Local brewed beer can be found in every L.A. nook and cranny in 2018. This week, let’s travel to two neighborhoods, one Westside and the another in the opposite side of town to visit two new breweries.
Let’s start in San Gabriel at the end of Commercial Street. Ogopogo Brewing is (now) barely two weeks old, but has been seen and tasted at earlier L.A festivals. The brewery is named after a Loch Ness-esque lake creature from Canada with beers named for other legendary creatures of myth.
Like Boeman (Bow-man) their Belgian White that has a nice menthol flavor to it or for the heat of summer Anjana (Ahn-hana) Mexican lager which is both rich in malt, but light and quenching. Hop lovers will find Naitaka, a rye pale ale, Jinn IPA, and Bheki IPA.
Like our second stop, the exterior with large logo and blue waves lets you know you have arrived and leads you to a white-tiled and wooden seated space to drink in. Even in the heat, the taproom was comfortable without being chilly. You can get crowlers to go which are well-priced and look really cool.
Over in Inglewood, across the still-to-come Metro tracks is the bright orange/blue Tortugo Brewing. Grab a parking spot in their lot and walk up the ramp past the hanging barrels to a 1/2 cabana, 1/2 coolship spot that has the feel of a Mexican bar on the beach.
Oh and their logo is a tortoise. And she is not a small one. But we are here for beer. The Cristobal Pilsner was my favorite beer, but both the Kicker IPA and Pale Ale were solid as well. I also like that they make an IPA named Goonies.
I can easily imagine this being the perfect sports bar substitute. They have three bar TVs; they are near the soon-to-come dual team NFL stadium which is great for sports geeks. What is great for the beer geeks is seeing the coolship in the wild fermentation section of the brewery. Those brewing vessels will eventually yield sour beers.
Whether east or west, you will find, just off the beaten path, a brightly painted beacon where beer fans can gather.
Compare and contrast beers this week from the Figueroa Mountain Brewing empire. They are starting up more canning activity and in the height of summer, best to grab their “light” and their FMB 101 Blonde.
101 will give you the pale malt with a touch of honey. While the Light beer can will give you, just that, a light thirst quencher. Other parts of the country have “spring” and “autumn” where maltier beers can roam and a variety of beers are more easily enjoyed. In L.A., sometimes you need something light for the 90 degree weather and something lighter for the 100+ days.
PairedLA is going to be special. Beer from around the country. Chefs from around the country. Coming together in Los Angeles for a special event under the auspices of the Brewer’s Association and their excellent Chef in residence, Adam Dulye.
This will be a chance to really widen your palate of beer and food and taste what is going on in the U.S. without leaving town and going to Denver for The Great American Beer Festival or Savor in Washington, D.C.
Of the breweries listed, Angelenos will see some familiar faces such as El Segundo Brewing, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing and Three Weavers and I am looking forward to five outside SoCal in particular: FATE Brewing Company from Colorado, Wormtown Brewery from Massachusetts, La Cumbre Brewing from New Mexico, Wooden Robot Brewery from North Carolina and Port City Brewing from Virginia.
You will have to wait until mid-October for this event, but it will be worth the wait.
Los Angeles and food criticism lost a vital piece last weekend with the passing of Jonathan Gold, longtime food writer who drove all over this town to uncover great food. If I cover 1/4 of the miles in search of independent beer as Gold did for his love of dining experiences then I will feel accomplished. Raise a glass of local beer and toast the man and the beat he covered so very well.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.