Once again, I found myself at the Pacific Gravity Home Brew club Summer Party. A tremendous collection of beers from Chipotle Stout to Yuzu Wit in celebration of 15 years of club activity in Culver City.
It would be impossible to try all 30+ beers that were lined up. But I did sample around eight in search of my personal best in show. I started with an XPA by the name of Cali Gold. It was first in my cup and tied for first on my scorecard. Nice amount of hoppiness and breadiness mixed together. The Monster Saison struck me wrong. Too sickly sweet for my taste. So I moved on to the intriguing IPA with agave. I guess I was expecting something otherworldly or at least different from the large and growing pack of IPA’s that crowd the taps and this beer was good but it was not radically different. (See the beer choice of the week.)
I moved onto the Yuzu Wit which had the same issue. If you are proclaiming that your beer has Yuzu then I should really taste it. It is such a great flavor to match with wheat and delicate beers. Then two beers lived up to their names. For lovers of chipotle and figs it would probably be heaven in a sample glass. To me the Belgian Fig fared better because the fig taste flared then lightened as you sipped. The chipotle on the other hand was over spiced but won the overall best in show on the day. So there are some spicy beer lovers out there and it may have been just right with the food.
I know that it is picky to ask for more flavor from one beer and less from another but there is, in my humbly right opinion, a solid middle ground and the only other beer that hit that sweet spot was a Trappist style beer that had loads of great malt texture with just the right hit of sweetness. Trappist style, or any Belgians, can be devilishly hard to pin down but this one was close to spot on.
I had to depart before the carne asada, pollo asado, smoked turkey in mole sauce, fresh grilled fish, smoked tongue and carnitas started flowing to the tables but there was plenty of food that magically appeared to keep the crowd fed well. There was also the added competition for lime beverages because if you start making your own beer, why not make your own sodas as well. Best of all was the snow cone tent where you could have some flavored meads poured over shaved ice. Both the mojito and coconut meads were proudly full of flavor and worked well.
This was my second Pacific Gravity Summer Party and it was as well-run as last year. Plenty of space to sit and talk about the beer in your cup and easy access to your next taster. To me it signals the start of Southern California festival season. Stone’s 14th party is next week (more on that in my next post), LA and San Diego Beer Weeks are coming up. Then the GABF in Denver. I do not put these events together lightly. These are all well-run craft beer parties.
Your homework is to start religiously checking the LA Beer Week website. Why? Because events are starting to trickle onto the schedule and it is never too early to plan your attack. This should be a great celebration of craft beer and the city of Los Angeles. No matter what, make sure you can hit the opening party at Naja’s. There is nothing better than kicking off a week long party for LA beer than at the beach.
The beer of the week is the latest release from the popular Eagle Rock Brewery. And I must say that the bar has been raised. Populist IPA is the best yet from Jeremy Raub and crew and this coming from someone who really, really liked the last special release, the funky citra hopped Limbo saison. The new IPA has six hops vying for your bitter attention and the citra comes through loud and clear. Very citrusy beer with lots of lingering bitterness. Get a growler like I did and enjoy!
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.