There is an amazing amount of beer out there to buy. FOMO (fear of missing out) is not only real, but basically unavoidable.There are ways that savvy beer fans can keep track and not miss out.
First and hardest tip, you need to narrow your search parameters. Don’t try to corner the entire market. What brewery produces those sought after gems that you want? Then find out when and where the beers will be sold. Is it brewery only? Only being sold at a ticketed festival? Is it being released Wednesday afternoon while you are at work? You will need to put those beers to the side to realistically go after what you can actually get.
Second, set a budget. 16 beers could set you back over $100. Special barrel-aged bottles can go for as much as $15 for a twelve-ounce bottle or $30 for twenty-two ounces. Filter out the beers that you just can’t afford or decide to splurge on one or two great bottles as opposed to hazy IPA 4-packs.
Next, find websites that keep track of can and bottle releases. Both The Full Pint and Hopped LA have round-ups of what is being released in the next couple of weeks. You can also sign-up for the Sunset Beer Co. newsletter and every Friday the week’s beers will come straight to your inbox. Your local bottle shop may do the same thing.
Divide and conquer. Los Angeles is big. I am not getting from Burbank to Santa Monica easily and vice versa. Find friends in different sections of SoCal. You cover the Valley and they can cover the South Bay or Long Beach. Then you can meet up for a bottle share in the middle. Or you can buy tickets to the LA Beer Week Kick-Off, make all the breweries come to you. You may find that rare beer being poured at designated times from the brewer’s booth.
An even easier method for scoring rare bottles is to join the club. Though not as prevalent as in the past, some breweries still have special offerings for those paying a yearly fee. The Bruery was and still is a prime example and Cellador Ales has their own club that allows you to buy bottles before the general public.
Finally, and probably the hardest thing to do is to admit defeat. Even if you could somehow bend time and space and your wallet to acquire all of your dream beers, you would probably have to drink every day, all day to go through the amount of beers. So, enjoy each can/bottle/crowler to the fullest.
When you think of Firestone Walker, you might think of 805 on a sunny day, the hop burst of Luponic Distortion, or their yearly Anniversary blend. What you may not think about is Saison. For the Non-IPA Beer of the Week, I urge you to head to Firestone Walker’s Venice location and pick up a bottle of Napa Saison from their Reserve series. Take a Belgian Saison and age in wine barrels. Then if you want, pair it with their Napa-fied version of Parabola.
Your beer event schedule for the weekend should involve art. Graffiti will be painted in Downtown LA as the British artist PREF takes his turn designing the art for the latest hazy IPA from Boomtown Brewing. PREF fashions “words and common phrases through unique multi-layered murals.” And Crazy Hazy will meld hops into a multi-layered hop experience.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.