I wonder if there is anything going on in Los Angeles that is beer related? Because I need a topic to write about for this week’s column.
All kidding aside, if you are reading this and still haven’t been to one of the events that make up L.A. Beer Week then shame on you. Each night has had at least (if not more) than three events each day and night. It is a good time for beer geeks in the City of Angels. This is my review of what I have done through Tuesday, October 20. Next week; you will get a review of the last 4 days.
THE EDISON – Not normally a beer geek hangout but a trip of a place even on a relatively uncrowded Thursday night. Scott from Stone Brewing was pouring. Jay Baum had the Chimay Grande Reserve and you had your choice of three beer cocktails following the spectrum from light to
dark. You had the Enlightenment (which I missed) Then the Jack O’Lantern made with Floris apple beer, apple cider and Rye. Boy was it sweet. Interesting choice to use apple. I might have gone with cherry or raspberry beer. Lastly, the Dublin Dessert – Young’s Double Chocolate Stout with Jameson’s and a splash of honey. This warmed me up real quick. I could feel my cheeks flush. I am still not a convert to beer cocktails like I am with beer desserts. But I am ready to try some others.
LUCKY BALDWIN’S – I ducked into this venerable establishment with one goal. Try the Duvel Green. Mission accomplished. It is a really interesting beer. Looks almost neon yellow and is sparkly and refreshing. Almost a saison but I think it would make a perfect (albeit spendy) table beer. It could go with anything in my opinion. Be sure to check out their End of Week bash on Sunday night. Lots of special bottles will be cracked open for the occasion.
VERDUGO BAR – Oktoberfest on a blindingly hot day. Good thing it is nice and cool inside Verdugo Bar. For a small space, they had a nice selection of German stalwarts and some American choices to contrast with. I was pleasantly surprised to see Skyscraper bring in a brown ale called Backhoe. It was spot on. Nice and bready without the cloying sweetness you get with some brown ales. Coronado was on hand with their fall seasonal which was the first keg to go. Firestone-Walker brought Oaktoberfest. Coney Island had Freaktoberfest (more on that later). USC was holding on to defeat Notre Dame while the brave and hearty entered beer contests that required stamina and a bit of foolhardiness.
THE BRUERY – Fall and winter seasonals called my name so I gathered a couple friends and headed down to try a Danish winter warmer, Rugbrod and the second in the song series, Two Turtle Doves. The latter is made with cocoa nibs and pecans. Both wear their alcohol on their sleeve and will age very well. In fact, the label says to crack open Two Turtle Doves when they reach the 12th day of Christmas. We also got a nice tour from head brewer Tyler. He gave us updates on their expansion plans and talked about the brewing of Black Tuesday, the 19.5% abv behemoth.
FREAKTOBERFEST – I couldn’t stay as long here as I wanted. The beer list that Brian Lenzo had was incredible. I had to go the taster route but first I did have the Freaktoberfest, which pours red. From Nebraska raised free-range zombies of course. I also tried the Schmaltz 13th anniversary beer, Bar Mitzvah. That is one powerful beer. It is a sipper. If you are a fan of big beers, then you will need to give it a try. It will give you a run for the money. Coney Island dogs and corn dogs and even candy apples were on the menu. And of course there was entertainment. Large snakes, fire, nails pounded in noses, excessive face piercings. It was a Freaktoberfest.
GREEN FLASH NIGHT – Chuck Silva, brew master at the Vista based Green Flash, braved the traffic and came up to Hollywood to talk with patrons and beer geeks about his beer. And boy did he bring some good stuff. A cask of West Coast IPA, Coffee Stout, Le Freak and Palate Wrecker to name just a few. There was a Green Flash beer for every taste. I brought along two other eager beer drinkers and the winners of the night were the Saison and the 30th Street Pale ale with the coffee stout coming in third. There was also a special tasting menu with suggested beer pairings.
Coming up for your beer correspondent is a trip to 38 Degrees Alehouse in Alhambra and a beer dinner at McG’s in Chatsworth. Then comes the big party at Descanso Gardens. But I am getting ahead of myself.
The beer of the week is Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch. One of their old recipe re-creations that are always interesting. This is a great beer for the fading of the long Southern California summer.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.