Dry River Brewing brewer Naga Reshi has been busy in his Boyle Heights brewery down the street from a fleet of ABInBev trucks. Beers with ingredients like tamarind and sea salt or that use wine barrels might draw the most attention, but it might just be the yeast that steals the show as this Downtown L.A.-adjacent business ramps up production.
I spoke with Reshi about the three of his beers that were on tap at a soft opening and found out that he has been collecting special yeasts from locales such as Brazil and Alaska, and even stranger, has utilized a sour strain that was found right in Boyle Heights. That is not the end of Dry River’s local terroir. With the help of a local community garden, hops are growing as well.
Of the beers sampled, I enjoyed their New Year’s Eve Wheatwine the most. This beer had a distinct cinnamon note that melded beautifully with the malt and wheat. This wasn’t a warming beer, but it had hallmarks of a winter beer nonetheless. Lady Roja featured a strong apple taste accented with salt and just a slight touch of sourness to create a wine-like finish. The Copper Witch hoppy farmhouse ale was too minerally and thin for my taste, but had a nice earthy hop character to it.
Dry River doesn’t have huge capacity so your best bet to ensure that you get to sample their offerings is to join their Collectors Club. That way you get three beers each quarter plus heads-up when new beers are available, plus other membership perks.
The Beer for this Week comes from another brewing newcomer. Glendale’s Brewyard Beer Co. has drawn closer to opening and when they do, you would be wise to order their Black Sunrise. This dark lager combines the easy drinking simplicity of a lighter beer minus the light color. There is a lovely balance of dark malts in this beer that impart a roasted and almost coffee-esque note without sacrificing effervescence.
Your Homework is to watch out. Naga Reshi from Dry River Brewing has to dodge ABInBev trucks as he bikes to brew and consumers will have to scan taps more carefully once SABMiller gets swallowed into the ABInBev machine. Bars have a plethora of Elysian, Goose Island and Golden Road beers flowing on tap, but little from the little craft outfits. Stores that seem to have a reduced selection of bottles and cans may need to be asked, cajoled or argued with to stock the craft beers we know and love. ABInBev is under investigation by the Department of Justice for anti-competitive practices, and if you know their business history, they are not averse to shady tactics to compensate for people not buying their beer.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.