What does 2011 portend for the craft beer scene in our City of Angels? Not to sound like a Pollyanna but I believe that this will be a big year for beer. Let me tell you why I think so.
Exhibit A – Echo Park is added to the roster of L.A. beer destinations
L.A. is a large city of neighborhoods and last year saw many places add craft beer to their roster. This year will be Echo Park. Mohawk Bend promises a huge location to enjoy California beers and great food courtesy of the Tony Yanow of Tony’s Darts Away fame and then Sunset Beer Company will launch a beer store with 500 or so bottles and 5 taps in a comfortable setting that encourages beer exploration. Add that to City Sip, El Prado and 1642 and you have yourself a beer destination to draw crowds.
Exhibit B – More Local
Nibble Bit Tabby popped up on beer lists around town but I think they will be more of a presence this year as will Strand Brewing who are expanding their line-up to include an amber and an IPA. (Both of which I recently sampled and both were excellent!) Then there is Ladyface Ale Companie brewing twice as much beer in 2011 with the addition of extra brewing equipment. And I am sure that Eagle Rock will continue the hot streak of great beers and maybe GABF medals if the recent Stimulus coffee beer is an indication. Will that make Los Angeles a home for another wave of brewery openings? I hope and believe so.
Exhibit C – Growth of L.A. Beer Week
Beer events are hard to put on. But with practice, problems are seen earlier and solved faster and good ideas get honed to great ideas. And if the 3rd time really is the charm then this year’s L.A. Beer Week is going to be incredible. As more places jump aboard and as new ideas are tried the new beer consumer in L.A. will get better educated and start asking for even better beers and events. I can’t wait for more beer ice cream at Scoops! Or more beer dinners! Or more Meet the Brewer events!
Exhibit D – More Out-of-State breweries invade L.A.
Last year saw Colorado’s Great Divide Brewing enter the L.A. market. I fully expect more of the larger breweries to see the large market here and do the same. Personally, I am hoping to Brooklyn Brewing send us some Dodger Pennant Ale. Or for some of the Oregon breweries to expand their reach southward into a big market of beer consumers. I would not mind more Ninkasi or Southern Oregon Brewing.
Your homework this week is to stay safe on the roads. I will not lecture people but I will tell you that I no longer go out on New Year’s Eve. Instead, I stay at home with a bottle or two and bid farewell to the year gone by. If you do go out, have a designated driver or let a taxi do the work.
One of the bottles I hope to open as 2011 starts is the Beer of the Week, Infinium from Samuel Adams and Weihenstephan. A true champagne of beers, Infinium was made following the Reinheitsgebot, (Under the law, only four ingredients — malt, hops, yeast, and water — can be used to make beer.)
Infinium is a golden and sparkling ale with a fruity aroma. It contains 10.3% alcohol, more than twice that in a Sam Adams Boston Lager. Almost a dessert wine set of flavors that will be perfect for when the clock strikes midnight.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.