On July 26, people filled Blue Palms Brewhouse to help choose a champion in the first L.A. Beer Float Showdown. Everybody who bought a punch card contributed to 826LA and was able to judge two floats from each competitor according to flavor, originality and presentation, with flavor counting the most. After over two hours of pouring and scooping, The Golden State + Scoops defeated BottleRock LA + MILK by a count of 930.5 to 781.
The competitors didn’t reveal their flavor combinations until the showdown. Macy paired Allagash Curieux with MILK’s vanilla bean ice cream, a combination that he’s refined at BottleRock LA. He also teamed St. Bernardus Abt 12 with coffee toffee ice cream. A misbegotten beer delivery left Macy short on beer. Thankfully, Blue Palms Brewhouse proprietor Brian Lenzo pitched in with a keg of Samichlaus, a rare Austrian doppelbock that clocks 14% ABV. Macy was a total champ about the mix-up and powered through the competition with MILK sales manager Jesse Furman by his side.
The Golden State’s Jason Bernstein and Scoops’ Tai Kim paired The Bruery’s Berliner Weisse with Raspbery & Yuzu Sorbet. For their second seleection, they went with The Golden State’s signature float made with North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout and brown bread gelato. They took the float to another level by infusing the brown bread with Old Rasputin reduction.
After the showdown, I looked to the scorecards to see why the contest went to The Golden State + Scoops. The winners had higher scores when it came to flavor and were clear-cut favorites in terms of originality. The controversial “Presentation” category was pretty much a push. If there’s another L.A. Beer Float Showdown, expect that category to be MIA.
The anonymous comments didn’t count toward victory, but still helped to tell the tale. All of the floats were fairly well received, but Old Rasputin + Brown Bread seemed to be the day’s favorite float. One person called that float “the quintessence of what a beer float should be.” One attendee proclaimed, “Ich Bin Ein Berliner.” I also read, “Really liked the boldness of the St. Bernardus/coffee toffee.” Lastly, one person wrote, “Me + Samichlaus = I’m drunk.”
After expenses, the event raised $1350 for 826LA, the Echo Park-based non-profit writing and tutoring program for kids 6-18, founded by author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari.
Thanks to everybody who helped to make the showdown a success, including the voters, the competitors and of course Brian Lenzo. Several scorecards featured requests for a second L.A. Beer Float Showdown. Good idea, and how about having more competitors? 8 oz.? Simmzy’s? You think you’ve got what it takes to snatch the title from The Golden State and Scoops?