Four Upcoming Food Events in L.A. You Don’t Want To Miss

Duck Taquitos (Red O), Boat Noodles (Pa Ord), L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade, LA Beer Week 2012 – thanks to Caroline on Crack (Clockwise L-R)

It’s that time, again, to present the essential food events going on the next few weeks around the city. It’s a wonder that I don’t do these more often, because I often want to highlight events that I don’t have time to write about before and after they occur.

So here’s a reminder, then, to check back on the blog whenever you can (on a full size browser, not mobile) for my Google Calendar-ready events list I’ve been maintaining in the right-hand column, underneath my avatar –>.

Without further ado…
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Top Ten Picks For L.A. Beer Week: September 20 – 30, 2012

Photo credit to djdphotos on Flickr

Beer cocktails. Beer floats. Sour beers. All-you-can-drink beer. Beer crawl set to music. Crappy-for-happy beer trades. Prickly pear beers from all over town. Los Angeles is comin’ up beer. And in its 4th year, not only is LA Beer Week bigger and better than ever, it’s also more unified. The camaraderie around the LA beer community is unmistakable – so get ready to drink some tasty brews while learning a lot and meeting some cool people along the way.

After perusing the 10-day schedule, I’ve come up with a few events I’d personally want to attend. With the LA beer scene at the strongest it has ever been, there’s bound to be some (or a lot of) conflicts during this extravaganza, but all we can do is do our best, right? While you’re at it, you might as well check off the four quandrants of this LA Beer Week Bucket List. Then, bring your four stickers to the LA Beer Week Festival on September 30th and get a free bottle of the official beer of the week, Unity, from Eagle Rock Brewery – a play on a traditional Berliner Weiss, yet jazzed up with a touch of rye as well as red and green prickly pear. You’ll also get to enter a drawing for tickets to the BAM Fest on October 6th in Santa Monica.

(If you don’t complete the bucket list, never fear – it’ll be on draft at select retailers throughout Los Angeles and Orange county as well as at the LA Beer Week Festival itself.)

Without further ado, here are my Top Ten of LA Beer Week:

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3rd Annual LA Beer Week Festival at Union Station

LA Beer Week Festival | Photo credit to Atwater Village Newbie on Flickr

There’s quite a lot going on this weekend – or more specifically, this Sunday, in Los Angeles. It’s almost too much to bear. I’d love to go fishing with chefs, taste all of Abbot Kinney (I’ll be there at the tail end) and visit Malibu for Los Angeles Magazine’s The Food Event – but it just can’t be done. They’re all not only on the same day but during the same time blocks and in the far reaches of the city.

Instead, I’ll be toasting the finale of the 3rd and best LA Beer Week to ever have existed. Technically, it should be called “LA Beer Weeks” since it now spans over 14 days, but I guess that might sound funny.

At Union Station from noon til 4 on Sunday, 70 breweries will be on hand to pour 4 ounces in your little LA Beer Week Festival mugs. The pours are unlimited – and that’s all you need to know. Be sure to visit your favorite breweries first before those babies are gone. There will be rare, festival-only beers offered so be vigilant. And like last year, this festival will likely be sold out, and very soon. No tickets will be available at the door, so reserve your $45 ticket before you miss out!

Go Metro!

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

12 – 4 PM

LA Beer Week Festival
Union Station
800 N Alameda St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Today’s LA Beer Week Pick: Musical Beer Crawl

Inside El Prado | Credit to poketo on flickr

LA Beer Week is back and better than ever. Be sure to peep the official site for the full run-down of events. And while this 3rd annual is so exciting because it’s so huge (I’m seeing about 5-10 events every day, all over town!), this makes it hard to decide between all the stellar happenings going on.

It kills me that I won’t be able to go on this tonight (Dine LA is this week, too), but this beer week event is definitely a shoe-in. The Musical Beer Crawl combines not only beer and food, but music too in only the neighborhood that could: Echo Park.

The reasons why you should go:

  • Stone Brewing Co. Norm Stackhouse will be on-hand to talk beer & present a special Stone flight at City Sip (western-most stop). Happy hour will be going on as always (5:30 – 7 PM).
  • $5 show at The Echo w/”super secret” beer keg tapping
  • $1 off beers and no corkage at brand-new Sunset Beer Company
  • 10% off records at Origami Vinyl
  • 10% off at Masa, for Chicago deep dish lovers
  • 15% off beer in pub area at Mohawk Bend
  • 2-for-1 slices at Two Boots
  • Lot 1 Cafe has a keg of Weinhenstephan’s Hopplosion & 4 taps pouring $4 pints. Buzz Bands LA has lined up Joey & Andy Siara of the Henry Clay People and more to play.
  • “Super secret, divine” keg of beer at El Prado. Origami‘s record club will be going on here.
  • The Short Stop will have a special keg at discount for crawlers only, plus $4 drafts 5 – 10 PM. Word has it it’s a big Golden Road Brewing Company debut! Yay! (eastern-most stop)

The night will commence at 5 PM. Just print out your Musical Beer Crawl Passport and bring it with you, tonight. Remember to keep an eye on the respective business hours of each participating venue so you don’t miss out!

Have fun!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

5 PM – ???

Website

Passport (print!)

Map

Sunset Boulevard, from Mohawk to Sutherland
Echo Park, CA 90026

Why L.A. Beer Week? Highlights From and Reflections On A Celebration of Suds

Dogfish Head Sah'tea Paired With Salted Cod Brandade at The Foundry on Melrose

It’s a beautiful thing when you can find a beer – or, what’s more, an entire beer culture – right in our own backyard. And the latter became increasingly evident as L.A. Beer Week events were curated and celebrated around the city. It was a beautiful thing to witness Angelenos walking away from events, bars and gatherings ever more appreciative and knowledgable about suds the past ten days.

Now, there were plenty more people with better stamina than I who attended probably double or even quadruple the number of events that I did – and props to you whether you’re also press or a beer distributor by trade. Whatever the degree of which you decided to participate, one thing was certain: Beer Week is an exciting time to be in Los Angeles. Here’s why:

  • You may witness a celebrity chef’s decision to revamp his beer program. Nobody is exempt from learning – nobody – and at the first ever Dogfish Head beer dinner held in Los Angeles, Chef Eric Greenspan confessed that his appreciation for craft beers has been renewed since his college brewing days. Now, at The Foundry on Melrose, you can find a highlighted craft beer for the month paired with an entree expressly by Chef Greenspan, himself.
  • You get to experience the evolution of a dessert that just a couple years ago never even existed. Yes, I’m talking about the now-popular beer float. There were four such creative renditions of beer floats at Food GPS’ Beer Float Showdown II with Boneyard Bistro‘s Floris Apple with salted Bourbon and cinnamon ice cream taking the prize. A close second was Simmzy’s cherry pie rendition … oh, was it so hard to vote for the winner!!
  • Hot Knivez's Brugge Rodenbach Cherry-Ciabatta Grilled Cheese with The Bruery's Oude Tart
  • It’s a great occasion to try an L.A. beer you’ve never tried and/or visit an L.A. pub you have never been to. Beer is really hot in L.A. right now, and Beer Week is only helping. One only needs to reference the entrance of The Bruery a couple years ago and Eagle Rock Brewery one year ago into the foray. Or the opening of Nibble Bit Tabby just last Spring. Naja’s Place, the place where all beer taps go to heaven, ranks up there as one of the only reasons I will visit the South Bay.
  • You get to experience food-beer pairings that blow your mind. Like the Dogfish Head Sah’tea paired with Chef Greenspan’s Smoked Cod Brandade with potato, cauliflower and eggplant. The juniper berries, black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and black pepper in the Sah’tea were highlighted so well against the salty brandade (yet tempered by the cauliflower and eggplant), I’m salivating just thinking about it again. Another mind-blowing pairing was the Hot Knivez‘s Brugge Rodenbach cherry-ciabatta grilled cheese paired with The Bruery’s Oude Tart, a sour Red Ale which had dark fruit and oak notes that matched the Rodenbach-soaked cherries in the homemade ciabatta so deliciously. The Hot Knivez-Bruery Symposium at Verdugo Bar was another delightful event.
  • Floris Apple, Bourbon-salted caramel-cinnamon ice cream and Green Apple Coated with Caramel Cinnamon Crumble Beer Float
  • You may have dibs on the first batch – of something – to exist or hit the West Coast. The beer industry knows that L.A. Beer Week is the place to be, so you best know it, too. The Delawareans at Dogfish Head sent over its 10% ABV Burton Baton, an oak-aged old ale and Imperial IPA blend, to Los Angeles just for this event.
  • You get to try rare beers you have never tried – or even heard of – before. File this under Category: Obvious. Yesterday, at the culiminating event of all L.A. Beer Week events, the Union Station party in which you got unlimited 4 oz. pours for $40, you could taste a Samuel Adams sour ale in one sip and Craftsman Triple Sage in the next – with Victory Brewing Company’s version of Saison du Buff in the next. Be sure to walk around the party with at least one beer geek on hand (and mini stein in the other) to expedite the best recommendations and tastes to your lips.

It’s an exciting time for beer right now in L.A., and with this being only the second beer week – and a super successful one – I can see the excitement only growing. And brewing. 😉 I’d like to thank everyone I’ve bumped into along the way for making it a great few days to suds it up. There’s really nothing like great beer and great company.

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October 7 – 17, 2010

Stay tuned for 2011 dates

L.A. Beer Week

Venues all over Los Angeles

Scoops Debuts Beer Ice Cream Flavors Today

Potential Flavors for Beer Week

We’re in the middle of LA Beer Week and that means it’s time for Tai Kim’s beer flavored ice cream to debut. Yes – that means that today, perfected versions of flavors like Unibroue Quelquechose With Cherry, Guinness Tiramisu, Chimay Premiere With Apricot, Firestone IPA Union Jack With Mocha, Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat Ale With Hazelnut and The Bruery Autumn Maple With Molasses will be at Scoops on Heliotrope for all beer and ice cream enthusiasts to enjoy. (Though, I’m told that The Bruery’s Autumn Maple may be too hard to acquire to make this flavor, unfortunately.)

Tai Scooping Ice Cream

A couple of weeks ago, a few bloggers and I were invited to preview the making of these special flavors. It was so fun to see Tai at his machine, pouring in his special concoctions and, of course, the beer. Curious for more? Be sure to pop on over to Caroline On Crack’s post on this preview for her great videos of the action. My personal favorite was definitely the Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat Ale With Hazelnut. What can I say? The beer flavorings are very subtle – but I I’m a sucker for hazelnut, and it was one of the most potent flavors and the wheaty tangerine was a nice spin on things.

So head on over to Scoops today, and find out one of the sweetest ways to celebrate LA Beer Week. I’m curious myself to see what flavors actually came out of all that experimentation.

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Beer flavors debut Monday, October 11, 2010

Mon – Sat, 12 – 10 PM
Sun 2 – 6 PM

Scoops
712 N. Heliotrope Drive
Los Angeles, California 90029
323.906.2649

The Food GPS L.A. Beer Float Showdown Redux

Golden State Beer Float | Photo credit to Umammiart on Flickr

If you love beer and ice cream, this is your event. The second Beer Float Showdown returns for Beer Week and it happens on Sunday at 5:30 PM at Verdugo Bar in Glassell Park. It’s always been one of my favorite places to enjoy a pint, so it’s only fitting they be hosts to this (plus many other LA Beer Week events).

While the first put two teams head-to-head (The Golden State and Scoops vs. BottleRock LA and MILK), this better-than-ever Food GPS event will feature a total of four teams! Beer Float Showdown newcomers Boneyard Bistro (Sherman Oaks), Ladyface Alehouse (Agoura Hills), Simmzy’s (Manhattan Beach) and Tony’s Darts Away(Burbank) will face off in a Valley vs. South Bay battle of sorts. Every attendee will judge based on flavor and originality. So that’s 4 beer floats for $25 in advance or $30 at-the-door. Half the proceeds go to Share Our Strength, an organization that battles childhood hunger, so you can feel good knowing you’re helping out a great cause, pint-for-pint and scoop-for-scoop.

Feeling like more than just beer and ice cream? The Manila Machine and Mandoline Grill food trucks will be there, Verdugo style, so you can line your stomachs with some savory.

So get your tickets in advance and save yourself 5 bucks – or throw Share Our Strength a couple more and just show up at the door. I’ll see you there!!

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

5:30 PM

$25 in advance
$30 at door

Verdugo Bar
3408 Verdugo Road
Los Angeles, CA, 90065
323.257.3408‎

Kicking Off LA Beer Week: Pairing Cheese With Russian River Consecration Sour Ale

Funky Cheeses In Question: Which can stand up to Consecration?

It all started out with a contest. Hot Knivez, the beer-loving, meat-hating blogger-chefs in town, sent other bloggers and me a proposal. Said the email in my inbox: Pair cheese with beer. And write about it. If we love it, the winner with the best post will get to attend a private beer-cheese pairing symposium at Verdugo Bar with The Bruery.

Consecration Under Investigation

I love a challenge, and beer and cheese are two of my favorite things. Factor in Verdugo and The Bruery, and I am yours. I am a native Wisconsinite-turned-Angeleno, after all. Thankfully, Barrie Lynn Krich of The Cheese Impresario came to my aid by reconnecting me with my roots and her supply from Wisconsin cheese-makers.

Of course, the fun part was coming up with the control – the beer that would be lucky enough to have so much lactic love paid to it. Inspired by a particular Orange County-San Diego beer tour in which I discovered the wonders of sour ales, I found Russian River Valley’s Consecration within walking distance of home. Just knowing there was good beer stock so near was really the icing on the cake. It wasn’t the only sour ale but indeed probably one of the most approachable ones I’ve ever had. It isn’t a beer to smack you upside the head with overpowering citrus. In the 10% ABV Consecration is a blend of five different beers, including dark malts, which are then aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels for 4-8 months. Tobacco and fruit are prominent notes, particularly cherry (oh, look at that: currants are added). Carbonation comes from having fermented the beer in the very bottle it comes packaged in – and this further adds punch to its sour, my tasters and I found. Not only was it fun to pair this particular beer with cheese, it served as a palate cleanser as we went from candidate to candidate. Perfect.

Research Fellows

Barrie Lynn had given me five cheeses in all, which ranged in funkiness with the intention of standing a chance against the sour ale’s…well, sour properties. We tried the first, aptly nicknamed “Cheese Sex,” – which was an aged cheese spread, or a blend of Widmers Aged Brick Cheese and aged cheddar. No, it wasn’t funky. Yes, it was divine; it reminded my friends and me of a really well-executed version of the cheese in the Handysnacks cheese and crackers snack pack we all got in our lunches as kids. That is, probably the best execution that we had never dreamed of. (Seth noted as a parallel that we’re still waiting for the gourmet chicken nugget.) Don’t underestimate the Cheese Sex, okay? As far as a pairing, however, Consecration – and probably any other sour ale – overpowered the dream. The beer was too strong for even its slightly salty aftertaste, but all the same, I could understand why this spread is in such high demand, as evidenced by the sliver we were given. There be rations!

The next cheese candidate was Italico, which was appropriately named because it reminded us of mozzarella. It was an ivory-colored cheese and was even milder than the Aged Brick Spread – without any finish at all. It was almost like there wasn’t any cheese at all. After some research, I found that Italico is better paired with fruit. Truly, there would be stronger cheeses that could hold their own in this tasting.

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This Weekend: Beach Cleanup, BevMo!, Beer…and Kitty. And Food.

Americans on a non-American beach (autumn in Italy)

Wow. There is so much going on this weekend – I can’t wait to tell all of them to you because I won’t be in town to enjoy hardly any of them! (I also can’t wait to be done with the press releases that are coming out of my ears!!) Too bad I can’t pull my weight at the Blogger Beach Cleanup – put on by Siel of Green LA Girl and Sara Bayles of The Daily Ocean! 🙁 The cleanup fun starts at 4 PM on Saturday between lifeguard stations 26 and 27 in Santa Monica – and the best part is, you don’t even have to be a blogger to participate. Also, afterwards you’ll even reap rewards beyond your eco-conscience and get to enjoy an awesome happy hour at Pourtal. I mean, who wouldn’t get a chance to hang out with Siel and Caroline on Crack?!?!?!?!?! (You’re crazy.)

I’ll be at a wedding, which is a welcome obligation (yeah – I guess you could call him a “Good friend”) much aided by the fact that it’s at a winery in Paso Robles. That’s north, which means that I will be able to catch The Food Event in Malibu on my way back to LA. Super excited about that! In the meantime, here are the plethora of things to choose from this weekend…

Saturday, October 24, 2009

BevMo! Torrance Grand Opening

There’s a new BevMo! opening in Torrance and the launch party is on Saturday. You’ll have the opportunity to donate $15 to The Boys & Girls Club of South Bay, plus take home a 100th store commemorative wine glass and a goody bag full of miscellaneous … goodies. Complimentary hors d’ouerves will be served as well as Jim Beam BBQ. BevMo! will also be hosting a silent auction and live entertainment. I think it’s a good day to make it to the South Bay as any – especially with a chance to taste $6,000 cognac!

11 – 5 PM

BevMo!
2533 Pacific Coast Highway, Suite A
Torrance, CA 90505

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Saturday in LA Beer Week

Today: If you’re not in Mammoth snowboarding or skiing for free, you’ll want to poke your head into the nearest Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and retrieve your complimentary pumpkin iced latte or iced blended between 4-7 PM. And if you are a pre-fan of the movie or love Arcade Fire, pick up the Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack at Amoeba Hollywood, because while you’re at it, you might as well get a voucher redeemable for a free ticket to see the actual movie at participating cinemas (Arclight, across the street, would be my favorite cinema membership).

Then, tomorrow – you’ll be ready to celebrate the arrival of fall in LA this mid-October (hellooo, El Niño) and celebrate by drinking beer. No matter where you are, there are plenty of options to celebrate LA Beer Week tomorrow – especially if you’re trying to rectify your horrific LA Oktoberfest experience from last week. Between Bigfoot West’s awesome interior and one of my old time favorites – Verdugo Bar – you’ll see me debating where to go up until tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

West Los Angeles

Bigfoot West celebrates its first October by calling their tented beer fest Rocktoberfest. Tomorrow, they’ll be hosting a tented beer garden with bands – thus the rock – and a special list incorporating that infamous Bavarian Purity Law including:

Beck’s Oktoberfest
Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale
Hofbrau München
Spaten Oktoberfest
Hacker-Pschorr
Weihenstephaner

(Shhh…I won’t tell anyone if you don’t that Beck’s nor Jack’s doesn’t pass Reinheitsgebot. But, who’s counting at Rocktoberfest?)

12 – 8 PM

Bigfoot West
10939 Venice Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034
310.287.2200

Eastside

Never fear, eastsiders – Verdugo Bar is having their own beer celebration. Buy your entrance fee into the festivities for $20 (or $25 at the door) and included in admission is 4 drink tokens. With Ryan Sweeney – who’s been recently tapped to do the Capitol City beer program in the Cahuenga Corridor - at the helm, this is the place in town to have 4 beers anyway. German beer will be featured and special food will be available as they open up the parking lot, set up the tents and a stage for music.

Open: 6 PM – 2 AM

Verdugo Bar
3408 Verdugo Road
Glassell Park, CA 90065
323.257.3408

South Bay

The Strand Brewing Co., a new craft beer brewery based out of Torrance, will be celebrating their launch at Naja’s Place on the Pier in Redondo Beach. Their inaugural brew is called 24th Street Pale Ale, and all of The Strand’s VIP will be on hand for the celebration. Naja’s actually has one of the largest beer lists in all of Los Angeles while specializing in Belgians. Looking for ABV? Check out some of what’s on tap:

St Bernardus Abt 12
Allagash Curieux
Delirium Tremens

Open: 12pm-2am

Naja’s Place
154 International Boardwalk
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
310.376.9951

Live elsewhere? Check the official LA Beer Week event page for what’s going on in the ‘Dena, Torrance, Downey and Alhambra (38 Degrees would be a place to check out – though I still need to visit).

Have a great Saturday and weekend.