L.A. Beer Week 11 Recap, El Grito + Smog City at the Hollywood Farmers Market

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Beer Festival Los Angeles

Music plays a part in L.A. Beer Week, thus the hop “guitars” and pick in this year’s logo.

Another Los Angeles Beer Week has come and now gone. This is the 11th year of the celebration of all things beer across my sprawling metropolis, the City of Angels. It would take a superhuman feat of both logistics and liver strength to hit all of events they held last week, though I do have few events that I want to highlight and a few suggestions for next year as well.

Hopped LA teamed up with The Glendale Tap to host the first Hazy IPA Invitational and if you needed proof that the cloudy stuff was popular all you had to do was show up and see that the entire place was packed and bartenders were handing beer across the bar fast and furious. Arrow Lodge Brewing took home the informal people’s choice award for their Cut Loose IPA which I then sought out later in the week to test the Wisdom of Crowds.

The second spot that I would be remiss to mention is Sunset Beer Co. This stalwart of the bottle (now can) scene held a Friday night Women-Brewed Beer night and the well curated list was a varied one that had sours, IPAs, herb-based beers and breweries young and old. Plus, Sunset Beer Co. is my go-to spot to pick up the annual Unity beer which was a Double IPA brewed at Claremont Craft Ales.

Sour Friends Fest was my stand-out of the week. Cellador Ales brought together a great collection of breweries who either focus on or dabble in the sour arts. Big names like The Rare Barrel and Beachwood Blendery were pouring, but a couple smart touches really made this event work. The glassware was almost Champagne flute-esque and made the proceeding classy from the start. They also had a selection of non-sours as palate cleansers which really worked. Having the pear forward Pyrus Rustique from Beachwood followed by an Italian Pilsner (Pleasant Pils) from Highland Park Brewery was excellent.

I do have a couple of suggestions. Since Los Angeles is so spread out, I would love to see events where the breweries from say Long Beach had an event in the Valley or the Palmdale and Lancaster breweries returned the favor. A quick primer of beers from a locale that one might not be able to get to easily.

I would also like to see the Unity beer return to its roots and be representative of the city in either ingredients or made in collaboration with, say, the Dodgers or Clippers. Or if people cannot pull that off, create a beer that pairs with street tacos, or Thai food. Something to really make it a truly Los Angeles beer. I am sure that a DIPA sells and probably sells well, but this is the time, in my opinion, to really shoot for the fences.

Now take a deep breath and get ready for LABW12.

The Non-IPA of the Week comes from Four Corners Brewing in Texas. John Arango from the brewery described the beer to me via e-mail as, “On the lighter side, El Grito Lager is a perfect choice for sunny California weather. The beer balances a traditional pilsner malt with Huell Melon hops, which add hints of citrus notes and a slight floral aroma. At 4.4% ABV, El Grito Lager is a crisp, snappy, sessionable beer.” You can read more from my interview with Arango, HERE.

This week mark Sunday, June 30, on your calendar. The Hollywood Farmers Market has added a Smog City Brewing booth to their myriad of fruit, vegetables, flowers and food at their weekly market in the heart of Hollywood. Each Sunday morning from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., you will find the Torrance brewery selling six-packs and specialty wild and farmhouse ales. Add beer to your bag next to apples, cherries and citrus.

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

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Sean Inman

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

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