The intrepid L.A. Beer Bloggers group got sneak peeks into three new San Fernando Valley breweries last Sunday.
By now, beer geeks are used to finding breweries in industrial parks tucked away on side streets and Pac City Brewery is no exception. Founded by Robert Cortez, the brewery formerly known as Zombie Brewing has the task of educating the City of Pacoima, a previously craft beer free section of Los Angeles, about craft beer.
Another in-the-works Valley brewery, 8One8 Brewing, was also in attendance. Both breweries are in the growing stages and their beers will need to improve to really show people why they should forgo buying Bud Light and learn about craft beer. Then there’s their larger goal of trying to capture a larger share of the market. Hopefully that will occur, because you can see the determination and grit that was needed to get them this far.
Next stop required driving past the mammoth Anheuser-Busch plant to get to Calvert Street and the home of soon to open MacLeod Ale Brewing Co.. Right next to an auto shop is their smartly appointed tap room and brewery. Only one beer from brewer Andy Black was on tap, a Yorkshire Pale Ale by the name of The Little Spree. And it was delicious. A low alcohol British style cask ale with a lovely tinge of bitterness. It was light and refreshing and will be excellent on hot Valley afternoons.
I could see myself whiling away the hours with all of their very sessionable ales that they have in the works. All of which are named after bagpipe tunes such as the Kings Taxes and Session Gap. Owners Alastair Boase and Jennifer Febre Boase are excellent hosts, a combination of excited and relieved to be opening in little over a week, but they already have plans for spent grain biscuits and crackers (which were also great) as well as BYOC (Bring You Own Cheese) nights.
It was lovely to see a brewery fill a beer style niche that we don’t have here in LA. Low alcohol is usually eschewed for Imperial this or double that. Then adding in traditional British beers, which are rare in these parts, makes this new spot even more important. After visiting, I feel that MacLeod, along with Bottle Logic of Orange County, may be pivotal brewery openings for 2014. If you can’t make their opening party on June 22, make sure to visit them soon afterwards.
The Beer of the Week is one that I did not add to last week’s Wheat Beer article. It is Jucundus, an orange/honey/wheat beer from San Diego’s Mike Hess Brewing. One look at the photo of the beer with a big foamy head and a clear light orange color will make you thirsty.
Your Homework is to do some beer and burger research. What beers do you think pair with a classic burger or the more outlandish creations that you can find around Los Angeles? I tried the architecturally themed Blueprint burger at Plan Check on Fairfax, which included blue cheese, candied bacon, pepper cress and sauce with an equally strong a Wolf Among Weeds from Golden Road Brewing. What would you match with it?
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.