A beer week can be many things. Most of all it’s a celebration to beer. In Los Angeles beer bars, breweries, retail stores have offered some great beer experiences the past two weeks. For my favorite hangout Library Ale House it was just another week. They always have interesting beers and great events. For others it might have been an eye-opener to the exiting world of beer. Some might even realize that they missed the train and have to wait another year for the next opportunity. There have been some 120+ events the past weeks mainly with focus on local beer. The past weeks have been filled with brewery night, meet the brewer nights, beer dinners, pub-crawls and much more. Factory Gastropub at Long Beach had a Night of 1000 IBUs. Deschutes Brewing and Beer Chick Christina Perozzi hosted a dessert and beer pairing at The Bottle Room. City Tavern in Culver City featured a different beer every day during the two weeks that wasn’t distributed locally. The first beer was a Chardonnay Barrel aged Rye Belgian Blond from Dust Bowl Brewery paired with Filo wrapped Stilton and dried apricots. Sounds even better than the Brie and fig spread I see they have at Whole Foods Market. The Globe in Garden Grove brought the brewer from Mort Subite in Belgian Brune Reinders to LA. With him he had some beers not available in the US. Mort Subite brings back some great memories for me. 15 yeas ago I visited Brussels and right by my hotel there was a Mort Subite café. That is where I fell in love with Faro. For those of you that are not familiar with beer; Faro is not the name of a Middle Eastern mysterious and seductive woman with black eyes deep as the deepest well. It’s a sub-style to Lambic beer sweetened with brown sugared after fermentation or traditionally right before serving.
Whole Foods Market in El Segundo and Tustin hade beer tasting nights. The Surly Goat in West Hollywood hosted the Los Angeles release of Anchor Brewing Company Our Barrel Aged Beer. Library Ale House hosted the world release of Bison Brewing Baltic Porter. I had the opportunity to attend and sample this intriguing beer. Wurstkuche hosted a Trappist Beer Brunch featuring 5 Trappist beers paired with tantalizing morsels from the grill. Scoops ice cream had beer flavored ice cream. Eagle Rock Brewing had a Beer Float Showdown. Craftsman Brewing brewed a few special sour beers that they had for a beer and cheese pairing. Golden Road Brewing had it’s grand opening.
This being Los Angeles there was of course celebrities too. Celebrity chef Guy Fieri attended Brew B’Que at Santa Monica Pier to cook BBQ ribs. Beer and BBQ at Santa Monica Pier has to be world class! Firestone Walker Brewing Company together with the Home Brew Chef Sean Z. Paxton hosted an exclusive beer dinner in the Bardot at the Avalon Theater. At the same time Firestone released their XV, the 15-anniversary ale.
Does all this sound exhausting? It probably was if you had the chance to attend them all. That is the downside with a beer week in Los Angeles. The city is so darn big! It was impossible to get to some of the events. I had about 15-20 miles/20-30 km to many of the events that I wanted to go to. That might not sound like much but with Los Angeles traffic it can be hours to get there. Public transportation in this area still has a long way to go to be considered acceptable. I went to the official beer week opening at Naja’s Place in Redondo Beach with the bus mid day without traffic. It took me 2 hours for 20 miles/30 km! To get a little perspective for people outside of Los Angeles; it’s like having a beer week with events in Stockholm, Södertälje, Uppsala and Enköping in Sweden or an Øresund Beer Week covering Copenhagen to Helsingør in Denmark and Helsingborg to Malmö in Sweden. The distances when it comes to travel time are about the same as for LA Beer Week. Totally unthinkable. (Though the Øresund Beer Week sound like a pretty good ides, doesn’t it?)
Despite this I had the opportunity to attend some great events. I have Library Ale House, The Daily Pint and Venice Ale House on biking distance from where I live so I had plenty. My excursion to Redondo Beach was probably one of the better events I attended and also the 12% Import Extravaganza at Library Ale House.
If there is anything to complain about, except maybe for the size of Los Angeles it’s when the events were posted on the LA Beer Week website. I’m not among the fortunate people that can spend their days drinking beer and eating good food. I have to work to be able to drink good beer and eat good food. There were some events posted late that I really would have wanted to attend.
Even though I only had the opportunity to participate in a fragment of the events at this the 3rd LA Beer Week (and my first) I think the two weeks has been a great success. There has been some great media coverage and the hosts (breweries, bars, stores etc) have gone a great length to create something spectacular. But I think most of all the Los Angeles beer scene has taken a giant leap forward and is now getting closer to the rest of the nation.