This post may be a little different from what you are used to reading. When I first heard about this event I was thinking it was going to be like most beer fests. Craft beer, as advertised, a DJ and live band in the background off to one side. Then I read it was being held at the Sutra Lounge Night Club. I was a little puzzled. I was still thinking it was going to be a Beer Fest with a DJ and live band in the background off to one side. The night club was throwing me. I’m a big white gorilla in my mid-40s and the night club scene was never my thing. I figured I’d better take someone younger and hipper than I to provide insight on the club, while I would write about the beer festival.
Being an Orange County guy, I don’t get into LA breweries much, so I was excited to see Angel City Brewery there. I did have a couple samples at this stop and enjoyed them. They had an odd assortment of give-a-ways at their station. Coasters, fridge magnets and condoms? I thought it was an odd combination and was a little nervous when my young hip co-writer picked up a condom. Not sure what he had in mind for later that evening. I will tell you, I arrived home with my honor intact and he returned to his home with the condom still intact in the wrapper. Swing and miss.
Another brewery was John Henry. They had four different beers that night. Three of them aged with oak spirals soaked in spirits. West Indies Pale Ale with Dark Rum, 3 Lick Spiker Ale with Bourbon and Colonial Cream & Brown Ale with Brandy. It was hard to pick a winner in this line up. Each one was beautiful but I would have to say that the West Indies Pale Ale was on top.
On the patio away from those damn kids and their thump thump music was Freddy Ray’s BBQ. I have to tell you, this guy brought his A game. I was given a sample of his pulled pork, a Moink Ball and some dry rub smoked bacon. WOW. It was all great. Later that night we went back and ordered two pulled pork sandwiches and moink balls. Freddy Ray’s BBQ was a hit with us.
When I attend beer festivals I’m looking to try a new beer, discover a new brewery, perhaps talk with the brewer and get an invite to tour their facility. Well, I did discover new breweries, at least new to me. I did try some new beers and I tried to talk to a brewer but those damn kids and their thump thump music was too loud. I was questioning the whole craft beer and night club match up to start with and was even more perplexed when I was there. It was not the, “Hey! You got chocolate in my peanut butter, no you got peanut butter in my chocolate!” type of worlds colliding like with the Reese’s commercials from my childhood. It was more like, “I’VE BEEN WAITING IN LINE FOR 30 MINUTES!”, followed by (if my lip reading is correct), “WHAT?” We were promised “Unlimited Pours” until 9pm. Most brewers were poured out at 7:30PM and completely packed up by 8PM.
In my mid-40s opinion, these are not two worlds that need to collide. Based on the lack of dancing, 4:1 guy to girl ratio and the complaints overheard in line, I don’t think I’m alone here. It was over crowed, loud and dry well before advertised.
Early on I was confused. What was supposed to be a beer-tasting event had the atmospheric feel of a nightclub. Beer, loud music, condoms, and mainly full of guys, made it a very typical nightclub setting. The brewery representatives and beer banner being the only signs reminding me this was actually a beer- tasting event. Your average beer-tasting aficionado will not find this to be a suitable setting to host a beer tasting event. The place had a dancing floor, but no one was brave enough to dance with a beer in hand and risk spilling it. The beer selection was nice and I enjoyed the adventure of tasting new types of beer. Unfortunately, because of the loud music, conservations with the brewers about the beers were difficult to hear. The overall setting gave it a club like feel and it took away from what was supposed to be the main focus: the beer. So if you’re looking for a unique and fun beer tasting experience, look elsewhere.