It’s LA Beer Week again folks, and it began last night (09/20) with a big, sudsy bang! Dogfish Head had a tap takeover at Far Bar (in the heart of Little Tokyo, downtown LA) last night and ooh, what a treat it was! Having lived in Atlanta for a couple of years, seeing Dogfish Head tap takeovers or rareites from this legendary brewery were not at all uncommon; but here in Los Angeles, that’s a completely different story. That said, there were some things on the tap list that even I’ve never seen. Let’s dive in face first, shall we?
Thursday night Septemeber 20th, shortly after 6pm, my wife and I arrive to a completely packed house and a somewhat overwhelmed staff. Fortunately, some friends arrived before we did and snagged us a window table. I muscled up to the bar and waited, patiently, for my first tastes of these rare Dogfish Head offerings.
The Tap List: Fort (18% ABV Raspberry Beer) Old School, (15% ABV Barleywine), 60 Minute IPA, 90 Minute IPA, 120 Minute IPA, Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, Burton Baton, Immort Ale, Palo Santo Marron, Black and Blue, Raison D’ Etre, Punkin, Something special on the Randall (TBD). BTW, no, I didn’t try to sample all of these beers, but here are my notes on the ones that I did try.
1. Immort Ale 11% ABV American Ale brewed with maple and peat smoked barley. What it’s like: kettle caramel up front with a relatively creamy mouthfeel giving up to a light smokiness. A light hop backend and a slightly (and I kind of like this) burnt toast-y finish with a bit of Scotchiness at the very end. This beer is BIG and morphs interestingly when coupled with food, becoming a bit more fruity on the palate.
2. Burton Baton 10% ABV Imperial IPA aged in oak. What it’s like: A wine-y nose lending itself to burnt sugar/caramel notes on the front end. Super creamy mouthfeel with oaky notes throughout, woodsy, definitely. The hop profile reminds me not of the big, super aggressive hoppiness of most American Imperial IPA’s but more of a Belgian IPA style.
3. Midas Touch 9% ABV Spiced beer with honey and saffron. What it’s like: Floral and pale. A sweet spiceiness with a dry biscuity finish.
4. Pineapple Express (on the Randall) 90 Minute IPA brewed with pineapple, mango and fresh Cascade hops. What’s it like: It smells like sticky weed, man! All the lush, dense characteristics of their 90 Minute IPA along with Grapefruity-piney hops profile with a dried-fruit mid-palate and a spicy sugar/bitter finish. Really interesting.
5. Black and Blue 10% ABV Belgian Ale brewed with blackberries and blueberries. What’s it like: A delightful, slight metallic, barnyard nose and front end. Saturated red amber color with a wine-y and tart finish.
6. Fort 18% ABV Raspberry beer, each batch made with (literally) a ton of raspberries, 2011 vintage. Woof! This is EVEN BIGGER THAN BIG! Pale amber color. Smells and looks non-threatening, like a 5 year-old with a smile hiding a set of brass knuckles behind their back! I would almost classify this as a dessert beer. Fort has dessert wine qualites: a dense sour/dry front end, aromatic, sweet, wine-y mid palate and a tart finish. Suprisingly it wasn’t as tart I was expecting it to be, but very potent. Not sure if I’ll ever see this on tap again…
In addition to the great beers, we order some tasty, tasty burgers to help absorb some of that beer. I had the B.L.A.T. Burger: Applewood smoked bacon, avocado, and ponzu onion marmalade, and Amelia (my wife) had the Italian Samurai: Prosciutto, parmesan crisp, tempura onion rings, spicy tamarind aioli. Without a doubt, YUM! I’m definitely looking forward to more of the events for LA Beer Week and to coming back to Far Bar for more events in the future. Bottoms up!