From the 13th floor, you could not only see a grand view of Downtown Los Angeles, but you also had an even grander view of Extreme Beer from around the country. Beer Advocate, they of the magazine and website, finally came West and they put on a great show of well-curated craft beer with their Extreme Beer Fest. 63 brewers were spread out at the California Market Center last Saturday for two sessions of beers that fit the extreme bill.
Lines quickly formed for local (and national) favorite Monkish Brewing Co. as well as Great Notion from Oregon and J. Wakefield Brewing from Florida. The longest (most serpentine) wait looked to be for WeldWerks Brewing of Colorado.
Thankfully, there was plenty of great beer to be found without standing in line. Here are some festival favorites from my palate of view. [You will notice that once I had one great beer, I went back to the same booth for a second.]
Finback Brewery from New York brought a sharp and bitter DIPA, Polyphonic, as well as Static Breeze, a Triple IPA that was just as good. I should have brought a chair and just imbibed everything they had on tap.
de Garde Brewing from Oregon had a beautiful deep red Purple Kriek that was bursting with flavor and then a gin-barrel aged sour called The Florist was even better.
The Rare Barrel (again without a line to be seen) were pouring from four bottles. Their gin barrel Sloe Daze was nice, but the “Peter Pan” referenced Awfully Big Adventure, a dry-hopped golden sour beer aged in oak barrels with Amarillo and Simcoe hops, was just brilliant.
It was clear that the Allstrom Brothers, Beer Advocate’s leaders, have been to a festival or two because this was a really smooth experience from guides filling elevators to the big water containers to the diverse food options. Most importantly, they brought in great beer. I could write a laundry list of what I tasted, but I will save that for my Top 10 next week. Expect beers from this fest to be on that list.
The BEER OF THE WEEK is revolving and evolving. Eagle Rock Brewery is making a switch with their stalwart Revolution Pale Ale. Starting this month, the hops will rotate on a regular basis. 3056 Pale Ale 01 is the starting point with Amarillo and Simcoe. You may want to keep track of what hops are used so that you can vote for your favorite after a few evolutions.
Your HOMEWORK is to name all of the #independent breweries in California. It will take you a long while to do so because according to the California Craft Brewers Association, the Golden State is home to 900 indie breweries in 2017. That many breweries means a large economic impact in jobs from brewers to maltsters to truck drivers.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.