Its April you know what that means? Beerfest Season has begun! There are several Fests over the next few weeks to take note of but drinkeatplay’s (you know the folks who brought you the 80s Prom, The Gatsby party, and the LA Bacon festival!) LA Beerfest http://www.drinkeatplay.com/labeerfest/ was the first Mr Beerman and I ever went to and it’s become an annual tradition! If you don’t know about the fest you need to mark your calendars now for next year. It’s always in April and it’s only $40 for 3 hours of partaking in over 80 breweries best beers! 85 in fact!!
This year was the 6th annual LA Beer Festival and in their words it “brings together dozens of craft breweries, food trucks, live music and DJs, as well as thousands of attendees”. The Fest has two sessions, from noon to 3pm and 5pm to 8pm.
This year the location changed from the Paramount back lot. I won’t lie. I saw the map they posted and I lamented over it as I was stringing up pretzels for necklaces. It looks squishy. I was nervous. But low and behold it was the best year yet!
The music is pumping as well as some fists (age ranges from 21- gosh I should find the oldest attendee next year) as you make friends and drink some beers. I love the attendees at Beerfest. At least the 12-3 slot has some of the friendliest folks you’ll ever meet. We happened to be with friends wearing Lederhosen so it was like we were with Disneyland characters. They took pics with fellow beer drinker, we shared pretzels from our necklaces, and I found chivalry wasn’t dead even in the bathroom lines. Thank you dude I don’t know for letting me go first.
I started my Bierlady blog after last year’s fest. In that year I have probably tried, drank, enjoyed, not enjoyed, but drank a beer from most of the 85 breweries. So I wasn’t really on a mission to drink it all. I was on a mission to find a great session beer with summer approaching, find a great new Red, and to find a brewery I have not tried but found awesome. And I did!
So first off I have to mention an app called Untappd https://untappd.com/ If you are a beer drinker, or just have trouble remembering the day after what you drank you should get this free app on your smart phone. It allows you to check into the beer you are drinking rate it, take a pic, write a tweet, toast a friend who’s also has the app or just store it so you remember what you had and if you liked it you can find it again. So I tried. Oh readers, I tried to check into every beer. But the sun was bright, you know how hard an Iphone is to read under the light of the blinding sun. So I tried and failed to check into all my beers. Probably for the best considering my Untappd is linked to my twitter (shameless plug please follow me @thebierlady) so if you didn’t know I was at a Beerfest it probably just looked like I was on a bender.
Let’s start out with some old favorites. I mean the guys who NEVER let you down. My current favorite brewery is Figueroa Mountain http://www.figmtnbrew.com. They are really fantastic. You can find their big bottles at some smaller liquor stores, or if you don’t want to go far they are at your local Bev Mo. I won’t digress too far on topic as I have blogged about their greatness before. Just saying they didn’t disappoint. The best part of FigMtn is they are brewing every kind of beer, not just the CA trend of IPAs. They DO a great IPA. In fact their Hoppy Poppy is one I can drink. Their Bag of Cats melds IPA and that old fashioned “bread” taste of your dads beer. But today I will mention their RED! http://www.figmtnbrew.com/our-beers/#danish-red-lager Their Danish Red is an award winner. Gold Medal at the 2011 and 2012 Los Angeles International BeerFestival. If you can find them on draft at a bar do it. If you can take a trip up to Buellton even better. Screw the wine, go get a beer!
Next up for our Summer outside Drinking needs the tried and true Firestone Walker Brewing Company. http://www.firestonebeer.com/ These guys have gotten pretty big over the past few years but they have stayed pretty true to their recipes. I have to take my hat off (if I were wearing one) to their 805 Blonde. For all you who can’t hand over your Coors or Budweiser, first of all what’s wrong with you? There is a time and place for Bud and if you are reading my blog you are not bowling, so if you want a really tasty clean crisp low alcohol, I could drink this for hours in my backyard beer: This is your beer! 805 Blonde!
I was giddy with anticipation to try ACE Ciders Pineapple. http://www.acecider.com/ I wondered if they would be there and they were! But insert SAD TROMBONE here when I got to their tent it was gone! Empty! With an hour left of the fest! But the very nice ACE server assured me I could find it in So Cal in June. Which is pretty much just in time for summer BBQs.
I was super happy to see Old Orange Brewing http://oldorangebrewing.com/. I found these guys at the Bev Mo Holiday Beerfest back in December, and they were still great! Find them. Not only great beers, but really cool labels. So even if you don’t know beer makes a good gift for a friend who does!
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing! http://beachwoodbbq.com/brewery.html I remembered them from last year’s festival and since we have found them bottled at our local liquor store (that has everything) Vendome in Toluca Lake http://www.vendometolucalake.com/.
Man these guys are good. I have to shout out to their RED as well. Knucklehead Red was I dare say one of my top beers at the festival. GREAT mix of an amber and a red. Only 5.7%. If you can find it get it. It will not disappoint you!
Ok on to the new…
I found Wiens Brewery out of Temecula http://www.wiensbrewing.com/. Not only really really nice people but a great Lager! I tried their Front Street Lager at 4.9% fits the bill as a great session beer, nice crisp lager. Great BBQ beer!
I think the BIGGEST find of the festival at least for me was COSMIC ALES http://www.cosmicbrewery.com/Home_Planet.html Nothing makes me happier than to find session beers with flavor. These were FANTASTIC. All of them. And look at the variety. Kudos to brewers who aren’t afraid to make a great blonde, brown, porter, Belgium.
Look Im not anti IPA if its good I will shout it out. But they don’t ALL have to be IPAs. If you can do all the different kinds of beer out there with flavor and Yah…. I will mention it…. some pretty awesome bottling, then you have my attention.
*Note the Bierlady is here to find folks who are afraid of craft beers new beers to try. So if you love your Pilny the Elder Im not here to poo poo that. More power to you. But Im reaching out to the folks who ….dammit are you still drinking that Coors when I told you to put it down? So for YOU guys, at the Yard house about to order another Bud Light. STOP! There are great beers out there that wont scare you!
Some other beers I drink at home but found their booths worth mentioning:
Goose Island http://www.gooseisland.com/ out of Chicago they have some great beers. I’m fan of their Honkers ale. It’s a tasty beer and really with a goose on it and called Honkers how could it not be good?
It wouldn’t be a beer blog from me if I didn’t mention Kona Brewing http://konabrewingco.com/. I know I know, not California and bought out by the big guys. But they too have really done a good job sticking to their brewing recipes. I guarantee. No really money back guarantee on this one. If you want a good beer and you normally drink the grocery store ones that have been around forever get a Kona Longboard. You can find them anywhere, right next to that beer you are about to buy. Yes they are more expensive but they are worth it.
I didn’t get to everyone thank goodness LA Vegan Beerfest is in 6 weeks. http://www.veganbeerfest.com/
I missed some of my favorites like Surf Brewery in Ventura, http://surfbrewery.com/beer.html Ballast Point who does Sculpin IPA that is delicious and will put you on your ass after a few. Shes says having been there. http://www.ballastpoint.com/beers/year-round/.
And my local, so local I could almost walk Golden Road Brewing http://www.goldenroad.la/ . This is hands down the most fun place to drink! They know their IPAs. I promise to find you at the Veganfest!
So in summary the Beers to Find before your first Summer BBQ.
#5 Wiens Brewery http://www.wiensbrewing.com/ Great Lager, excited to try more from them, Local CA Beer!
#4 Firestone Walker http://www.firestonebeer.com/home.php, they don’t disappoint from Double IPAs to their Blonde they’re a great brewery.
#3 Figueroa Mountain http://www.figmtnbrew.com/, Dad and Son Brew team, how great is that. Some of THE BEST Craft brew out there. Run don’t walk to Buellton.
#2 Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, http://beachwoodbbq.com/brewery.html, stood out for me in every festival. This BBQ place knows how to brew!
#1 Cosmic Ales http://www.cosmicbrewery.com/Cosmonaut.html, the one to watch. They are out of the gate strong and I think they’re gonna blow up.
I feel I have to include this. I don’t know where we got it. It was in Mr Beermans pocket when we got home. Im sad I didn’t see them. But these folks win for something. The branding is outstanding, sorry I can’t say for sure what they tasted like. I love this though!
Special Shout out thank you to our friend Wendy who normally runs a doggie daycare https://dogvacay.com/pro/wendyandriggins but took care of our “puppies all day so I could have the ever important #Mom/Bierlady balance. If you want THE BEST PLACE to leave your dog when you need to she is your gal!
Excellent work DRINKEATPLAY! Thank you again for one of the best Festivals of Beer around!