It’s that time of year again in Los Angeles. Beer and food pairings are being finely crafted, the smells of limited release brews are filling the air, and craft beer lovers within a 100 mile radius are giddy with anticipation. Can you feel it?
The 3rd annual LA beer week (which is actually 2 weeks) is quickly approaching and the events calendar is packed with amazing craft beer and food filled festivities. There are so many events in fact, that deciding which ones to dedicate your time to can be a daunting and stressful task. To help make your life a bit easier, I picked a not to miss event for each of the 14 days of LA beer week. Below is an outline of the first 7 days’ worth of events. Part 2 featuring the next 7 days will be out next week!
Kick off you LA beer week experience in style with 40+ Stone Beers, including vintage and special releases, special guests from Stone, a commemorative glass, and beautiful views.
Where: Naja’s Place (154 International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach) – a great, casual craft beer bar that overlooks the waters of Redondo beach.
When: Monday, 10/10/11. Session A is 3 pm – 7 pm, Session B is 8 pm – 12 am
How: Buy your tickets here
Tips: This event is going to sell out quick, so be sure to get your tickets ASAP. Also, Naja’s is pretty much outdoors and on the water, so bring a jacket (or drink lots of beer)!
Faster, Bigger, Better, Bolder (Gradually, Quietly, Steadily), a collaboration beer between two of my favorites, The Bruery and Dogfish Head, will be served up on tap for lucky patrons to try. The beer was brewed with kumquats and a seven spice schichimi togarashi blend (huh?) along with sake yeast. Several other classics and limited ales from both The Bruery and Dogfish Head will also be available.
Where: Far Bar (347 E 1st St. Los Angeles, CA) – hidden gem of a restaurant in downtown LA’s little Tokyo serving up rare craft beers and food that I guess could be called Japanese fusion.
When: Tuesday, 10/11/11
How: Drive to downtown LA, park, walk to Far Bar, drink beer.
Tips: Far Bar can be a bit hard to find. The entrance is tucked away down a narrow alley between two buildings and is not clearly marked. It’s all part of the charm.
This is probably the event I am most excited about. Firestone Walker Brewing will be debuting it’s XV 15th anniversary ale – an epic blend of eight different barrel-aged beers – and the Homebrew Chef Sean Paxton, will deconstruct the flavors in each beer to lovingly craft small dishes for pairings that are not to be missed.
Where: Bardot at the Avalon Theater (1737 Vine st., Hollywood) – a small, ornately decorated lounge housed in the larger Avalon Theater.
When: Wednesday, 10/12/11, 7 pm – 10 pm
How: You can get more info and buy tickets for the event here.
Tips: While not the most expensive event of LA beer week with a price tag of $75, be prepared to shell out some dough. For hardcore foodie/beer fans, this is a not to miss event and will be worth the price. Tickets are really limited, so don’t waste time getting yours. I got mine!
You heard me – 12 courses! This event puts a spin on the normal beer pairing dinner by putting the focus on the distinct flavors in the beer. They have designed each course to highlight and enhance the flavors in the paired beer, with the food playing the supporting role in the line-up. And did I mention there are 12 courses of this goodness?
Where: Boneyard Bistro (13539 Ventura Blvd. Sherman Oaks) – a restaurant that knows its meat and beer. They serve up all kinds of BBQ and have 42 beers on draft, plus many more bottles.
When: Thursday, 10/13/11, 7 pm – 10:30 pm
How: You can find more info, including the full menu and buy tickets here.
Tips: I would recommend eating a light breakfast and lunch on 10/13 and maybe going on a jog to get your appetite up as you will have A LOT of food to take down. You wouldn’t want to get to the 9th course and have to throw in the towel, would you? That would be just plain embarrassing. Also, check out the menu ahead of time. With dishes like Red Oak grilled loin of kangaroo with sweet chili glazed pineapple, this event might not be for everyone’s palate.
Ok, this isn’t an official LA beer week event, but it certainly fits the bill and I think would be an excellent way to spend a Friday night. Start by having dinner composed of beer, sausage, and truffle fries at Wurstkuche, then make the quick 7 mile trip over to Eagle Rock Brewery for dessert: More beer!
When: 10/14/11, Wurstkuche is open from 11 am – 12 am. Eagle Rock is open from 4 pm – 10 pm.
How: Drive downtown and eat some top notch food and drink some great Belgian and German beers. Be sure to pay for your designated driver’s meal since they will be chauffeuring you over to Eagle Rock Brewery after where you will taste a variety of beers from one of LA’s few craft breweries.
Tips: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT leave Wurstkuche without getting an order of truffle fries. Get the big one if you are splitting them. You will not be sorry. Also, the line can get pretty long on the weekends, but it moves quickly and staff works as efficiently as they can to keep it moving, so don’t get discouraged. There is a big seating area down the hall from the counter where you order (shared picnic table beer garden style). If it’s packed and you are with a group, you might want to send someone to go scope out a seat when you get close to the front of the line.
This event combines beer, ice cream, and friendly competition. It is not to be missed. 5 local top chefs (including some contestants from “Top Chef”) will be paired with a brewery to create a beer float. The crowd will judge each float and crown the winning team.
Where: Eagle Rock Brewery (3056 Roswell St, Los Angeles) – a craft brewery and tasting room in LA that has become a quick local favorite.
When: 10/15/11, 1 pm – 4 pm
Tips: Parking can be a little challenging on the streets around Eagle Rock, so be prepared to walk a bit and pay close attention to street signs so you don’t get a ticket. Also, in case the beer and ice cream isn’t enough for you, Neri’s Curbside Cravings will be selling old school and new school Filipino food at Eagle Rock during the event.
LA’s newest, and largest craft brewery will open its doors to the public for tours, tastings, and fraternizing with former Dogfish Head brewer and current head brewer at Golden Road, Jon Carpenter. The price of entry gets you three 10 oz pours, a fancy glass, and the opportunity to be one of the first people to check out LA’s newest brewery.
When: 10/16/11, 2 pm – 7 pm
Where: Golden Road Brewing (5430 West San Fernando Rd Los Angeles, CA) – a new brewery composed of a three-building campus at the northernmost tip of Atwater Village
How: Get a ticket, then drive on over to the brewery and be ready to give a warm welcome to the Golden Road team. You can get tickets and more info here.
Tips: Make sure you pay attention to how to get to Golden Road. They have big plans in the future for expansion including a restaurant, so you’ll want to remember how to get back! The brewery’s three buildings are painted with bright colors (red, yellow, and blue), so if you see those, you know you’re in the right place. Also, tickets are limited and cheaper if you buy them in advance, so why wait? Get yours now.