When I first arrived in Los Angeles from Portland, I was struck by the barren craft beer landscape. Not only was the amount of beers pretty small; the number of places that would serve that beer was also short. Back then it was a case of holding down the fort until reinforcements arrived, not knowing when that day would come.
Lucky Baldwin’s was one of those places. Co-founder Dave Farnworth passed away last week. I did not know him, but because of him and the three pubs that bear the Lucky Baldwin name, good beer did not disappear from the Los Angeles landscape.
Lucky Baldwin’s was the first place that I tried a beer called Poppyfields from this unknown (to me) brewery called Craftsman. It was the first place that I had a beer from Stone Brewing. And it was undoubtedly the first place that I had seen or tasted many, many other beers. Belgium, Germany and England all had a place at the taps. And I had a place to go that eased my Portland homesickness on those summer days when it was hotter than I could handle. I remember that every time I return.
I did return often, even when Los Angeles began to realize there was more to beer than watered down lager and started putting the good stuff on tap. Now it is easy to put Craftsman on tap. It is easy to put a funky tasting saison on tap. It is easy because people like Dave did it when it wasn’t easy. And did it, when there really was no “scene,” no beer geeks, no social media or anything. Lucky Baldwin’s educated many people about real beer for the first time.
So raise a glass and give a hearty toast to Dave Farnworth. Be it Prost or Slainte or Na zdraví or a simple cheers! You can do so from 4pm to 6pm at the Trappiste Pub location of Lucky Baldwin’s. And remember, that if not for him, you might not have it so good today.
For the craft Beer of the Week, I recommend any of the beers from a Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project. Their beers started trickling in this summer to various bottle shops and they are all excellent and the label artwork is quaint and very autumnal looking to me. My personal favorite is Field Mouse Farewell which is a spring/summer farmhouse ale (still good for our hot L.A. fall. Others to look for are Jack D’or, St. Botolphs Brown and their quadruple, Baby Tree.
Your Homework this week is to drink a stout tonight. Why? Because It is the very first International Stout Day. You may remember that we had IPA Day earlier in the year and with fall ahead of schedule in parts of the country, now is a great time to savor a dark, roasty ale. And if you are on the Untappd user, you can unlock a badge when you check in too.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.