You have probably noticed that the L.A. Beer Blast has some new entries on the list and you might have said, “Why hasn’t the beer guy reviewed these new places?” But I am behind for a good reason. Los Angeles has become quite the mecca for really good beer bars (and there is the whole traffic thing too.)
First, we head to Hollywood and the just opened Stout on Cahuenga Boulevard, which is the hotbed for great beer and food. BoHo is a hop, skip and jump away on Sunset and Blue Palms Brewhouse and Essex House bookend Hollywood Boulevard.
Stout has a great wood and copper look. There is a green beer bottle chandelier over one of the two rounded booths. The curved bar and the 30 tap handles are particularly cool. All of the staff members that I talked to were both knowledgeable and friendly. One small detail that I noticed was being asked if I wanted water with my beer. It is very important if you are planning on having more than one beer or strong beers to have water to help keep the body hydrated and to clear the palate.
On to the beer list itself, they cover a gamut of styles and have quite a few foreign beers. It would be an excellent place to bring a friend who is new to beer because they have solid examples of several styles. I was also pleasantly surprised to find Old Speckled Hen and Old Rasputin on nitro draft. I went with the Hen and it was very nice. The creaminess adds a dimension to a beer that can be a little on the boring side in bottles. On the downside, the prices seemed a little high on some selections, the Budweiser was taking up three taps and the choices though solid were not adventurous. But that will be remedied by the addition of the beers that the affiliated Hollywood Brewery will produce in the near future. Oddly, their burger selections are more edgy than the beer selections. The location is fabulous though. You spend your Sunday at the Farmer’s Market and when you are finished buying all the fruits and vegetables in sight, you can tuck in for beer and a burger.
Now we cross all the way over to Santa Monica and the 5th Amendment Alehouse. It is tucked away from the main crowds that flood the Promenade. This time I dragged my willing accomplice Richard to give me a second opinion. I thought it was casual and friendly and he thought it was small and intimate. Hannity and Colmes we are not. Richard “enjoyed the 20 taps and the diversity of the selection of beers.” The owners Dan and Eden were very friendly and really want to do what they can to serve the people of Santa Monica really good beer. To me a great beer bar will serve local favorites but will also spice things up with seasonals and beers deeper in a brewer’s catalog. I had an excellent Avery Piglet, which really outshone the Dogfish Head 90 Minutes that I had after it. But they also had The Bruery Hottenroth Berliner Weisse when we visited and now they are pouring Mission Blonde and Telegraph’s Golden Wheat. They also have an exotic array of burgers and sausages that I have not seen on any one menu.
My promise is to try to keep up with this scene but I sincerely hope it becomes too big for me.
Your homework and your beer of the week are one in the same. Firestone Walker’s 13th Anniversary Ale. It will be in bottles that will probably bolt out of the door as fast as they can be stocked so you should wander over to Blue Palms Brewhouse this Friday, November 20. It will be an anniversary to remember. You can sample Anniversary 10, 11, 12 and 13 and decide which is your favorite year. Plus there will be a full selection of Firestone and Nectar Ales available.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.