I had the privilege to represent BierKast at the second ever Brew at the L.A. Zoo last Friday. Thanks to a knucklehead breaking down on the freeway, I had a miserable two hour drive from Orange County. I arrived at the L.A. Zoo just shortly after the doors opened. The sun was setting but its heat was felt until I climbed into my truck for the ride home just after 10pm. The Brew at the L.A. Zoo promised over 20 local/craft breweries and a chance to see the animals. They delivered on the breweries, but not all the animals were cooperating. Maybe they were staying indoors out of the heat.
After getting my wristband and entering the gates I received my taster glass filled with drink tickets and two tickets to the Laugh Factory. There were a couple of breweries that were on my short list, and I quickly began studying the map while listening to the Oom Pa Pa sounds of The Gemutlich Trio. I was looking forward to sampling I&I again, but they were all the way in the back with the elephants. I couldn’t wait that long, so I stopped at Black Market Brewing Company for a sample and a chat with Shaun McBride, Brewmaster and Production Manager. They are celebrating their third anniversary and have already surpassed last year’s production. Way to go Black Market. The 4 oz. sample didn’t last long; it must have evaporated in the heat. I had to stop for another sample. I made a wrong turn on the way to the back and ended up sampling Karl Strauss, Firestone Walker, and Cismontane. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a wrong turn. Back on the path to elephants.
I made it to I&I, and Eric, the Proprietor, was not at the booth. Oh well, another sample and a promise to return later. Noble Ale Works and Bayhawk were in the back hanging with the elephants too. I needed to head to the front to meet BierKast photographer Brett. I met up with Brett and was introduced to his brother and his mom. The Brew at the L.A. Zoo had been going on for an hour, and people were still flowing in fast. We headed back into the crowds for some more samples and a chance see some of the animals along the way.
We ended up talking with Wes Pingree, ‘Duke of Pale,’ the L.A. Regional Sales Manager for Firestone Walker, and he made The Godfather an offer I couldn’t refuse. He wants BierKast to go to the Firestone Walker Brewery in Paso Robles for a tour and to brew a batch of beer with their Brewmaster. What an amazing offer. Stay tuned for more details on this.
We headed back to I&I, and to my surprise what I originally thought was a horrible location ended up being the spot to have. The lines for I&I, Nobel Ale Works, and Bayhawk were an hour long. I met up with some other friends and headed for Crispin & Fox Barrel Cider Co. We waited in line about 45 minutes, and it was well worth it. I’m not one to pass on beer and wait in line for something else, but I’m glad I did. What a wonderful hard cider. Maybe it was the fact that it chilled perfectly on such a warm evening, or maybe it was the sweetness of the apples. What a refreshing drink. I enjoyed it so much so that just today I went to BevMo to pick some up for a camping trip I’m taking next week.
After Crispin we had time to sample Hanger 24 and Golden Road before heading to the exit. Along the way we saw many of the breweries running dry and packing up. By the time we got to the exit event officials were shutting down the breweries and pushing the party animals toward the exits. During the night I was upset at the long lines, but as the night ended and I was starting my truck for the drive home, I was thankful that I was only getting a 4 oz. sample every 45 minutes. All in all, it was good event, and I left with an offer to brew beer at Firestone Walker and a new friend, Crispin & Fox Barrel Cider Company.