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.

October 7 – 17, 2010

Stay tuned for 2011 dates

L.A. Beer Week

Venues all over Los Angeles

Giveaway: Tickets to Artisanal LA Featuring Sustainable, Local and Handmade Edibles

11 AM - 6 PM at The Cooper Building

Next weekend, you can find a lot of Los Angeles’ local goods downtown in one spot thanks to Artisanal LA. It takes place in The Cooper Building and not only will you be able to shop, you’ll be able to attend live workshops and more.

Saturday, there will be a Sustainable Caviar Cooking Demo and Tasting by Christopher Klapp and Chef Ben Bailly, a Hand Made Egg Cozies Demo by Common Thread Studio, a Growing and Cooking With Artisanal Pumpkins Demo by Peninsula Hotel’s Chef James Overbaugh. On Sunday, Suzanne Griswold and Rachael Narins of Chicks with Knives will be doing a Pickling 101 demostration and tasting as will The Beer Chicks be hosting a Craft Beer Panel (and tasting) featuring brews from Eagle Rock Brewery & Nibble Bit Tabby, the recently opened brewery in town. You can also peep the full vendor list here.

Admission is $10 in advance or $15 at-the-door and includes Honest Tea, Dry Soda, Function and Bonadea drinks; local craft beer and organic spirits tasting (for 21+ only); a tote bag for the first 1000; access to the workshops, demos, arts and crafts; a chance at giveaways; unlimited re-entry for the weekend and partial proceeds to the LAUSD Edible School Garden Programs. DJ Bryan Davidson will be spinning the tunes.

So buy your tickets in advance and save yourself $5 – as well as guaranteed entry since the lovely organizers are expecting to have to turn people away at the door. I’m also giving away a couple tickets here on the blog, so simply comment in this post with what you are most looking forward to at Artisanal LA for your chance to win. Entries will close on Wednesday, October 20 and I’ll inform the winner that night.

See you there!

Saturday – Sunday

October 23 – 24, 2010

11 AM – 6 PM

Tickets: $10 in advance, $15 at-the-door, or comment below to enter giveaway

Artisanal LA
The Cooper Building
860 S. Los Angeles Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014