Blue Palms Celebrates + Skyscraper Brewing Expands

  • Home
  • Beer
  • Blue Palms Celebrates + Skyscraper Brewing Expands
Craft Beer Los Angeles

Martin Svab, Brian Lenzo and Clay Harding toast at Blue Palms 3rd Anniversary Party

Hollywood’s Blue Palms Brewhouse wasn’t the first craft beer bar/restaurant to open in L.A., but it was part of the initial wave. And with its ideal Hollywood Blvd. location along the Hollywood Walk of Fame –– Yvonne DeCarlo (aka Lily Munster), among others, has a star on the sidewalk out front –– and a veritable Wall of Fame of 24 draught craft beers (plus a beer engine) inside, it quickly became one of the city’s few go-to bars for great beer when it opened its doors three years ago this past August.

Every year since then, proprietor Brian Lenzo stages an increasingly larger anniversary party that overflows into the lobby of the Music Box Theatre next door and the adjacent parking lot, and he brings out, or flies in, some special and rare kegs. The venue’s third anniversary party on August 13 upped the ante again with an eight-hour mini-festival. Aside from the main bar, there were four outside pouring stations with six to eight taps apiece, a jockey box row, a pig roast, a dunk tank (with Blue Palms employees on the drop seat) and live R&B (that would be rhythm and brews) music from The Firkins.

Among the standout draughts were Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA, Lagunitas Barrel-Aged Cappucino Stout, Lost Abbey Saison Blanc (with green raisins and white pepper), a rare (for L.A.) keg of Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, and The Bruery’s Blue Palms 3rd Anniversary Beer, a vanilla sugar sour.

“There is no way we could’ve expected that in three years the craft beer movement in L.A. would have grown the way it did,” Lenzo said, looking back over the time since Blue Palms was launched. “When we opened, most people didn’t really understand beer. Los Angeles has always been a pretentious market – high-end vodka and expensive wines – and beer wasn’t considered worthy.

“Then, with the beers and breweries that we and other local good craft beer bars starting introducing people to, customers started learning about barrel-aged and sour beers, and it just started to grow,” he continued. “Our customers became our own PR.”

Lenzo laughed as he recalled that some patrons at the Blue Palms 3rd anniversary bash actually complained to him that he had too many great beers on tap. “It’s funny how just three years ago, people were saying there was no craft beer to drink in L.A.; now they’re saying there’s too much?”

Any advice to would-be publicans contemplating opening their own beer bar in town? “Don’t get on the bandwagon for the money,” Lenzo cautioned. “Do it for the passion – because that’s what keeps the craft beer movement alive.”

Mark your calendars for next year’s celebration.


As the L.A. beer market expands, so must the breweries that serve it. To that end, four-and-a-half-year-old Skyscraper Brewing of El Monte is relocating over the fall to a much larger facility in the City of Industry, reports owner/brewmaster Phil Sutton. “In addition to more room for brewery expansion and operations –– 44,000 square feet compared to the current 8,000 –– the new facility will allow our affiliated distribution company to operate much more efficiently and productively,” he says.

With the move, Skyscraper will immediately double its brewing capacity with a new 30 bbl brewhouse, 30 and 60 bbl tanks and a new automated bottling/labeling line. Because of the move, Skyscraper will not be open to the public over the next few months and will cease brewing.

“We expect to re-open in early 2012, once our production is back on line,” Sutton explains. “Keep an eye on our new website and Facebook for an announcement about our grand re-opening festivities and our planned tasting room.”

Tomm Carroll is a feature writer and the L.A. correspondent for the Celebrator Beer News, the oldest beeriodical in the United States. He has also written about beer for the Ale Street News, Los Angeles Times and Entertainment Today, and is an experienced Beer Judge in homebrew and commercial competitions. An avid beer drinker, enthusiast, collector, writer and traveler, he drinks locally and globally. He can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Comment