Barclay Perkins 1941, Old Toasty and Jahr of Porter. With names like that you know you are in the realm of MacLeod Ale Brewing Co. You may hear bagpipes as you approach their tap room on Calvert Street. The stout, dark mild and “keeping Porter” are part of MacLeod’s expanding seasonal collection.
In a short while, their cask specialties have started popping up on tap from Simmzy’s to The Oinkster and are now distributed by Artisan Ales and they are taking over the space next door to give them bottling and brewing space.
The new beers continue the malty, British tinged tradition that MacLeod’s has brought to Los Angeles. One difference, the Jahr is their biggest beer yet, clocking in at 7.3% ABV. Of the trio, Old Toasty (from brewmaster Andy Black’s homebrew archives) was my favorite. Super creamy with a great medium roast malt taste. Try it on cask. Carbonation would really ruin it. The Jahr is similarly expanded by the nitro dispense.
This is one brewery where the way it is served is extremely important. To the point where Black vented his disappointment with the sparseness of cask taps around town. Cask care is an art and science that is deeply British and it can be hard to translate that culture to our own. Especially when we are so hop obsessed.
Owner Alistair Boase has even taken blindfolding people new to the beer to eliminate the inherent bias against the dark side. No matter how many eyes are open, one sip will open your palate.
The Beer of the Week is my choice for the Oscars. Or in this case Oskar’s. It their Pinner Throwback IPA. A below 5% ABV session IPA with hints of “tropical fruits, citrus juices, pineapple and spice berry” that you can drink when the celebrities start walking down the red carpet and still drink when the final award of the night is handed out. OK, maybe not, since the telecast usually lasts for a day or two, but you get the idea.
Now that the frenzy surrounding tickets for the Firestone Walker Invitational has died down, your Homework is to get out your credit cards and buy tickets to a couple relatively new events on the craft beer calendar. Firkfest came out of the gate strong last year. Farmers Park in Anaheim is a great location to showcase the innovative beers on cask. Plus this year they’ve added a PowderKeg chili festival. Pasadena is getting into the festival game with a Lucky Baldwin’s hosted event that has the imprimatur of the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild and a hoard of local breweries. If you want to taste the spectrum of L.A. beer without all the driving, then this might be the festival for you.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.