Boneyard Bistro Wins L.A. Beer Float Showdown II

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Beer Floats Los Angeles

The only thing the bars have in common is that they all specialize in craft beer. Beyond that, it was anybody’s guess who emerge victorious in L.A. Beer Float Showdown II. On October 10, as part of L.A. Beer Week and presented by Food GPS, Boneyard Bistro, Ladyface Alehouse, Simmzy’s and Tony’s Darts Away all converged on the patio of Verdugo Bar, where they each made their best effort to capture a new crown.

Beer expert Paige Reilly led the beef float crew for Tony’s Darts Away. Boneyard Bistro touted seasoned bar manager Rory Snipes. Ladyface featured owner Cyrena Nouzille and chef Jessica. Simmzy’s contributed some of the top beer minds in the South Bay, including manager Peter Shuey. Better yet, 50% of proceeds benefited Share our Strength, which has been working to eradicate childhood hunger in the U.S. and Canada since 1988.

Each team made a single float. Everybody in attendance got a vote, with categories devoted to “flavor” and “originality,” each with a 5 point maximum. Last year, there was also a category for “presentation,” which didn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense after seeing the teams just pour beer and scoop ice cream into nine-ounce clear plastic cups. This year, most teams had at least one garnish, adding visual interest to complement what was in the glass. If there’s an L.A. Beer Float Showdown III, “presentation” could easily reemerge.


Beer Float Los Angeles
The entry for Tony’s Darts Away was “Lime Surprise,” a 100% organic and vegan house made lime sherbet served in a scooped-out lime half, accented with lime salt from Spice Station and dropped in Eel River Brewing Co.’s Acai Berry Wheat.

Beer Floats Los Angeles
When asked about her approach, Tony’s manager Paige Reilly said, “We wanted to stay very true to what our restaurant represents, which is California, vegan, healthy lifestyle, so we went with an all-organic, all-vegan, all-California craft product, and we also wanted to keep it very California like. As a result, we wanted to keep it light, fresh and something that was still summery, because let’s be honest, in California, October’s still the summer.” Especially this week.


Beer Float Los Angeles
Boneyard Bistro bar manager Rory Snipes made a float using Floris Apple, Bourbon-salted caramel-cinnamon ice cream, and a garnish of green apple coated with caramel cinnamon crumble.

When asked about his approach, Snipes said, “I started with lots of different types of ice cream, and lots of beers. We tried salted caramel gelato and Floris Apple, and it was fantastic, but slightly lacking. I decided to add some [Maker’s Mark] Bourbon. Amazing. I happen to know Nicci Pisticelli, who has an ice cream company called Drunken Udder, and she makes ice cream with liquor in it. So we had her make a Bourbon salted caramel cinnamon ice cream, and I think it turned out awesome.”

One attendee gave Boneyard Bistro a 9 and said the float “tasted like candy apple ice cream, sooo good!!” Another person awarded a perfect 10 and wrote, “OMG SO EFFING GOOD!”


Beer Float Los Angeles
Simmzy’s entry combined Brouwerij Verhaeghe Kriek – a cherry Lambic – a scoop of brown sugar-black cherry ice cream and a snickerdoodle garnish.

Simmzy’s manager Peter Shuey said, “It was a collaborative effort between our executive chef, sous chef, myself and the staff. We tasted all our regular customers on everything. We went through a half-dozen ideas and the cherry pie came up as hands down the winner. That’s basically all we did. We taste tested all the people we know and trust, and after all the feedback we got, the cherry pie was what we came up with.”

Beer Floats Los Angeles
One attendee gave Simmzy’s float a perfect 10 and wrote, “What can I say? I’m a slut for a snickerdoodle.”


Beer Float Los Angeles
Ladyface was the only team to incorporate house-made beer, courtesy of brewmaster Dave Griffiths. They went with a Weizenbock, a scoop of Belgian chocolate and brandied cherry ice cream, drizzled Picture City Porter reduction and brittle made from the wort.

Beer Floats Los Angeles
Ladyface owner Cyrena Nouzille described the approach to their float, saying, “We started with a completely different beer and [chef] Jessica came up with an ice cream that was so intense that we had to match the ice cream with our beer. I decided on our Weizenbock, which is an 8% dark, German-style wheat beer. It’s got some hints of chocolate in there, so we paired it with the chocolate ice cream. It’s actually an intoxicated cherry chocolate, using Belgian chocolate and brandy-soaked cherries. She came up with some toppings too. We took our Picture City Porter, reduced it down and made a syrup and then we put the weizenbock wort, which is unfermented beer, and she made a beer brittle out of that.”

Beer Floats Los Angeles
After two hours of scooping, sipping and spooning, it was time to award a winner, so the DJ passed me the mic. In a crowd where everyone was a critic, Boneyard Bistro racked up 573.37 points, besting Tony’s Darts Away (536.7), Simmzy’s (532.12) and Ladyface Alehouse (470).

Thanks to all the competitors, participants and of course Verdugo Bar, L.A. Beer Float Showdown II was a success. Every float received a perfect 10 on at least one ballot, everybody seemed to have a good time, and we raised some money for a good cause.

I already have some ideas for L.A. Beer Float Showdown III, which should return to Los Angeles in spring 2011, and if all goes according to plan, beer floats will never be the same again.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

[…] two winners: L.A. Beer Float Showdown II: Boneyard Bistro L.A. Beer Float Showdown I: The Golden State with […]

[…] about the now-popular beer float. There were four such creative renditions of beer floats at Food GPS’ Beer Float Showdown II with Boneyard Bistro‘s Floris Apple with salted Bourbon and cinnamon ice cream taking the […]

I was thinking that a beer float sounded horrendous but that lime sounds quite good.

It’s admirable that you have a talent for finding innovative ways to introduce exciting dishes & drinks. It’s obvious that you are very thorough & a reliable source.
You deserve an additional “pat on the back” for seeking worthy causes, such as this one.
Your Florida fan

Actually Savor the Season was quite good, and Aaron’s Jambalaya Risotto and cherry bacon were both big hits, even though tucked around the corner and a bit away from the center of things.
And on top of the beer float win, he just got his full liquor license. The Trifecta.

It’s a good week to visit Boneyard.

[…] 2nd Beer Float Showdown presented by FoodGPS and held at the Verdugo was a rousing success with a bunch of people taking the leap into the realm […]

looks like a fun time for a great cause; incidentally, I heard about Boneyard’s win @ Savor the Season (where I was at) — Chef Robins was ecstatic (and I was left craving their bourbon apple pie of a beer float!)


That’s cool to hear that Aaron was so excited about the beer float showdown win. I knew he was at another event on Sunday, but didn’t know which one. How was Savor the Season?

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lesley Balla and Caterham Business, Alltop Food. Alltop Food said: Boneyard Bistro Wins L.A. Beer Float Showdown II […]

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