Since it is still early in 2015, this is the perfect time to plan your year in craft beer.
Now that L.A. has a bona fide beer scene, I propose a more detailed approach. Month by month. For example, January can be Temecula month. February, Orange County. March, Torrance. You get the idea.
The point is to make a circuit of the scene in an orderly way. Use the excellent brewery guide in Beer Paper LA to locate a group of taprooms to visit, then check out their upcoming calendar to see when they have special events like anniversary parties and the like. For instance, Eagle Rock Brewery has their 5th Anniversary later this month, so maybe re-visit them, Golden Road Brewing and MacLeod Ale Brewing Co. that day.
If you prefer fewer crowds, then counter-program and show up on a regular day. You can always change the schedule and move trips from one month to another. Nothing has to be set in Stone (or Escondido), but this simple exercise will illuminate how many places are out there to visit.
If you don’t want to go to that much internet research, then make a simple list of breweries that you want to check out. All that takes is a piece of paper and a pencil.
The Beer of the Week is Mammoth. As in Mammoth Brewing. Their Nut Brown can be found around town in 22-ounce bombers and is a gratifying beer for the slightly cold weather that L.A. experiences in January. Nut Browns are described, in general, as having descended from the British Mild and are grouped with other Brown ales but tend to be, you guessed it, nuttier than their cousins.
Your Homework is to read up on whiskey. You read that correctly. Lew Bryson, noted beer writer, has a new book on shelves called Tasting Whiskey. Why read it? Because more and more beers are being aged in barrels of all kinds of spirits, plus whiskey starts pretty much the same way as beer. So you will be gaining insight in the creation and culmination of your favorite barrel-aged beer.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.