Looking backwards, 2014 was a major growth year for craft beer in Los Angeles. Just based on the metric of brewery openings alone. But what does the next year have in store for SoCal beer geeks? The answer is, plenty.
Beachwood Brewing is adding a Blendery. The efforts of this nascent brewing enterprise won’t truly be felt until a few years have passed and younger and older beers can be blended for the full effect, but there will be new beers scheduled throughout 2015 to taste and if the past is any presage, medals at the Great American Beer Festival will follow.
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.‘s Venice outpost seems to be on track again and it will make a major impact when it’s presidential location at Lincoln & Washington opens. Expect epic beer events and release parties that will showcase their award-winning beers. And maybe some L.A. only special beers.
Another long gestating brewery that should open its doors this year is Brouwerij West in San Pedro. When the Shelton Brothers Festival took over Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles, many saw the BW location for the first, but probably not the last time. It will be great to have their beer made here and in a larger supply.
Three Weavers opened late in the year and they have already started bottling. The Messenger, their cirtusy IPA collaboration with Noble Ale Works, was the first beer off the line and will hopefully be followed by their ESB (my personal favorite) soon, as well as the rest of their core line-up.
Further on the horizon is the planned brewery from Brian Lenzo of Blue Palms Brewhouse fame. Due to the City of Los Angeles and their love of brewing red tape, this may be too ambitious to add to the 2015 list, but hope springs eternal and it would be nice to have a bookend to Angel City.
By this time in 2016, new trends will have emerged, unexpected changes will have surprised us and hopefully, more local craft beer will be pouring in Los Angeles.
Your Beer of the Week comes from Cismontane Brewing. The third iteration of The Mesa, their beer/wine hybrid experiment. “Batch #3 is a blend of 20% Grenache Blanc grapes, 20% Chardonnay grapes with 60% pilsner malt.” These ingredients formed the backbone for a blend of wine and lager yeasts to work on. Beer and wine combos started popping up in 2014 and I think they will grow this year.
To start the year off right, your Craft Beer Homework is to pick a style of beer to explore all year long. I would suggest something that is both plentiful and also not what you normally drink. An ESB would be nice. Or a Saison? Even cider would be something to consider as an exploration of the fermented arts. Find out what the flagship beer for that style is. You might find a British ESB or a Dupont Saison to start with to acclimate your palate and then try all the variants that you can find. It will make 2015 a treasure hunt all year long.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.