweries pouring, more than half of which hailed from the Los Angeles area, LA Beer Week’s kickoff festival in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, June 18 drew huge crowds and loads of unique brews. From bigger, more established LA spots like Karl Strauss and Angel City to the barely-a-year-old nano brewery 8one8 Brewing in Canoga Park, there was strong turnout from all corners of the vast and diverse LA County craft beer scene. Representation from the LBC included Beachwood and Timeless Pints, both breweries drawing large lines and happy drinkers.
The most popular styles pouring at the weekend’s big kickoff were unsurprisingly IPAs, from sessions to doubles to fruit infused hopped-up pale ales. Among my favorites was the El Mas Guapo, a guava IPA from Transplant Brewing Company in Palmdale. Coming in at only 5%, the guava gave this brew a nice, fruity finish with lots of citrus notes. Definitely a refreshing sessionable summer beer! Another citrusy, crisp IPA was from El Segundo Brewing, the Mayberry IPA. El Segundo never ceases to disappoint, and the Mayberry made a perfect pairing with a cheesy pastrami sandwich from Berlin food truck.
To my surprise and delight, many local breweries brought out some impressive sours. Among my favorites were two of the barrel projects from Craftsman Brewing in Pasadena. The Honesty Ale was a tart, sweet American Wild made with tons of cherry juice. Coming in at just over 7%, this should be carefully consumed in the sun. Even heavier hitting was the absolutely delicious and drinkable El Prieto sour dark ale. At 8.4%, this evil temptress lives up to its name, after the El Prieto hills in Angeles National Forest. This dark sour would make a great entry point for those who may not enjoy overly tart sours, as this one had lots of nice dark cherry and plumb notes, very juicy but not too much pucker. A more classic and wonderfully drinkable sour was poured by the fine folks at Eaglerock Brewery, the Zaigermiester. A sour ale coming in at only 5.7%, this incredible drinkable sour aged ale was brewed with tons of apricots and mangos. Juicy, sweet and tart.
One of the most creative and surprising brews I tasted included the PCH (Pale Chocolate Heaven) by Santa Monica Brew Works, a light-grain porter brewed with a liberal amount of cacao nibs and hint of vanilla. Don’t let the color deceive you, this caramel-colored ale has plenty of malty flavor and body, though light on the tongue. On the nose, this creamy brew replicated Nestle Quick. As I found myself instantly transported to happy childhood memories, it became hard not to love this sweet, chocolatey treat. PCH makes for a great dessert beer that doesn’t sit heavy and goes down easy even on a hot Southern California day. I will definitely be looking out for more by this still-young and impressive brewery from Santa Monica.
As the heat climbs, there will continue to be an array of eclectic beer events to choose from throughout the rest of LA Beer Week held throughout LA County, including a few here in Long Beach. Check out the schedule and keep an eye out for other coverage of LA Beer Week from your friends here at Craft Beer LB. Cheers!
A few brews to look forward to!
1. Grapefruit Wicked White IPA – The Wicked White is a seasonal, summer
IPA for us, and our brewer, Chris, decided to put a grapefruit spin on it
this year. It will be tapped on Thursday the 16th.
2. Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse – Our Father’s Day small batch, special
release beer. This will be a fun one because it’s a first for us and we
get to share it on a special day. There will be live music at the brewery
as well for Father’s Day.
3. Smoked Chocolate & Rey Stout – Also a first, however, Chris has made a
few stouts, a peanut butter cup porter, and a black Rye IPA. This beer
will hit the taps towards the end of this month.
Had a chance to swing by Timeless Pints last week and got lucky as they had a couple of their beers that aren’t always available on tap. They had some pours left of their Scotch Strong Ale and Peanut Butter Cup Porter. Apparently they had a special food pairing event the night before and those beers were stored away for the event. The Scotch Strong Ale was delicsious, but I’m pretty hooked on the Peanut Butter Cup Porter! I’ll have to keep an eye out for when it returns.
Let’s talk about their location for a second… They’re actually in Lakewood, but most of the surrounding businesses are Long Beach! I have no idea how that little section became part of Lakewood. If you google, “Lakewood, CA Map”, you’ll see a little hangtag looking section on the bottom left that’s surrounded by Long Beach.. That’s where Timeless Pints is. If you’re not specifically looking for them, you’ll likely miss them. They’re a little tucked away. During business hours you’ll see their signs out on the main roads, Cherry Ave and Lakewood Ave, pointing the direction of where they are. Follow them!
They have food trucks that rotate through to feed your bellies. They also have trivia every Thursday and live music every Sunday. For a full list of food trucks and events, visit their website, www.timelesspints.com.
3671 Industry Avenue, C1
Lakewood, CA 90712
Ever thought of brewing beer at home? If you have the time and patience, it’s actually pretty easy. If this is something you’re interested in, head on over to Stein Fillers. They have everything you need to get your first batch fermenting. They have full kits of different style beers or you can buy all the ingredients separate and create your own concoction. They even offer free home brewing demos so you can see how everything works before you dive in. Our Meetup Group is planning to attend one of the classes. If you’re interested, join us for updates of when we’ll be attending. If you just want to go already, call Stein Fillers and they’ll let you know when their next class is.
Here’s a blurb from their website:
“Stein Fillers has been in business since 1994 providing quality ingredients to brewers, vintners and meadmakers throughout the greater Los Angeles area.
Since our inception, we have prided ourselves on being a public resource center for fermentation information and specialty brewing ingredients. We aim to continue that tradition, with knowlegeable helpful staff and accomodating hours.
Over the years we have come to be a well known meeting place for local hobbyists that want to further their education in the fermentation arts.
If you’re in the Long Beach area please stop by and browse our brewing library. Currently we are not in the mail order business so we can concentrate on our store.
We are a full service homebrewing supply store and cater to brewers both large and small, from novice to expert. We probably have any item you are looking for and if we don’t, we can definitely arrange to find it.”
4160 Norse Way
Long Beach, CA 90808
Wed- Sat: 11am – 6pm / Sun: 11am – 3pm / Closed Mon & Tue
Phone: (562) 425-0588
Not only are we a blog/website, we’re also a social group! Join our Meetup Group and join us on our next outing!
The group was only created a few weeks ago and grew to 100+ members. We weren’t expecting it to grow so fast, but since it did, why not meet up?? Our first Meetup happened this past Wed, June 1st at Congregation Ale House and about 20 were in attendance. What an awesome group of people.. Can’t wait for the next one!
A huge THANK YOU to the crew at Congregation Ale House for allowing us to use their patio and for providing us goodies to raffle off! Also, thanks to Nathan from Latitude 33 Brewing out of Vista, CA for joining us and not only providing a hat for the raffle, but also sharing some of their awesome beers with the group. If you haven’t already, you’ll have to pickup their Blood Orange IPA. Check them out at http://latitude33brewing.com/.
Hope to see everyone at the next Meetup!
Smog City Brewing will be opening a satellite tasting room in Long Beach! For a while, I was wondering if/when it would actually happen as I pass the location often. Yesterday, I was excited to see they finally broke ground!
If you haven’t heard about it yet, Long Beach will be the home of SteelCraft, a new permanent food lot that will be built entirely from shipping containers.
Smog City has already released an IPA called SteelCraft that is only available around Long Beach. We’ll see if we can get a list of current locations and post it up.
We’ll get more info for you soon.. For now, check out some photos of the future home of Smog City’s satellite tasting room!
Okay, this likely isn’t new news to a lot of people, but it’s definitely something to look forward to! For those of you that it IS news to… Ballast Point is coming to Long Beach! They are setting up shop in Alamitos Bay. More specific, they have taken over what used to be Khoury’s Restaurant. That is a prime waterfront spot and is over 11,000 sq ft… More exciting, for me at least, is the new facility will be focusing on expanding their sour beer program!
I passed by just to make sure the rumors were true and what I saw was impressive.. I’ve been to Khoury’s before and didn’t realized how big the space actually was. Peeking through the fence, you can see the fermenters on one side and what looks to be a bar area on the other.. It also looks like there will be an upper deck overlooking the bay! Definitely can’t wait for this to be done.
The Stave is also a great place for craft brews (and whiskey) in Downtown Long Beach.
It’s Stone Week at Congregation! Make sure you cruise by and try the Stone x Congregation collaboration brew, Stoned 2 Hour Confession which is a 120-Minute Black IPA w/Oak & Bourbon (not pictured) and a whole slew of other Stone brews!