Tag Archives: laweekly

Mark my words: 2013 will be a great year for L.A. beer

John Rockwell and Kip Larsen of L.A. Aleworks

After looking back with my year-end Triple IPA list, I decided to look forward and local, to all of the breweries that are trying to bring their beer to this black hole of craft beer that we call Los Angeles. With Kickstarters underway and older breweries stepping up their game, I tried to sift through all of the projects in process and come up with a fair list of places that Angelenos should be stoked on in 2013.

I hate doing lists because they inevitably leave someone out and though several new-ish breweries (such as Enegren, Cosmic, Kinetic) and other yet-to-be-opened ones (like Barley Forge and McLeod) aren’t on this one, that doesn’t mean that they will not be contributing in some way to this city’s growing beer culture. It just means I had to make a list because that’s how journalism works these days.

With so many new names entering the scene, it’s an exciting time to be drinking and writing about beer in L.A. Stoked to see what the next year brings!

Top 6 Los Angeles Breweries to Watch in 2013

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2012’s emerging beer style of the year: Triple IPAs!

I hate typical year-end beer lists where people just brag about the craziest good beers they got their hands on that year (it just looks like the RateBeer Top 100 anyway), so I always try to think of beer trends or emerging styles that would make for better, more year-specific lists. Last year, it was the Double Black IPA and this year, I said fuck-it to Pliny The Younger fever and found five different triple IPAs that made 2012 worth drinking.

  1. Drake’s Black Label Hopocolypse
  2. Stone Ruination 10th Anniversary
  3. Knee Deep Simtra
  4. Beachwood Brewing Dank Epoch
  5. Moylan’s Hop Craic

Note: all of my L.A. Weekly lists are based on beers that were readily available in the greater L.A. area. If not for this regional limitation, I would have included Auburn Ale House’s ZZ Hop, Alpine’s Exponential Hoppiness and any number of triple IPAs currently being made in the Midwest that I will never have access to.

Top 5 Triple IPAs of 2012: Pliny The Younger Be Damned

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Lagers for dummies in honor of National Lager Day

Sampler of lagers (and one IPA and a hef) from Sudwerk in Davis, CA.

I can’t claim to have planned it, but I did just so happen to visit Sudwerk for the first time the weekend before National Lager Day, which made receiving a frenzied last-minute email from my L.A. Weekly editor that much easier to oblige. Sure, I’ll write up a blurb about lagers. “How about a ‘Lagers for Dummies’?” I suggested. Then I word vomited everything I know about lagers. Then I edited it down. Then I found a venn diagram through Google Images that had an open copyright and brainstormed about local breweries that make lagers (there really aren’t any in L.A.). Made me kind of sad that we don’t have our own Lightening or Sudwerk that specializes in bomb lagers, but now I have even more reason to go back to Davis!

Happy National Lager Day + A Beer Venn Diagram

 

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LA Beer Week 2012 is upon us! New breweries and events!

I’ve had dreams of starting Los Angeles and Orange County brewery tours for a few years now, but then I realized that there weren’t too many worth going to up here and the ones that were existed miles apart making a bus tour impractical if not cost prohibitive. Then 2012 happened and more breweries opened–including Monkish, Beachwood and Golden Road–and I met Dale and Pat from L.A. Craft Beer Tours (after a moped ride to Rock-N-Brews in El Segundo in which I did not leave my wallet, but I did lose a side cover) who were old school beer lovers ready with a perfect-timing, god-we’ve-been-waiting-for-this business venture.

In all the muck of LA Beer Week happenings this year, I saw Pat and Dale’s company and noticed that a number of local brewery tours were being set up for the first time ever and decided to riff on it for a little bit for the L.A. Weekly. Then I dredged through the rest of the LABW events to find some good ones worth going to. Between my commentary on the increase in local breweries and a roundup of local beer events, consider this a State of L.A. Beer in honor of LABW 2012. Or don’t, whatevs.

L.A. Beer Week: More Local Breweries Bring Shuttles and Tours

L.A. Beer Week Event Picks: Ballast Point, Bacon and Beer, Beer Floats + ‘Beer University’

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Back to school edition: another interview with a badass beer chick

Paige Reilly at Mohawk Bend right after our interview.

Another beer chick I’ve been wanting to meet (aka force to be a new lady beer friend) is Mohawk Bend’s Paige Reilly. I know I am not always 100% on board with Tony Yanow’s role in L.A.’s growing craft beer community, he does have an eye for awesome people and has some of the coolest chicks in the industry working for his breweries, bars and restaurants (sup Cambira!!).

Paige is the “Beer Champion” (seriously, read her business card) at Tony’s Darts Away, Mohawk Bend and the Golden Road Brewpub, meaning she buys all the beers and organizes all the education for new staff. She is super enthusiastic about her job and sharing beer and making the Los Angeles beer scene more educated in what they are drinking. I related to her even more when I found out she is around my age and kind of got into craft beer around the same time as me through a similar avenue (got job at beer bar as a way to learn more about beer). If journalism fails me, I’ve always wanted to do something like what she does–helping run a bar, teaching others how to love craft beer.

When Tony and I first met, he asked me what was my goal in life. And I said I wanted to make craft beer a totally normal thing. I want to walk into any restaurant and store in the universe and not even think about the fact that you’re about to buy a Stone IPA or whatever it may be. I do not care about being special; I don’t care about hierarchy. I just want it to be super normal — same thing as buying a bag of carrots. And I think that’s what we’re doing — making it normal.

Read my interview with her about her Back to School Beer Classes at the L.A. Weekly:

Q & A With Paige Reilly of Mohawk Bend: Mohawk Bend’s Role in L.A. Craft Beer, Back to School Beer Classes + Paying It Forward

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If they were serving Brewdog at the Olympics, I totally would have gone

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Got super over-thoughtful with my Olympic-themed post for L.A. Weekly, which ended up being about my picks for the beers that the London 2012 Committee should have chosen to represent the U.K.’s rich brewing history. Not necessarily the best beers from Great Britain, but the beers that are well-crafted enough to exist in large quantities, drinkable enough to session with while watching gymnastics for hours on end and interesting enough to be a good representative of the new and old brewing awesomeness that goes on out there.

Click the headline below to read  some of my thoughts on beers from Timothy Taylor, Sam Smith, The Kernal, Meantime and Brewdog.

Top 5 U.K. Beers That Should be Served at the Olympics Instead of Heineken + Happy International IPA Day

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New favorite summer beer: Belgian-brewed Belgian IPAs

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Now that I have actually been to Belgium, I feel confident in this list of top 5 Belgian-brewerd Belgian IPAs, which is one of my favorite styles of beer. It’s sweet, it’s dry and there are centuries of amazing Belgian beer history brewed into every unfiltered, frothy cup. Let’s just say that drinking De Ranke XX Bitter at Moeder Lambic in Brussels was life changing. Yup, I drank the Belgian Kool Aid.

Top 5 Belgian IPAs: More Fun With European Hops

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Beer like bunnies: dark and hoppy

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In the last twelve months, the craft beer world has welcomed new flavors from a slew of emerging styles including the rye saison (Avery’s Eighteen), the wheat IPA (El Segundo Brewing’s Picket Fence) and the seasonal imperial pumpkin ale (Flying Dog’s The Fear). But no new style was more exciting for lovers of intense beers than the delicious marrying of dark malts, floral hops and high alcohol content that is a Double Black IPA.

I found four locally available versions of these monsters and made a year-end list for the Weekly.

  1. Stone 15th Anniversary
  2. Drakes Jolly Rodger 2011
  3. Uinta Dubhe
  4. Black Market 2nd Anniversary

4 Double Black IPAs That Debuted in 2011: Or, Crossing Over to the (Very) Dark Side

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