Dream Customer Walks Into a Craft Beer Bar

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Craft Beer Los Angeles

There’s no telling who might step up to a bar and order a beer, especially in a city like Los Angeles. I asked eight craft beer professionals, who all own or manage leading establishments, “Who’s the person who you’d be most excited to see order craft beer at your bar, and why?” Their answers might surprise you.

Elizabeth Fischbach (1642 Beer and Wine)

This is hard because there are a number of people who I would be equally thrilled to serve a craft beer in my bar, from superstars to people like my mother, who because of health reasons has not been able to pay a visit. I think it would be pretty cool if Kim Gordon strolled in my bar one evening. She is sort of a hero and her work over the years has indeed nourished me in many ways. In return, to serve her a simple yet deliciously nourishing craft beer would be an honor, she already kicks ass, she has nothing to prove. Longevity and relevance I think are the connecting themes here. Craft beer and music, what else does one need in life for subsistence?

Brian Lenzo (Blue Palms Brewhouse)

[President] Obama would be good. First of all, it would get a lot of press and get people talking about craft beer. It would be good if he ordered a Southern California IPA. Beachwood Thrillseeker would be awesome.

Tony Alcazar (The Bottle Room)

I would love to have Natalie Portman come to my bar and order a nice porter. I would serve her a refined chocolate coffee porter called Natalie Port-her. We would talk about life and love and then I would remind her that I’m married and have a beautiful baby.

Natalie Gutenkauf (The Factory Gastrobar)

If you are going to serve the quintessential craft beer to one person of your choice, you want that moment to be special on multiple levels. First, they have to be someone you admire and second, you would want the ramifications of drinking that beer to have epic results beyond just bragging rights; the beer that changed the course of beer history.

I’ve had more than one brewer tell me that they get so frustrated with the craft beer drinkers now who spend more time telling them what they think about the beer, going into diuretic monologues trying desperately to impress the brewer rather than simply enjoying what the brewer has to say about beer.

Modern day craft beer hipsters could not hold a candle to the handsome beat writer Jack Kerouac and his spontaneous prose. I could envision Kerouac at the bar with a laptop (modern day upgrade), rarely looking at the screen but typing nonstop as he observes the crowd around him, reporting on what has come to be known as the craft beer scene.

The beer he would drink (and it is said he was quite the drinker) serving purely as poetic inspiration; the liquid key unlocking the door into a intoxicating new world … where Kerouac would find a new tribe maybe worthy of his Beat Generation.

In 1957 Kerouac wrote On the Road, a novel describing his travels across America. Today if he still lived, I fashion him penning a different story, On the Bar Stool, a novel-describing people who drink craft beer.

Tony Yanow (Golden Road Brewing, Mohawk Bend + Tony’s Darts Away)

Tom Waits – because he’s the coolest!

Alex P. Davis (Library Alehouse)

At the moment, the person to whom I’d be most excited to serve a beer is Dave Miller of Miller’s Bake House in Chico. I’ve recently become engrossed with making naturally leavened bread composed entirely of freshly milled, whole grain flour. Dave Miller is one of the progenitors of the modern movement towards this type of baking and the opportunity to pick his brain and shoot the breeze over a beer or two would be a lot of fun for me. Plus, I’d get to introduce him the beer equivalent of sourdough bread, true Belgian lambic.

Ryan Sweeney (The Surly Goat, Sweeney’s Ale House, Verdugo Bar + More)

I feel like a bar is firmly on the map if Ken Grossman strolled in and order a beer. I have so much Respect for Sierra Nevada and what they have accomplished, and there are very few people that impact an industry as completely as Grossman has with Sierra Nevada.

In terms of “types” of people, I love to see wine drinkers that “don’t like beer” order craft, It means we got them. Wine drinkers like to think of themselves as “experience” drinkers that drink for taste in the same way as craft beer drinkers do. The idea that they don’t like beer just tells me that have never had an opportunity or want to try craft beer because of their preconceived ideas associated with “beer drinkers”, which is more Lake Havasu then Brussels. But, when you have someone that is open to tasting, understands the drinking experience beyond a vehicle to get drunk, all you have to do is match them with the right beer and you have a craft beer drinker for life.

Joseph Kuras (Tuning Fork Gastropub)

I would definitely be most enthralled to have the one and only Vin Scully order a delicious craft beer at Tuning Fork. Mr. Scully has a special place in many Angelenos’ hearts, and mine as well. I moved to L.A. in 2005, with no money and few friends. Playing in rock bands and working three jobs just to get by; one day I found an old TV someone had discarded on the street, took it home and fixed it (somewhat) up. The only channel I could get was KCAL, and back then all the Dodger games were broadcast. Mr. Scully’s game calling not only reminded me of the late Ernie Harwell (Detroit Tigers announcer), but listening to Vin offered serenity, security, and sanity to a young rock’n roll musician who usually spent his time dreaming of rock ‘n roll fortune, fame, and excess.

The Dodgers and Vin became a part of me, as I grew to become part of Los Angeles. And I would be honored and LOVE to buy Vin a cold one.


Joshua Lurie

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

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