Recently, I looked at the latest L.A. County Brewers Guild map and wondered how many of these breweries have I visited. My personal visitation number comes in at 58 of 68. Which is a pretty good number if I do humble brag myself. Especially considering the vast amount of miles from the northernmost outpost to the county’s southernmost edge.
Both State Brewing Co. and Lincoln Beer Company recently opened taprooms, so December will be a good month to tick those two breweries from Gardena and Burbank, respectively, off your own list. I strongly suggest that you, too, reach that 85% attendance mark as well (or exceed it). Now is also the time to start evaluating more of our ever-growing team of breweries.
First, both you and I need to re-visit some of the places on the map. There are many breweries that I have visited, but just once. I may have had their beers in bottles and cans or on draft elsewhere, but the taproom is where you can see the full list and really dive into the deeper cuts on brewery resumes.
Once that admittedly large task is complete, it is time to rank. Now I don’t mean rank in the traditional term. I am not a huge fan of listicles. [Be forewarned that my Top 10 for 2017 is coming next month.] My ranking is a bit more holistic and includes warmth of taproom, friendliness of servers and brewers, as well as what beers they are better at than others. My rankings also include notes such as “great for a birthday party” or a “good fit to take parents or visitors to Los Angeles.”
This time next year, we can see what our percentages are, with other new breweries added.
In a past post, I talked about Bootlegger’s Brewery expanding. My BEER OF THE WEEK comes from that Orange County brewery. Once you get past the many fonts on the 16-ounce can label, you get a really well done Pokin’ the Bear NE IPA with loads of juicy flavors swirling in the slightly murky orange-hued beer.
Your weekly HOMEWORK is to drink some Japanese beer and there is a new place where you can do it. Harajuku Taproom is now open in Culver City, serving up small plates, beer and sake. This is not just any beer; founder Adam Gutentag is friends with Bryan Baird of eponymous Baird Brewing so expect a tremendous tap list of Baird beers to pair with each plate.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.