Little Tokyo is home to a bar that is changing the downtown LA beer scene.
After walking down a nondescript alleyway off 1st Street, you emerge into an urban beer oasis that is home to some of the finest craft beers in downtown. Part of the same historical building that houses the 80+ year old Chop Suey space, Far Bar has transformed itself into a leading craft beer spot thanks to its owner Don Tehara and the beer manager Jimmy Smith. Together they put out a great beer menu year round and occasionally throw amazing beer parties. Last weekend they pulled out all the stops for the annual summer party, aptly named, Beerfest.
My first festival at Far Bar was a year ago at their IPAfest – an impressive collection of IPAs from up and down the coast and a few from across the county (DFH 120!). This year Jimmy and Don decided to cast a wider net and throw a Summer Beerfest. No longer limited to the hoppiest of beers, this festival embraced beers of all styles, strengths, and locations (with a distinct west coast bias).
The day highlighted over 50 different beers being served at three separate stations. This immense variety of beer included sours, barrel-ageds, sessions, saisions, scotch ales, and many more that I could probably remember better if I sampled less that day.
Personally I enjoyed what the outdoor station was pouring:
Smog City Hoptonic — A deliciously hoppy ale that keeps from being overly malty, a trap that big hop beers can sometimes fall into. Smog City is a rising star brewery currently brewing in Tustin.
Hanger 24 Amber Saison — Keeping up with Hanger 24’s reputation as a master of classic styles with personality, this saison is true to style and refreshing with amber malts adding a uniquely sweet, complex twist.
Ballast Point Barrel Aged Scotch Ale — A really nice change of pace for a barrel-aged beer; haven’t seen too many Scotch ales in this style. It really worked as a base beer: the smokey malty scotch ale can sometimes be an overwhelming flavor, and having the assertiveness of the bourbon barrel cut through those flavors and really rounded out and balanced the beer quite nicely. For what I’m sure is a high ABV beer, it was very drinkable.
Beachwood Breaker Pale Ale — Beachwood is well known for producing top tier pale ales and IPAs. This one was no different, a superbly balanced beer that highlighted everything a pale ale should be. We are lucky to have such a strong brewery creating beers like this so close by. Between Beachwood, Strand Brewing, and El Segundo Brewing, Los Angeles has an incredible pale ale scene – we are a lucky bunch of beer drinkers!
Of course there are way too many beers to highlight individually, but I can say with confidence that many more beers were enjoyed and shared throughout the night. Jimmy really put together a fantastic event; the beer list seemed endless, and there was never a long line for a drink. Kudos to Far Bar, Don, and Jimmy! Far Bar is a craft beer bar not to be missed. Get out to Little Tokyo and enjoy this historic gem. You won’t regret it!