Hey everyone! I’m proud to present a new guest writer, Todd Blickenstaff. He is very active in the Los Angeles food and drink scene, and we’re happy and lucky to have convinced him to pen this write up for us. Here’s to many more! – John
Drinking Angel City beer this past Wednesday night at the One Eyed Gypsy gave me a strange feeling of deja vu. I went to an Angel City opening event a few years ago, when they were under previous ownership. And the last time I was at 901 E 1st Street, it was a bar called Bordello. Now under new management, the beer and bar have made great strides since then, and I highly recommend both.
As for the beer, I spoke with Angel City’s master brewer Dieter Foerstner about the two beers being served on tap. Dieter is the proud creator of the Eureka! Wit, a Belgian-style white beer featuring a pleasant hop aroma and taste. The gold-colored brew had subtle hints of citrus, and overall was light-bodied yet full-flavored. If I had a lawn, I’d want to drink this after mowing it. Also on tap was Angeleno IPA, an even hoppier beer than the Euerka! Wit. Stronger hop flavors, with more citrus (grapefruit to my palate), this medium-bodied, copper-toned beer was heaven in a pint glass.
Talking to Dieter, I could sense the pride and passion that he has for crafting beer. He’s been brewing since college, and has studied with brewers in Germany and other beer meccas. If you get a chance to visit Angel City Brewery (opening sometime in Spring), say hello to Dieter. I found him to be extremely knowledgeable and eager to share insights about his beer and process. While some brew masters can be a bit on the elitist side, Dieter was very approachable and down to earth. Having only brewed once in my life, I felt at ease asking Dieter some rookie questions.
I also chatted with Ashley Todd, who has a job title I wish I had – (S)Ales manager of Education and Outreach. Her job is to spread the gospel of the Angel City brand, an evangelist of sorts, and she was successful in converting me. I could tell she cared about beer when she showed me a Yelp-like app on her phone that she uses to rate beers. Over the past few years she had rated hundreds of beers.
Like Dieter, Ashley is a great communicator about what Angel City is working to accomplish. I’m eager for the brewery to open–the location is the historic John A Roebling building (not far from the One Eyed Gypsy), and there’s been massive remodeling done inside. Keep your eyes peeled for an announcement of their grand opening.
On the swag side, Angel City had a great selection of items, including T-shirts, key chains, and pint glasses. But my favorite was this beautiful Art Deco bottle opener. Hopefully they’ll bottle beer soon so I can try it out.
Now as for the bar, I had only visited Bordello once, maybe five years ago. The One Eyed Gypsy is a gem, just east of Little Tokyo near the Metro Station in the Arts District. Parking is plentiful, and the crowd fairly hipster-free. The décor is on the gothic side, with a mechanical fortune teller a la the movie Big. There are two skee ball games, and live music just about every night. Playing Wednesday was RT N the 44s, and a great 3 piece reminiscent of Johnny Cash. I’d never seen a stand-up bass like this before–it looked like a banjo. The band has a regular Wednesday night residency–check them out! Bartenders at the Gypsy are friendly and talkative. Besides Angel City, they serve beer and cocktails.
So if you live in downtown LA, please support these two establishments. Life’s too short to drink corporate beer – try a glass of Angel City!
Additional photos provided by www.angelcitybrewing.com