Culver City may not have breweries within its bounds (yet), but if you get off the Expo Line at the Culver City station, you can easily find good beer at multiple stops within minutes of walking.
Let me back up and add a little context (aka L.A. Beer history). Father’s Office, first in Santa Monica and then at the Helms Bakery Complex in Culver City, were beacons in the small L.A. craft beer scene. The Beer Chicks had connections there as did Bob Kunz, now at Highland Park Brewery.
Now two more additions are adding their own spin to beer in Culver City. The Cannibal L.A. sits across the street from the Expo station. Its windows look out onto the street and if seated in the right spot, you can watch train cars arrive and depart. There is a butcher shop at one end, a large cooler of bottles and cans in the bottle-necked middle, and then a small-ish restaurant with plain wooden beer taps.
The tap list was short but varied on the occasion that I was there with a sour, a pilsner, an IPA and a double IPA on offer. You can also choose from that vast selection of bottles and cans. Just make sure if you order an IPA or something better fresh, that you either know it is a new release or you can check the bottled-on date.
A brisk walk down Washington Boulevard will lead you to Coolhaus and almost right next door, Hi-Lo Liquor Market, new from Talmadge Lowe and Chris Harris. There are lots of craft items in the front of the store, but you will want to head to the cooler on the back wall to peruse beer options to stuff into a bag for the train ride home.
Again, Hi-Lo doesn’t carry a large selection, but it is well curated and I was able to find cans of Brouwerij West Belgian IPA to pick-up and was tempted by many other beers as well. By May, they also plan to launch five taps.
Make plans to venture to a new beer neighborhood like Culver City, to see how lucky we are in beer choice in this day and age.
The BEER OF THE WEEK is a battle royale. Leo V Ursus as Firestone Walker unleashes the first of their Chronology beers, Fortem. This new imperial IPA is one of the first beers that began life at L.A.’s very own Firestone Walker outpost, The Propagator. The beer also shares genetics with the Luponic Distortion series and Double Jack, utilizing new hop varietals from both the Pacific Northwest and Germany. Look for it in 16-ounce cans now.
Your HOMEWORK is to root for the Galaxy on May 6 as they take on the Chicago Fire at StubHub Center. This will be made easier because the MLS team has joined forces with the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild to have a pre-game mini-beer fest, Cheers & Beers. You get unlimited pours (likely for 2.5 hours), limited edition swag, the chance to talk to your favorite L.A. brewer and then, and of course, a hopefully thrilling game of soccer. All for just $50. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the LACBG to further craft beer in L.A.
UPDATE FROM MARCH 27, 2017: Cheers & Beers is no longer taking place on May 6.
Read the official Los Angeles County Brewers statement.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.