The LA Vegan beerfest is one of my favorite days of the year. Its always right when May is just inching toward full blown summer. I feel the folks who run the show, Nic Adler, Quarry Girl, and Tony Yanow (Tony’s Darts Away) are just good people. Three Vegan friends who had this great idea. Six years later it’s a really really great idea. http://www.veganbeerfest.com/
I have mentioned this in past blogs about this event, the beer is not Vegan, the food is. So if you are looking for a new BEERFEST to enjoy, don’t be confused and continue reading…
Full disclosure, I am not Vegan, but when in Rome…I enjoy the food from the one zillion trucks that come to this event. I also enjoy the great bands. But what I come for is the beer….So that’s what this blog is about. I didn’t want you to be looking for a review on the awesome cauliflower everyone was talking about in the beer lines. I don’t have that. But I will tell you what new beers I found!
First though, I need to mention this:
What? LA Vegan BeerFest was at the Rosebowl this year? Yah it was! And WHAT A SMART idea that was. I have to say before I even talk about the greatness that was our day that the location change was the best idea ever. From the minute we arrived and saw the enormously long line (expected, we weren’t stressed) to 1:03pm, three minutes after the gates opened we were in the venue with glass in hand… it was smooth sailing.
Are you kidding me? 3 minutes from parking lot line to the glass table? The staff at the Rosebowl knows their stuff.
Quite frankly I was just giddy to be in the Rosebowl. Thinking of all the games played there. And here we were feet on the 50 yard line drinking our first beer. The set up was great. There were food vendors all in a circle surrounding the beers that were lined up in the middle. Once again there was never more than a 2-5 min wait for a beer, and that was a few hours in. The first hour we were there I don’t think we waited 2-5 seconds for our beer.
We have started a collection of these 4 oz beauties…but was interested to see you could have purchased a full pint glass for $10 and the beer vendors would fill you up! I think or hope that was for the folks who were there not so much like me looking for my next greatest beer find, but for the folks who just wanted a brew to enjoy while eating and watching bands. However, I did see the teeny tinest girl fill up a full pint of a 9.7% beer and thought “oh dear”. I wonder how she did later in the day?
I could talk about the food, MAN there was a LOT of choices this year, but I feel there will be enough Vegan food authorities writing about that and posting. I am no authority, but I did have a fantastic avocado sandwich while there. And noted the line for the pizza was insane. So guessing that was a BIG hit.
Having done this for a few years now, and now that beer fests are ubiquitous. (No more just the 2-3 in Spring/Summer, now you can find one nearly every weekend) and the fact that we frequent bars like Tony’s and Story and Mohawk, and Boneyard Bistro. I have to say Mr Beerman and I have tried nearly every thing they are going to bring. SO when we find a new beer from an old favorite brewery or a new brewery all together that is the best part of the day.
So lets talk beer!
There were over 60 Breweries there. And they all brought 2-5 beers each.
Of course we ran to our favorites, Figueroa Mountain, Angel City (If you haven’t tried their IPA you are missing out)
And its not a LA VEGAN BEERFEST without Golden Roads,http://www.goldenroad.la/ Almond Milk Stout.
Okay now on to some others…Here were our top finds of the day. In no order. They are all over the board, from the super hoppy to the sweet…
Here we go….
If you are a craft beer drinker you know, Ballast Points Sculpin. http://www.ballastpoint.com/beer/sculpin/ You just do. It’s a great beer. But have you tried their Grapefruit Sculpin?? Its better. This had to be one of our favorites of the fest. Such a great twist on a great beer. My husband who doesn’t even like Grapefruit put this on the top of his list. http://www.ballastpoint.com/beer/grapefruit-sculpin/
New Belgium. I bet you know them, cause I bet you have drank a Fat Tire http://www.newbelgium.com/beer/detail.aspx?id=7c5b394b-d7b7-486a-ac9a-316256a7b0ee …that’s their amber. Strong choice. I am a big fan of their Blue Paddle Pilsner. http://www.newbelgium.com/beer/detail.aspx?id=5aec31cf-c34f-4344-8dbe-91a0a5db67ca
But today I was blown away by their Lips of Faith, Pear Ginger Beer. http://www.newbelgium.com/beer/detail.aspx?id=68377164-e9f3-4681-b3d0-150a28284564 This would make the BEST Moscow Mule ever. It was just a nice change from “beer” beer and it wasn’t sweet…. If you like ginger taste in anything this is a MUST try.
Hoparillio from Knee Deep Brewing, https://kneedeepbrewing.com/beers/ Okay generally this would scare me, 11% and 122 IBU…but dang it if this wasn’t one of the most well balanced perfect IPAs I have ever had. A TRIPLE IPA and I would totally order this and then another. Big Thumbs up guys. You are new to me…keep doing what you are doing and I’ll be purchasing you often.
SpeakEasy Metropolis Lager, http://www.goodbeer.com/theusualsuspects/ I have to admit this wasn’t a new find for me. I buy this quite often from my local Bev Mo. Not the cheapest 6 pk on the block, but this is a great outdoors drinking beer, and I really am a fan of all their beers so I want to support them. Even with the higher price tag I encourage you to try any of their beers, but this one particularly for folks who aren’t into super bitter, or hoppy but just looking for something that tastes like a really well made beer. http://www.goodbeer.com/
Another new Brewery for me (just opened in February) Solarc Brewing. http://www.solarcbrewing.com/ Both their beers they brought were really awesome. I hate to sound like “that guy” but they were really complex but most importantly tasty. My favorite was their Night Capsicum a Black IPA, but also their Dunes, a Gruit (ale ) was really great. Im not a fan of the Belgium style so for me to like you, you know you are doing something great (for me anyway). Awesome new find! Support them if you see them, they are new and I can see great things coming.
Noble Ale Works, http://www.noblealeworks.com/ I Love It, IPA was also in my 4-5 star range on Untappd this weekend. I love finding IPAS that aren’t overly hoppy and don’t knock me over with crazy flavors. This was a solid delicious beer.
Speaking of IPAs you can’t forget the session IPAs, (which mean less ABV or less alchohol), Oskar Blues had Pinner Throwback IPA http://brew.oskarblues.com/ob-beers/year-round/pinner-throwback-ipa/ that’s new to me at least and as per Oskar Blues usual it was delicious. I will add it to my cooler with my Dales Pale Ale, Mama’s Little Yella Pils and Old Chub.
One of the best parts of the day were the giant screens around the stadium showing the tweets we were all sending throughout the day. What’s not fun about a Jumbo Tron?
Also I have to say I love meeting people at the fest. Everyone is so nice. I don’t know if its beer people or the Vegan community or both, but we always make friends. Mr Beerman and I always wear pretzel necklaces ,sometimes cause we get hungry but really mostly to palette cleanse so the beers don’t run into one another. Many folks asked us about them. So we shared! Here are a few new buddies we toasted while sharing our pretzels.
And this group was celebrating Cynthia’s birthday. I mean come on a day at the Vegan Beerfest? That’s a gift that keeps on giving!
End of my day I stopped at my good friends at WRECK CHECK http://wreckcheck.me/ to once again point out to never ever drink and drive. I was tasting (like honestly tasting I asked for half pours most every time) and I ate a good lunch and dessert and I still blew nearly twice the legal limit. I was walking, talking, even using my phone to call CURB just fine. But way above the legal limit.
My only wish was for better taxi situations. On the way in there wasn’t really a clear path for our taxi to drop us off, and end of day there were a ton of us outside trying to call Uber and Taxis and all of our phones were nearly out of juice, between tweeting to get on the Jumbo tron, and Facebooking for Friends to see all the fun, logging beers into Untappd there was little or no battery power for taxi calling. SO maybe next year they could have some waiting toward the end of the day? Just a thought.
Overall I can’t speak highly enough about this fest. It has grown from a small grass roots kind of affair to the freaking Rosebowl, yet nothing has changed. Its still great people, great food, great bands and great beers. Its just a fantastic way to spend the day. If you haven’t been you have to go next year, and if you did go then you know what Im talking about! See you next year!!