Follow the LAAW: The Next Beer

Kip here: We’re in the tail end of June here, and we have a lot of news for you.

Karma Kolsch

DSC02499First off, our second beer, Karma Kolsch, is getting kegged on monday at Ohana.  Karma Kolsch is a Thai tea infused german kolsch, and we are super excited for you to try it.  We’ve experimented a lot with different variations of Thai tea to recreate the traditional restaurant mix, and it has been a real challenge to say the least.  The traditional Thai mix has a number of unknown chemical components in that, for good reason, we don’t want in the beer we drink.  So we’ve been working with local and national tea providers to create a blend that will be both natural and sustainable.  We’ve partnered with local LA tea company Bird Pick Teas and have used a custom blend that is incredibly tasty.  We used Ohana’s custom hop to cold infuse the beer with the tea blend as well as organic fair trade Indian vanilla beans! The result is a tea- and spice-forward delight.  If you are a fan of Chai tea, Thai tea, or unique spiced beers, you won’t want to miss it.

Why Karma?  It’s simple.  We all support each other and the part of the industry John and I love the most is collaborating with the amazing people that make, write about, and drink craft beer.  We love to help and we love including people.  It’s all about paying it forward.  So when you grab a pint of Karma, think of something nice you can do for someone else.  Start simple and buy the person sitting next to you a beer.

We keg the beer on Monday, and our distributor will move it to local area bars soon.  Keep an eye on our facebook, twitter, and your email inboxes for more news about where and when you can get the beer.  We’ll be at the same places we launched Gams Bart.

20130608_Keg Washer Unpacking_0015Keg Washer + Equipment

The first large piece of equipment, the Premier Stainless Keg Washer, arrived! Check out this beauty.  This’ll allow us to clean 20 kegs an hour, and the best part is that Ohana will be able to use it too! Teamwork! The keg washer did add a layer of complexity to our budget, however.  In order to run it correctly we need a large air compressor and several component accessories.  These additional equipment requirements have eaten into our Kickstarter budget, and as a result we will not be buying a second tank at this time.  Not to worry, we will still be brewing up beer and moving it to bars near you, but in order to do this correctly, we have to take it at the right pace.

You may have noticed that Gams Bart’s carbonation was a little on the low side.  It turned out nice and resembled an English pub style ale rather than a frothy Bavarian carbonation bomb.  To help us better control this we’ve purchased a Zahms Nagel CO2 volume meter, which will allow us to measure the carbonation in our beer.  This will ensure that each beer meets the correct CO2 style requirements or our custom requirements, depending on the beer.

The Tank is currently in production.  We are still waiting for its construction and delivery so stay tuned.

Complications

DSC02496With the beer going into kegs and both bars and beer drinkers alike eagerly awaiting filled glasses, we need a way to deliver the product.  Our ABC license requires that we have a distributor, which was actually a non issue, until very recently.  Our intended distributor was recently acquired by one of the big guys, and as such our deal has fallen into the realm of complicatedness.  We’ve been scrambling to find a new distributor that both meets our needs and the needs of the retail bars, but we cannot jump to sign on the dotted line without doing research.  Signing with a distributor is a big step and one that a small brewery/brand like us needs to take very seriously.  In the state of California, breweries can self distribute, which is great for when they are small like us.  It allows them to save some money, while tightening their beers up.  For us, the ABC requires a distributor, and the distributor requires a large percentage cut of sales.  In order for us to benefit we need to make more beer. We’ll likely be signing soon and will update you on this once it’s all finalized.

Kip’s Book: Beer Lover’s Guide to Southern California

DSC04266I was recently approached by a publisher to write a book about SoCal beer! This is an incredible honor and I’m excited to be a part of the project.  I’ve been traveling up and down the coast interviewing the top founders and brewmasters in each region and taking snazzy beer porn pictures.  The book deadline is ridonculous, and I have to be done with everything – from Buellton through San Diego – by the end of August.  Mind you, I don’t just visit these places, I also need to write about them.  I’m working every night to get this done and because of this, John has become an Ace and picked up the slack.  The book is slated to be published in January and to make it even more real, it’s even on Amazon for pre-order…just to intimidate me.  Check it out!

This is the first time I’ve been paid for my beer writing, and it’s an exciting opportunity that could not be passed up.  Be sure to follow my adventures on twitter & instagram @Bierkast and like the facebook page.  When the book is done, I’ll be going on tour again to promote my favorite places – you should come too!

Thanks again everyone!  John & I will see you soon at an LA Beer Bar near you!

About Kristofor Barnes

Kip is the founder of Bierkast and co-founder of Los Angeles Ale Works. Picking up home brewing after college, he has since become an accomplished award winning home brewer, LA Beer Blogger, and author of the Beer Lover's Guide to Southern California. Kip is a graduate of the University of Southern California's School of Cinema Television. He lives in Inglewood, CA with his sciency wife Katie. Follow him @bierkast or #FollowTheLAAW @laaleworks

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