The Los Angeles craft beer world hosted two world-class events since I last wrote and for those who missed out on them, I felt the need to do a quick re-cap.
In a recent column, I extolled the virtue of the blind taste test and on Saturday, I indeed tested my palate at Blue Palms Brewhouse at their Ultimate Brown Bag tasting. 24 samples in the categories of Sessionable, Award Winners, New Kids on the Block and Got Wood?
I correctly picked eight styles and was really close on an additional three. Did I guess any brewery or beer? Nope, Not a one. But I wasn’t really expecting to. I was looking forward to the reveal. To see which beers that I ranked high and low and to see if I truly gave “bonus” points because I like a particular brewery.
And to my relief, I really didn’t. I thought Eagle Rock’s Yearling was Russian River’s Supplication but I like both beers about equally so my score was still close to what I would have given knowing the brewer. I did rank the Marron Acidifie from the Bruery/Cigar City a little lower than I had from my initial review but, again, it wasn’t a huge difference.
What also struck me were the beers that I had recently had and yet could not place at all. Avery’s 18th Anniversary Rye Saison completely fooled me even though I had a bottle only four days earlier. As did the TAPS IPA, another pint I had in the last week. I could not believe that I couldn’t re-call those flavors. Which certainly are remember-able.
The point is not to kvetch though. There were some excellent beers poured including Ladyface from Agoura Hills with their Sauv Blanc Saison and the Green Hill Dry Hopped Blonde.
Then at the Surly Goat on Tuesday, Dogfish Head and The Bruery got together tap wise. (And will be brewing wise too!), for a night of two unique breweries and unique brews. I got my first taste of the Bruery’s Wanderer. It poured a bright red and had a tart and somewhat drying effect on the palate and a wonderful cherry/raspberry flavor to it. Also excellent was the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA “randallized” by Intelligentsia Coffee. The aroma of beans was powerful and it lingered into every sip. Quite the experiment in artisan coffee and beer.
For the craft beer of the week, I recommend Dogfish Head’s Aprihop which was also on tap at the Goat. One of the first craft beers that made using fruit really cool and not a gimmick to dress up a tired wheat beer. It is a balance of malt, stone fruit and hops. I prefer it over the 60 and 90 minute IPA’s and even Burton Baton. Some may cry heresy. But the fruit notes really pull this beer together.
Your homework is to take Dad out for a craft beer. Instead of some boring and repetitive gift, buy him a pint or tulip glass of beer that shows he deserves nothing but the best. Save the ties and burnt toast for some other day.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.