What is great about the beer scene here in Los Angeles is that each part of our sprawling metropolis has its craft beer bar now. From Whittier to today’s Exhibit A, El Segundo. In all of my years here, I have always driven by it or through it and never stopped. But the combination of a sunny day and a unique Meet the Brewer Event brought me to Main Street and Rock and Brews.
Birrifico Bruton brewer Iacopo Lenci had come all the way from Lucca, Italy. He brought over six of his beers for California beer lovers to sample. Lenci is not into extreme beers. He mentioned many times that he strives for balance in his creations without any flavors overpowering the palate. All of his beers are unfiltered and unpasteurized and the champagne bottles have an ingenious stopper built into the cap so that you can put your beer away and save it a bit longer.
All six beers were very unique unlike the ales that I have grown accustomed to and half were 5.5% ABV or under. The flight started with Bianca, a white beer that was spicy with a black pepper kick to it. Some citrus filtered in at the end of each sip but this and the other five beers had a commonality of being very dry. This would be a great summer sipper with friends.
Bruton di Bruton was similar in color and dryness to the Bianca but without the spicing profile. This had a wine like minerality to it and a hint of Yuzu and wheat. Stone R was next. The label of this beer is a little different in Italy. No space between the Stone and the R. But our label officials frown on beers with that name. This was my winner of the night. Big passion fruit, mango taste to it. The aroma was watery in a good way. Like the smell of watermelon can be. Truly a beer like no other.
The last three beers were darker in color but just as intriguing. Lilith is a lightly hopped bitter that really would work well to undercut something spicy or heavy food wise. The Momus had an aroma of dried fruit with an effervescent and malt forward taste. Lastly, the Dieci barley wine clocking in at 10% ABV was a smooth brew with a nice touch of sweet fruit to it.
The outdoor setting suited the beers, Rock & Brews does not look like a craft beer haven from the outside but Brandon Halvorson has fashioned a nice beer list with a wide range of choices. And the staff was beyond friendly and helpful and most importantly genuinely interested by craft beer. Sipping a beer on a sunny day with the sight of planes landing nearby is a good way to spend an afternoon.
For the craft Beer of the Week, I suggest picking up Fuller’s Honey Dew. It is the UK’s best selling organic beer. I was reminded of this beer while enjoying the Bruton beers because both are light and refreshing and great to enjoy as the weather begins to heat up. Plus it has a nice sweet edge from the honey addition. Because as much as I enjoy my hop bombs, a well made fizzy yellow beer can hit the sweet spot.
Your Homework this week is to find a new beer for the summer of 2011. Be it a pilsner, saison or ESB. Last year, Solace from Firestone-Walker was my go to for when the temps started rising and I am already on the hunt for this year’s selection. Why have a different beer for each summer? I do it so that I can have something to bring to BBQ’s or recommend to people to have their ‘fridge stocked with. Most importantly, I do it so that I can really dig into a particular beer and find different flavors that I might miss if I just have one bottle.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.