Beer epicenters like San Francisco and Seattle already host their own beer weeks. This year, the L.A. beer scene finally advanced enough to justify its own L.A. Beer Week, filling 11 days with events at 35 establishments and drawing participation from over 50 breweries. Jay Baum, one of the event’s organizers, recently spoke about the motivation and goals for the “week,” which culminates on October 24 with a massive beer blowout at La Cañada-Flintridge’s Descanso Gardens.
Baum is a beer importer-distributor who teamed with Dennis Hartman (Paulaner USA). Their friendship and passion for beer dates back over two decades, when Hartman was one of the owners of Crown City Brewery and Baum was a brewer. Other important people who have sacrificed time, effort and money to make L.A. Beer Week a reality include Ryan Sweeney and Brandon Bradford from Verdugo Bar, Stone rep Scott Wiegand, Tim Lynch from Total Beverage Solutions, Rich Rippee from Wetten Importers and Tomm Carroll from The Celebrator.
Josh Lurie: What united the organizers?
Jay Baum: We have a vested interest in the local beer scene,” says Baum. “The whole point of this is A) support all the local breweries, which never get enough attention, B) promote the local establishments and C) promote all the other breweries that are available on the market. With this huge population base, a lot of people are unaware at the opportunities they have.
JL: Why was the time right?
JB: We decided to take the ball and run with it…A few other people had been discussing this in the past…we’re all people in the beer business and very dedicated. I work the West Coast and had just come back from Seattle Beer Week. That motivated me to start calling everyone.
JL: What kind of response have you received?
JB: Very positive. The list of individual events is over 50, and I’ve heard of another 10 that are in the works. The two anchor events are Oktoberfest at Verdugo on October 17, and then we have our signature L.A. Beer Week Beer Fest on October 24.
JL: What will the Descanso Gardens event involve on October 24?
JB: 50 plus breweries at the 5-acre rosarium, which is beautifully landscaped with running water, shade trees and roses. Food is catered by the Patina Group. We’re hoping to have some home brew clubs talking about what they do and hopefully recruiting some new members. Some of our media partners will hopefully having some samples of their wares. Unlimited tastes of all the various brewery offerings, some good food and a little bit of music.” The event runs from 3 PM – 8 PM and includes unlimited four-ounce pours of beer. Festival tickets cost $40. BUY TICKETS HERE Food isn’t included, but grilled meat and seafood, sandwiches, salads and snacks will all available for purchase. Cash only. Proceeds benefit the Spero Foundation, a non-profit whose mission is to “raise awareness and capital for charities that bring hope to people in need.