B.A.M. Fest is back! On October 9, Santa Monica becomes the epicenter of all things craft. There will be music, galleries and food trucks all creating something beautiful to hear, see and taste, with pride, but more importantly for us beer nerds is the fact that there will be 24+ craft breweries in attendance.
Martin Svab of Naja’s Place and Tom Kelley of the Library Alehouse have gotten quite the roster of breweries to serve up artistic malt/hops/yeast combinations. It is a who’s who of Southern California: Ballast Point, Eagle Rock and Cismontane, plus newcomer Smog City and stalwart Belgians like Duvel, Maredsous and we’ll count Ommegang there too. You will be treated to what amounts to a preview of the coming L.A. Beer Week which starts the very next day.
I particularly like events like B.A.M. fest for a couple of reasons. First is that with so much to look at and listen to, you don’t get the typical fast beer drinking mindset of grabbing a beer and then immediately standing in line “waiting” for your next beer. You slow down a bit. Listen to a couple songs from the band that is playing or wander through a gallery. Secondly, you get to make parallels between the brewer’s art and the musician’s art or the artist’s art. Which painter is more “hoppy” and which is more “sour”? Each one builds from scratch and imagination. Just using a different palate is all.
Tickets cost $35 a person. You receive a B.A.M. Fest tasting glass with unlimited sampling privileges, a day filled with live music, and the opportunity to visit artist studios and galleries, plus you get the warm fuzzy feeling of helping out the 18th Street Arts Center with your entry fee.
For the craft Beer of the Week, I recommend Strand Brewing’s 2nd Anniversary barrel aged braggot (which you will see at B.A.M.) and Craftsman’s Sour Grape. Both are adventurous beers that will push your taste buds in different directions. A braggot is a blending of mead and beer so you should get some nice honey balanced out by the malt and hops of the beer. Sour Grape is not only a great name but a cool way to be able to compare wine and beer in one glass.
Your Homework this week is to check out the recently opened Sunset Beer Co. in Echo Park. Tucked into the corner of an L shaped strip mall, you will find a nice selection of great beer in coolers on one side and a clubby atmosphere with dark wood and bookcases on the other side where you can have beer on tap. The space reminds me of a classy hotel bar. I can’t wait to see the growth of this new beer spot.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.