One way you will know that Los Angeles has truly arrived as a craft beer destination is when you head out to your favorite restaurant and the beer list will be as thought out and as integrated into the menu as the wine and cocktails. To the point where it will be taken for granted that a quality bistro or café would be pouring great beer.
The Yard in Santa Monica comes to mind. Another example of that is Mohawk Bend (which just opened on Monday night), and yet another that I wish to highlight is 1321 Downtown Taproom Bistro in Torrance.
This three-month old bistro with a dark wood clubhouse/library look has wine, cocktails and beer. They all co-exist peacefully. One is not superior to the other. But most importantly, this spot can do what twenty beer geek havens cannot do…Expose new people to craft beer.
And that is why it is so important for the growth of craft beer in Los Angeles that places like 1321 Downtown Taproom that know and understand beer but aren’t beer-centric succeed. These are places that the people in the neighborhood will frequent primarily for the food but then as they look at the menu they will see that Strand is brewing beer in the same town! And they may order a 24th Street Pale Ale for the first time. And once that happens, most people will begin moving away from the industrial water lagers.
Of course this is not the only way to expose drinkers to the wonderful world of craft brews but it can be the most effective because defenses are lowered when people don’t feel intimidated by a long list of specialty beers and beer geeks spouting off about which hops were used in the IPA they are drinking. Many people just want a good beverage with their meal and any restaurant that can show how well craft beer really pairs with food like the Pale Ale Mac and Cheese at 1321 can convert the casual masses to “our” side.
For the craft Beer of the Week, I suggest The Bruery yet again with a beer that is one of my favorites of the year and a bit of a departure for them. It is Batch 300 and it is stylistically a tripel, but this brew has two dominant tastes. One is the lemony goodness of the Citra hop and the other is the woody taste of oak chips. Those two flavors go back and forth like a tennis ball. It would be delightful with any type of chicken dish or a Caesar salad.
This week’s Homework is one of the simpler tasks that I have put before you. Drink an IPA. Why? Because it is the first ever #IPA day! Founded by beer evangelists and social media personalities Ashley V Routson and Ryan A Ross. And other than enjoying the hoppy goodness of the IPA, Routson and Ross suggest that you “share your photos, videos, blog posts, tasting notes, recipes, and thoughts with the world. Be sure to include the #IPADay hashtag in your posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress, RateBeer, Foursquare, Yelp, Untappd or any other social media site.”
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.
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