LABW7 – Kickoff to What’s Next

LA Beer Week is Now

LA Beer Week is officially underway and that means beer events to the max showcasing everything from local beer to colorful collaborations.  If there was ever any doubt about LA’s devotion to beer and it’s thriving craft beer culture, those ideas can be put to rest. #LABW7 @LABeerWeek

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Kickoff

LA’s biggest beer celebration got off to a rockin’ start with its Kickoff event in Exposition Park, adjacent to the Natural History Museum and the University of Southern California (Fight on!).  Featuring over 75+ local breweries, live music, access to food trucks, and information panels, the Kickoff event was packed with beer loving Angelenos.  The entrance to the fest was bookended by tickets and posh LA Beer Week glassware on one side and the Smog City / LA Brewers Guild Unity Collaboration pouring on the other.  What a great way to start your journey through the LA beer adventure.  This year’s Unity, a tart saison, is by far my favorite of the series and the label is beautiful.  Congratulations to the LA Beer Week team and the LA Brewers Guild for putting on such a fantastic event! Bravo.

Panels

I felt a little overwhelmed at a certain point and didn’t get to try as many beers as I would have liked, but that was largely due to my multitasking.  Near the tail end of the fest I led a panel on Social Media and Collective Storytelling that, I felt, went really well.  Thank you to the stellar panelists: Laurie Porter, Alex P. Davis, Jemma Wilson, and Frances Michelle.

Non-Alcohol? Non-Problemo

In addition to all the crazy beers and collaborations being poured there were also a host of non-alcoholic craft beverages being poured.  Pacific Gravity, Maltose Falcons, Strand Brewers, Yeastside Brewers and Long Beach Home Brewers manned an impressive 18 tap soda booth! Excitedly, I was able to add my own creation, a Kumquat Ginger soda loaded with over 10 pounds of kumquats, to the mix.  Conor Colvin-Hunter of 2nd Craft and Hop Heads added his infused cold brewed coffees to the mix, which in my mind blows the pants off the other cold brews currently available on the market.  Have you ever had Mosaic infused cold brew? No? Get on it! 2nd Craft is still in its infancy, but it’s bound to make waves in the coming years.  Finally, H2Ops poured their refreshing sparkling hop infused water.  For as many non-alcoholic options as there were, the inevitable puppy pile of over-imbibers was still an issue.

The Next Kick?

I loved the kickoff event, but I know the next one will be event better.  Something I’ve learned from going to beer festivals is that food is not optional, it’s essential.  While it was great to have food trucks available, the line length and location (with no shelter from the sun) may have pushed people away from getting food.  Vibrant as the LA beer scene is, the food scene is even more so…and makes a great natural pairing.  Food trucks are mobile, available, and convenient, but prices, prep-time, and lines are major deterrents.  Having local restaurants featured amongst breweries, while providing slider sized portions, could increase collaboration potential, promote local business, and may give fest goers the extra energy they need to make it to the end in one piece.  Obviously their are additional licenses that need to be pulled which undoubtedly increase cost so this option may not be a viable one. So, if involving local restaurants isn’t an option, streamlining the food truck offerings, having more of them, or figuring out a expedited delivery method, would be a great alternative.

Homebrewing is an integral part of LA’s beer success.  For many breweries, it is their crux.  Pouring home brewed beer may not be an option, but pouring soda and/or promoting the joy of learning how to make beer in your own backyard is invaluable.  The booth I poured at was great, but it quickly became evident that were enough of us to fill several booths.  I would love to see a larger space for homebrewers in future fests where they can provide more opportunities for outreach and education.  Put them to work!

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See You This Week!

Have you seen the LA Beer Week 2015 Official Guide? Have you been to LABeerWeek.org and checked out the events schedule? Get on it.  The Kickoff event was just that, a kickoff.  There are events all over the city promoting great beer and how far we’ve come in the last 7 years.  Here are a few I’ll be at.

6/22 – Pink Boots Tap TakeOver @ Three Weavers Brewing Company

4pm – 9pm – 1031 W Manchester Blvd Unit A-B, Inglewood, California 90301

From 4pm to 9pm you can enjoy some seriously awesome beer and support a great cause simultaneously.  The Pink Boots Society, an organization supporting the women of craft beer, is presenting a fantastic tap list that shouldn’t be missed.  For $20 (tickets required) you get 5 pours, a glass, and 100% of proceeds go to the Pink Boots Scholarship Fund.  Did you hear me? One-Hundred-Percent!  Someone needs to give Three Weavers a serious pat on the back for this one.

Participating Breweries:
Three Weavers/Arts District Brewing– Return of Sassy IPA
Three Weavers/Prosthetic Records – Blood Junkie Imperial Red
Three Weavers/21A – We Saw Them Coming Watermelon Saison
21st Amendment Brewery– Down to Earth Session IPA
Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co – Pine Mountain Sour Pale
Beachwood BBQ – Hopular Mechanics IPA
The Bruery – Jardinier Belgian-Style Pale Ale
Cascade Brewing – Figaro, Sang Rouge
Drake’s Brewing – Omega Session American Dark Mild
Eagle Rock Brewery – Cold Shillin’ 60 Shilling
El Segundo Brewing Co. – Mayberry IPA
Golden Road Brewing – Heal the Bay IPA
Highland Park Brewery – Bonkers IPA
Kinetic Brewing Company – Infrared Imperial Red
Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie – La Grisette
Monkish Brewing Co. – Apricot Kisses Barrel-fermented Saison w/ Apricots
Noble Ale Works – Naughty Sauce Golden Milk Stout
Smog City Brewing – Unity Tart Saison
Societe Brewing Company – The Pupil IPA
Stone Brewing Co. – Stochasticity HiFi+LoFi Mixtape
Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing Co. – Valencia Honey Wheat

6/24 – Eagle Rock Brewery’s Battle of the Bands

6pm – 1822 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

I wasn’t able to make it last year and it’s not looking hopeful that I’ll be able to go this year, but that doesn’t mean you should miss it.  The Battle of the Band event was one of the most talked about events last year and this year it should be even better.  Join the LA beer community as they rock out with musically inclined local brewers.  The event is held at the Echoplex and tickets are $10 advance or $12 at the door.

6/25 – Phantom Carriage – Cascade Collaboration Release

6pm – 10pm – 18525 S Main St Gardena, CA, 90248

If you didn’t have a chance to taste this fantastic 11% (or was it 13%) collaboration blend, you really missed out.  This was, hands down, one of the best beers being poured at LA Beer Week Kickoff event and that’s no smoke.  There isn’t a lot of information about this event other than it’s a collaboration release party showcasing a special cafe menu, partial Cascade tap takeover, and GROWLER FILLS of Muis! That’s right, you can now bring that sneaky little mouse back to your house whenever you want.

6/27 – Smog City’s Rarest of the Rare

12pm – 8pm – 1901 Del Amo Blvd, Suite B, Torrance, California 90501

That’s right, it’s back, by popular demand.  Smog City is prepping to pour some new beers and some beloved classics.  No tickets necessary, but getting hear early is, pretty much, a necessity.  That is, if you want to be able to try everything.  The family brewery is promising three bars loaded with beer and good times.  No word on food trucks, but they usually have that covered pretty well.  Also, as if you would expect anything less from Smog City and the word “saison,” expect to try a variant or two of Unity

Taplist – more to come (check their event page)

Bourbon Collaborative Evil (our 2009 collaboration with Julian Shrago from Beachwood Brewing)
Kumquat Saison (Collab with Food Forward)
Pomegranate Unity
Spittin’ and Cussin’ – sour brown with cherries (sneak preview)
Infinite Wishes
The Nothing
Bourbon O.E.
Old Fashioned O.E. (beer cocktail)
Goldie
Cuddlebug
Unity
Unity (varients)
ChipShot Coffee Porter
My Tai HopT

6/25 – The Ladies of Craft Beer @ Mohawk Bend

4pm – 2141 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90026

In addition to some of the greatest burgeoning beer culture in the nation, Los Angeles is also home to one of the most feminist beer communities on the planet.  Bravo Los Angeles! Kelly Erickson, of Girls Who Like Beer and LA Beer Bloggershas put together a showcase of some of the most influential ladies around in addition to a very special, to be announced, taplist.  A $35 ticket gets you admission, a beer flight, pizza, and very stimulating conversation. Purchase a ticket ahead of time, it will sell out, if it hasn’t already.  This is a great opportunity to meet LA’s newest female brewer (actually a returning member) Devon Randall, of the soon to be opening Art District Brewing.

Special Guests to Include:

– Alex Nowell, brewmaster of Three Weavers Brewing Co

– Devon Randall, formerly of Pizza Port and now heading the upcoming Arts District Brewing

– Lauren O’Neill, Beer Buyer at Mohawk Bend

– Sarah Bennett, beer writer (among other things) for a variety of So Cal publications including Beer Paper LA, LA Weekly and more.


 

There are so many more.  This is not even a small scratch on the iceburg.  Please go to LABeerWeek.org and checked out the events schedule for more info.  Hope to see you out and about!

Cheers!

Kip

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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