colLAboration returned last Sunday to offer up a collection of interesting beers in an ornate theater. It was the perfect pre-Oscar party minus Billy Crystal and paparazzi.
The Belasco Theater in Downtown Los Angeles recalled the glory days of movie theater architecture. Lots of gilt and dark colors and very detailed art from floor to ceiling. Instead of Scorsese or “The Artist,” this space was filled with five different bars serving craft beer including Russian River Brewing’s infamous Pliny the Younger.
This was not your typical “beer garden” or your typical colLAboration beer garden. Yes, there was outdoor seating, but most of the party was on the very dark inside. It made for a whole different vibe than past colLAboration parties. It was great to sit up in the balcony and watch the space fill up with craft beer drinkers.
And as opposed to the Best Song category at the Oscars, there were more than two beers that could be nominated for best. The Bruery and Bootlegger were pouring Chocosaurus Rye. California Spring Beer from Hangar 24 Craft Brewery was my winner of the day. Sour Wench from Ballast Point and Golden Road beers all flowed from taps during the day. You could also catch anniversary beers from Eagle Rock Brewery and Strand Brewing Co.
I got to sample Vineaceous from Hangar 24 along with Ta Henket from Dogfish Head and High Water’s “Old and in the Way” barley wine. All three more different than the last with flavors ranging from oranges to pepper to coconut and bourbon.
Aside from my quibble with the lack of lighting inside, this was yet another smooth experience from entry to beer lines to seating. I like the experimenting with different venues even though it is probably a headache having to configure traffic flow around beer stations with each event.
Now, we have to patiently wait to see when and where the collaboration will strike next.
The Beer of the Week is a collaboration (sense a theme?) between Bear Republic/ Fathead’s/ Stone with the name of TBA aka (Texas Brown Ale). One of the great things about these trios is that there is usually one brewery that I have never tried or never heard of before. The More Brown than Black introduced me to The Alchemist and this time around it is Fathead’s of Ohio that I get to learn about. Plus, I have never had a Texas Brown ale either, even though it has a spot in home brewing history. You can find these in single bottles in most good beer shoppes.
Your Homework is to plan a visit (maybe collaborate with some friends) to the tap room at Strand Brewing Co. in Torrance. They are currently open on the weekends: Saturday 12 to 8, and Sunday 12 to 5. Tap rooms are a great place to find not only the freshest beer but also some that might not have escaped the brewery yet.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.