LA Beerfest, April 9, 2016, happening rain or shine. #Truth. LA is getting some much needed rain which is great, but of course my response was “What? On Beerfest day?” You see LA Beerfest produced by Drink Eat Play http://www.drinkeatplay.com/ is always this first week in April and its always hot, like really hot, like “damn where are those guys giving away the foam visors I don’t care what my hair looks like” hot. Which I’m not saying is a good thing, it’s just tradition. This festival is the gate way to summer and sun is expected. But as I strung up my pretzel necklace I thought “Aw who cares, It’s beer!” and apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought that.
What seemed like one million people in line showed up too. Now I will give credit where credit it is due, to the producers of this festival. I thought Mr Beerman and I would lose important time inside the festival because the line was so tremendous. But dang it if that line didn’t move at a rapier like speed. We got in the back of a street block or longer line at 11:50 and we were inside by 12:01. That’s efficient security and ticket takers.
The Beerfest’s layout hadn’t changed much since last year and the year before. I really like LA Center Studios, it’s current location. Don’t get me wrong Paramount Studios was Ah-MAH-zing to sit on the front stoop of a “Happy Endings” Apartment (I miss that show) but LA Center Studios just has a wider courtyard and although crazy crowded with beer lovers didn’t ever feel crazy crowded. And super thumbs up for all the tents with free water and free chips. Thank you for that!
All this being said it meant I knew where my old favorites were, and I could see where some new breweries were waiting to be discovered.
Let’s cut to the chase. What did I find? Who did I love?
#1: Cosmic Ales
I rushed over to find my #1 top pic from my last LA BEER FEST, Cosmic Ales. http://www.cosmicbrewery.com/Home_Planet.html How great are these guys? You know you have seen their awesome labels and thought I should buy this beer cause look how cool it is. You should, but you should also buy it cause its really good. Really really good. And they aren’t just a one trick pony. They don’t have just IPA or 3 versions of the same IPA, their beer runs the gamut, from the Cosmonaut Blonde I tried this time, http://www.cosmicbrewery.com/Cosmonaut.html, to their Hell Hound Brown, Bag Pipe Ale, Tulips on my Organ, 1776 a porter, and apparently there is a Red Imperial in production that I can’t wait to try. The BEST news about Cosmic is they are opening a Tap room! Woot! They are almost ready to open the doors and for us to rush to Torrance, CA: 1 block west of Western and just south of Del Amo blvd. It’s the perfect location in between Smog City, Monkish and the Dudes. That sounds like a beer day tasting to me! They should be opening up Mid May’ish. Stay tuned and keep an eye on their website or twitter for details. You’ll thank me I swear.
#2 Hand Brewed Beer
from Chatsworth, CA http://www.handbrewedbeer.com/#!home/mainPage Well well well, where have you guys been all my drinking life. Apparently in Chatsworth. WOW! The beers were so good! I’m going to have to come out and visit you. I tried their El Chubasco IPA and I’m not normally a pepper in my beer kinda gal. But they were correct when they said “try it, all the flavor without the heat”. They were right. This is my “brewery to look out for”. I’ll put money on these guys blowing up in the next year. I look forward to trying all your beers!
#3 The Lab Brewing Company at Twisted Oak Tavern
Shut up! This beer is CRAZY. It’s comes from a tavern, Twisted Oak Tavern, http://www.twistedoaktavern.pub/#gastropub out in Agoura Hills and I have to admit my brother in law who lives out there has mentioned it to me and I wasn’t paying attention. My apologies Jason, cause this beer was legit. More than that it was delicious! When you can brew a Belgium style Triple Ale at 10.8% and I say “Please sir can I have some more” then you are doing something no one else has done before you. If you know The Bierlady’s tastes at all, that’s not my personal beer of preference. And it was off the hook. I loved it. Their After Midnight Moo milk stout was amazing too. I can’t even come up with adjectives great enough for this beer. The bar itself was voted one of Craftbeer.com’s 51 Best Beer Bars in America http://www.craftbeer.com/great-american-beer-bars-2016#California. And the menu tells me they don’t just have two awesome beers from The Lab Brewing but many, many, and several guest beers including some from the aforementioned Hand Brewed Beer!
#4 Dales Bros Brewery
So Dales Bros Brewery http://dalebrosbrewery.com/ was a tent almost next to Hand Brewed Beer and in truth Mr Beerman was moving quickly as he needed to take a “break” due to the many tastes and maybe the sound of rain falling. But I wanted a quick walking beer to take with me through the crowd. So I stopped at Dales and tried their Pomona Queen Amber Lager http://dalebrosbrewery.com/project/pomona-queen/#thetitle . I started to walk away then I sipped it, and it was like one of those record scratch moments. I did an about face and told Mr Beerman “wait!”. I went back and had to ask what this was all about. It had the greatest bread finish on a beer that I have ever tasted. I don’t think I have ever been to Upland, CA but I will be visiting soon.
# 5 Santa Monica Brew Works
If you want like the best chocolate coffee tasting beer ever, this is it: PCH (Pale Chocolate Heaven) from http://santamonicabrewworks.com/. Sometimes when brewers try to incorporate a flavor, its either too much or too little or too fabricated but this is one was done exactly right. I was not familiar with this brewery but I’ll be heading over to SM for some beach tastings ASAP.
Not that cider isn’t on the same level as beer. It is. I wrote an entire blog about that. But just making it easy for my cider fans to find this one. Cider find of the fest: Common Cider Company. http://www.commoncider.com/ We tried the two they brought, Blood Orange Tangerine and their Hibiscus Saison and they were both really great. The Hibiscus Saison was particularly good even got the attention of Mr Beerman who isn’t normally a cider drinker http://www.commoncider.com/hibiscus-saison/ Also crazy beer find (for those of you not skimming this and reading it this tip is for you) Apparently there is quite the beer selection at the Walgreens on Sunset and Vine, I know right, Walgreens? But they carry not only this cider but also some super hard to find beers. Who knew!
Okay those were beers I hadn’t previously tried, besides Cosmic but I love them so much…But now I have to remind you about my tried and true favorites always.
First and foremost is Macleod Ale Brewing Company in Van Nuys, CA. http://www.macleodale.com/ if you follow me on twitter, not even regularly just once in a while I’m probably tweeting about how I just picked up a growler, or bought a bottle, or am at their tap room cause damn it they are that good. I have yet to meet a Macleod Ale I didn’t like. No joke. EVERY single one of their beers is a winner in my book. They do no wrong. Enough said. If you haven’t been there, just go. They are super nice people, have board games and food trucks. And on the weekends, your well behaved kids can join you as you try a flight of their (pretty low ABV) delicious beers. Just go.
Also I’m such a fan of SpeakEasy Ales and Lagers http://www.goodbeer.com/. I’m so happy to see their stuff in every Bev Mo now. I’ve spoken highly of them before too. Because they are just my favorite outside drinking beer. Their Metropolis Lager, Suds Session Ale, Pop Gun Pilsner are what make weekend grilling, “weekend grilling” for me. They all also pair well with spicy Indian or Chinese or Thai food. I initially got hooked on their Scarlett Rye Red, and their Prohibition Ale a few years back, but now with the new Session series of beers, they are one of my go-tos when out shopping for myself or parties. Try them if you have not.
Never want to forget Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company. http://www.figmtnbrew.com/ Still one of my very favorites and now that they have a tap room and restaurant in Westlake, http://www.figmtnbrew.com/taprooms/westlake-village you will see me more often. Not that I wouldn’t drive to Buellton for you. I have. I just love that you’re a little bit closer.
Overall another successful annual event. The beer tasters are always nice, and willing to pose for pictures. The tents are filled with breweries who are truly excited to introduce you to their beers. Im sort of sad I didn’t notice the indoor photo booth til the line was too long to give up valuable tasting time. Next year, I’ll head there first. Maybe. After my first drink.
I love beer people and glad the summer of beer has begun even if it was ushered in under the clouds this year.