Los Angeles has many iconic boulevards that traverse long stretches of the Southland. Sepulveda, Figueroa, and Sunset all cut through different parts of the city. Add to that San Fernando Road, AKA the Craft Beer Corridor.
17 miles of road stretch from Eagle Rock Brewery in Glassell Park and Frogtown Brewery all the way up to the aptly named San Fernando Brewing Co. This being L.A., you will have to jog around the 5 Freeway and around new road construction projects – I’m looking at you Burbank – but the prize is to visit eight breweries that dot the way.
First, pick up a trail guide and punch card at one of the participating breweries: Eagle Rock, Frogtown, Brewyard Beer Co., Trustworthy Brewing Co. (formerly Verdugo West), Simmzy’s Brewery, Henson Brewing Company, Lincoln Beer Company and finally San Fernando Brewing. Second, visit all of the taprooms. Preferably over a stretch of days. Buy a beer, get the card punched and when completed, you get a fancy Craft Beer Corridor glass. As well as the satisfaction of a job well done. At least until new breweries join the trail.
Breweries are not the only “rest stops” along the way. You can find good beer at stalwarts like The Glendale Tap who along with a plethora of taps have pop-up food vendors and many special beer nights. In next-door Burbank, the Empire Tavern, though new, has staked a claim to your time and beer money and who will be hosting the Craft Beer Corridor Tap Takeover and Beer Trail launch party on November 3rd at 6 p.m. The brewers and owners from all eight breweries will be on hand to talk about their beer.
Set your Waze to San Fernando and start hashtagging #CraftBeerCorridorLA.
Compare and contrast beers this week from Washington State. The reason being that our NW neighbors, due to proximity to the hop fields, create quite a bit of fresh (wet) hop beers that is just not as big a “thing” down here. Fremont Brewing has been doing a series called Field to Ferment each year with single-hop beers that you should track down as the supply whittles down and the freshness fades. This year’s event focuses on Centennial, Simcoe and Citra. The can label will not tell you which is which, but if you look at the laser etching at the bottom of the can, you will see the hop name and canned date. We are still in the 90-day freshness window, but that is closing.
Coming up this weekend, is un dia especial. [Sorry for the horrible Spanglish.] October 21 is Dia de los Cerveceros y Cocineros!! A mix of homebrewed craft beer with food, music and art. The SoCal Cerveceros homebrew club will be handling beer duties, and if you haven’t been to a homebrew party, well, the creativity is something to behold. You will probably find hazy IPA, but I would strongly suggest looking outside the box for possibilities like “mango habanero IPA, spicy tamarindo saison, café de olla stout, black saison coffee stout, and even a blueberry mojito IPA.” You might just be tasting the recipe for a future brewery or a style that will be the talk of 2019. All Proceeds from the $40 at the door or $15 Designated Driver will go to support the Vision, Mission & Program Services of El Centro de Ayuda and Plaza de la Raza.
I am going to end this post on a downer note that beer fans can turn positive. Eagle Rock Brewery has been hosting an excellent Women’s Beer Forum for many years but it came under frivolous attack in the form of a toxic masculinity lawsuit. They are asking for help to not only defray their cost from this sad affair but to also pro-actively try to close this legal loophole. So please head to their Go Fund Me page HERE to help.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.