Craft Beer Los Angeles

Allagash Curieux makes regular appearances at The Golden State.

The L.A. BEER BLAST is a weekly newsletter designed to let Food GPS readers know about what’s new at select L.A. bars and restaurants with great beer selections. Expect a new L.A. BEER BLAST every Thursday evening, in time for the weekend rush. Bars and restaurants are only listed if their selection has changed in the past week. Subscribe to Food GPS and you’ll receive the L.A. BEER BLAST by e-mail.

This is a shorter-than-usual blast. Then again, it was a CRAZY DAY.


403 West 12th Street, Downtown, 213 746 0050

Last night, Managing Partner Caleb Wines, John McGonigle, Garry Muir, Chris Schiffman and Craig Hoffman teamed up to “re-create the California wine tasting experience.” Yes, you’ll find over 40 California wines by the glass, and you’ll also find a dozen beers, half on tap and mostly from California. Here’s the opening list:


San Diego
Medium to full body with a deep golden/light amber color. Aromas begin with pleasantly strong hop flavors, balanced with a rich malt backdrop that fades into a dry finish with a lingering hoppiness.

ANCHOR BREWING, Anchor Steam Ale, 4.9% ABV
San Francisco
The classic of American brewing tradition since 1896. A deep amber color, thick creamy head and rich flavors. “Steam” was a nickname for beer brewed in primitive conditions on the west coast in the 19th century… exactly why, remains unclear.

Refreshing, gold colored lager with a balanced mouthfeel of floral, grassy hop aromas layered with malt sweetness. Lager is German for storage – lagers are “bottom fermented” and require longer aging than ales (“top fermented”).

Flagship beer that made Chico famous with a deep amber color and full bodied complex character. Cascade hops give it its fragrant bouquet and spicy flavor.

MAD RIVER BREWING COMPANY, Steelhead Extra Pale Ale, 5.6% ABV
Since 1989. A bright golden hued ale, with a medium body and crisp spicy/floral hop. A pleasing mouthfeel that goes with everything.

STONE BREWING, Levitation Ale, 4.4% ABV
A deep amber ale that defies gravity with rich malt flavors, a big hoppy character, citrus overtones (courtesy of hops and special brewers yeast) and modest alcohol.


STONE BREWING, “Oaked” Arrogant Bastard Ale, 7.2% ABV
Pours a deep amber color, almost reddish brown. Pronounced hops upfront with a sweet caramel malt base balanced with chocolate/coffee overtones.

Full bodied with a deep, copper color and aromas of pine, citrus and herbs. Classically hoppy made from 43 different hops and 65 various malts.

STONE BREWING, Smoked Porter, 5.9% ABV – 22 ounces
A deep mahogany color. This porter is rich, full-bodied and robust, it is also smooth with chocolate and coffee-like flavors complimented by a “smoky” character (specialty peat smoked malt).

RUSSIAN RIVER BREWING, Damnation Ale (Belgian), 7.75% ABV – 750ML
Santa Rosa
Brewmasters interpretation of a Belgian style Strong Golden Ale. Extraordinary aromas of banana and pear with mouth filling flavors of sweet malt and earthy hops. Lingering finish is dry and slightly bitter but very smooth.

HOPF FAMILY BREWERY, Hopf Helle Weisse, Wheat Beer, 5.3% ABV – 500ML
Upper Bavaria, Germany
Subtle flavors of banana and fruit from the special processing of private yeast culture. A smooth refreshing taste with champagne like bubbles that make it a great thirst quencher and food partner.

SCHRONRAMER FAMILY BREWERY, Surtaler Light Pilsner, 3.4% ABV – 500ML
Upper Bavaria, Germany
Tastes like a robust heavyweight beer but sports reduced calories. Floral aromas with the sophisticated taste of 225 years of brewing tradition using the rarest Bavarian “barke” malt.

426 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, 323 782 8331

Last night, Jason Bernstein and James Starr debuted their new sausages, sandwiches and beer concept across the street from Animal. Here are the tasting notes from co-owner Jason Bernstein, a passionate and well-informed beer aficionado.


Craftsman 1903 (Pasadena, CA)
It seems that people put beers into two categories. Those that are mild, easy-to-drink and rather thoughtless. And those that are extreme, flavorful meditative brews. Here is a beer that does both. 1903 is a mild “pre-Prohibition-style” lager that is full of flavor. It’s crisp and clean. There’s enough flavor here to meditate upon but it really stands out as a “session beer.” Oh – and that aroma of fresh corn is from the corn that’s added during the brewing process.

Craftsman Heavenly Hefeweizen (Pasadena, CA)
Somewhere along the line, people stopped thinking about Hefeweizens as a “serious” beer and started thinking of it as a degree away from a lemon soda. Yes, it’s light. Yes it’s refreshing . But this cloudy beer is also one of the great food accompaniers. The sweet banana nose gives way to the traditional wheat tartness resulting in an extremely well balanced beer. Try your first one without the lemon. If you really want that lemon, you can always add it later.

Craftsman Honesty Ale (Pasadena, CA)

Bear Republic Racer 5 (Healdsburg, CA)
When someone asks, “What beer will go best with the bur—“, we always reply before the question is even finished, “Racer 5.” The burger is rich. It has a lot of flavor. You need a cohesive beer with a lot of flavor that will allow the different components in the burger to shine. It should also have a good dose of hops which will provide the requisite clean finish. IPA’s are a great accompaniment to hamburgers in general but the Racer 5’s overall balance and those nice Cascade hops (responsible for the grapefruit flavor you’re tasting) really make this beer shine.

North Coast Old Rasputin Stout (Fort Bragg, CA)
The name of this place is The Golden State. Our philosophy is to showcase the best that California has to offer. We sat down and figured out what these things were. When it came to beers, our first thought was, “We HAVE to have the Old Rasputin.” And we’re so glad that it’s here.

By classification, this beer is an Imperial Russian Stout and it’s nitrogenated as opposed to carbonated (as all of our other beer are). This beer is BIG. The flavor. The nose. The finish. But instead of feeling overblown or over-the-top, the elements are rather harmonious and symphonic. Elements of coffee, toffee and chocolate permeate the entire experience but there are other flavors that disclose themselves. Sacrilegious as it seems, try it with a scoop of Tai’s gelato for another version of an “Ice Cream Float.”

Anderson Valley Brother David Triple (Boonville, CA)
Beer has always been a worldly beverage. Not just because of its pervasiveness but because while a style may develop in Germany, it may find a foothold in, say, Mexico. New styles in new places. The “triple” is a classic Belgian beer and we’re thrilled to see this style adopted by some of America’s great brewers. Anderson Valley has created a great example of this beer. It retains many of the same characteristics of its forebears but it is entirely unique. This beer pairs wonderfully with food as well as with desserts. There is a forward malty aroma that gives way to a dry grassy/ herbal palate. This pairs nicely with some of our milder sausages like the bratwurst as well as our more herbal sandwiches like the grilled vegetable and the chicken. The finish is a bit sweet so the gelato affinity discloses itself easily.

Allagash Curieux (Portland, ME)
Yeah – It’s called The Golden State and most of the stuff is from California. But the real theme of this restaurant is “stuff that Jim and Jason like.” This beer fits the bill. You don’t see it that often because, frankly, there isn’t all that much of it. Fundamentally, it’s Allagash’s Triple beer put into casks that were used to age Jim Beam but the result is substantially more than its description suggests. This stuff is just really special and we like it a lot.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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