If Hawthorne is the city of the future, populated with astrophysicists, engineers, and pilots, then Los Angeles Ale Works is their Cheers. The upstart craft brewery from Kristofor “Kip” Barnes (brewmaster), Andrew Fowler (sales) and Jeff Szafarski (finance) is popular with employees from aerospace, tech, and design companies – SpaceX foremost among them – along with craft beer aficionados and Hawthorne Municipal Airport jetsetters.
Los Angeles Ale Works occupies a brick building in an industrial area with stylish interior and welcoming patio that should be a hit during summer (or anytime). It helps to have super sessionable beers like Lemongrab, a bright, citrusy, golden hued 4.6% ABV witbier crafted with Meyer lemons from LAAW friend (and craft beer advocate) Erika Bolden’s backyard.
“This beer was truly a team effort,” says Barnes. “We were really interested in getting another Belgian beer on tap so we planned Belgian Shuffle, a blonde, and Lemongrab. It’s based on one of [brewer] Lloyd [Johnson IV]’s homebrew recipes and I wanted to show off some locally sourced lemons. It just so happened that Erika Bolden has a beautiful Meyer Lemon tree in her backyard so we harvested about 150 pounds off her tree, peeled and juiced them, and added them to the beer at different stages. We also finished it with coriander and heather tips. It’s a slight spin on a traditional Belgian wit borrowing from some of the more herbaceous farmhouse beers out there. In the end you have a very dry lemon forward wheat beer with citrus-earthy notes, Belgian yeast character, and a classic noble hop presence.” They named the beer for an anthropomorphized lemon called Lemongrab from the Cartoon Network show “Adventure Time.” Consider this your call to action. Who knows, you may even meet a bear.