The CaskAleLA Guide To LA Beer Week

labw7-300x300I’ve got an sad confession to make: I won’t be attending LA Beer Week this year. When the LA Brewers Guild shifted the festival’s schedule to June they dropped it right on top of my vacation to Portland. I will literally be gone from the moment LABW starts, to the moment it finishes. Rude, I know… (you can send complaints to LA Beer Week). But just because I’ll be in Oregon enjoying everything they have to offer, doesn’t mean you should sit at home moping. Here’s a list of things I would be attending if I was in town, but I won’t be. Did I mention that yet?

Wedneday June 17th – Sausages and SoCal Beers @ Link


What better way to start the festival off than in my own neighborhood? LINK is a fairly new spot in West Hollywood that has great food (their brunch is deliciousbut also has a pretty solid craft beer lineup. While you’re not going to get hard to find rarities here, this German beer hall-meets-west coast surf shop features some great tried-and-true California favorites including Pivo Pils from Firestone Walker, Wold Among Weeds IPA from Golden Road and a rotating list of local favorites. To help kick off LABW, LINK is bringing in beers from all over Southern California, including local favorites Smog City, Three Weavers, Figueroa Mountain and King Harbor. While the beer list is yet to be announced, might I recommend their Alcatraz Link, which is spicy enough to go great with a hop forward IPA or Pale.

Other Option: For the South Bay crowd, head over to Smog City in Torrance for the launch of UNITY, the official collaboration beer for LABW.

Saturday June 20th – LA Beer Week Kick-Off Festival

Eat a big breakfast and rehearse drinking a glass of water between beers, because this is a BIG festival with a LOT of great beers. The Kick Off party for LA Beer Week is one hell of a good party, but pace yourself because you have a very long week ahead of you. Stay hydrated with the help of H2Ops, a local brand of hopped sparkling water which is both delicious and refreshing, and keep an eye out for 101 Ciderhouse who will be showcasing their excellent dry and funky ciders at the event. Tickets are available here:

july_macleodSunday June 21st – Cask & Ye Shall Receive

I was hanging out with Andy Black from Macleod the other night and he wouldn’t shut up about all the great beers that they have in store for this event. He just droned on and on about it. The best part? The majority of the casks will be cleanly fermented, so there’s no starburst or cotton candy or pesto sauce added to the firkins. While Macleod has like 700 special beers in store for attendees, they have also invited over 15 local breweries, including El Segundo who is bringing a a real ale version Mayberry IPA, which even gets Andy excited, and he HATES American IPA’s! (so I’ve heard)… Tickets are available here:

Monday June 22nd – Macleod & Craftsman Take Over The Lost Knight

I’ve never met Mark Jilg from Craftsman, but I’ve heard that he can be a little bit prickly. I’ve also heard that Andy from Macleod can be the same way, so this is a match made in heaven! The Lost Knight in Echo Park will feature 4 nitro beers, 2 cask ales and a few sours and the brewers will be in attendance. Just to be clear, I’ve only heard that Andy can be prickly, but its not true. He’s actually quite cuddly.

Tuesday June 23rd – Eagle Rock Brewery’s Battle Of The Bands @ The Echo

The number one reason to attend the Battle of the Bands is that you will hear people talk about it for months to come, so you might as well be part of the the event. This is also your best opportunity to actually hang out with the brewers of your favorite beers, rather than just be served by them, which is a nice change of pace. They’ve been making great beer for the last few years, the least you can do is go dance to their tunes.

Wednesday June 24th – Meeting of the Guilds @ Naja’s Place

At this event the brewers guilds from Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego meet at Naja’s Place and will negotiate their new collective bargaining agreements live and in person. Unless you are a total nerd for guild negotiations, I’m sure you’ll be more interested in the taplist that features the best from all across California. The first part of this description is a total lie, but by this point you’ve been drinking for 5 days straight so I’m not sure you can read anyways.

Thursday June 25th – Measure Your Head @ Barbara’s At The Brewery

I’m on the verge of tears that I’m going to be missing this; sour, acidic, lactobaccillus-infused tears . Mark Jilg from Craftsman, Henry Nguyen from Monkish, and Bob Kunz from Highland Park Brewery are guiding people through two flights of mixed fermentation beers that will highlight lactobacillus, pediococcus and brettanomyces cultures. Not only will you learn a lot, but you’ll be able to drink some fantastic beers along the way. Tickets are available here:

Friday June 26th –  Cask Away Night w/ El Segundo & Kinetic Brewing @ Far Bar

Lots of people will tell you that hoppy beers don’t do well in cask. While that is sometimes the case, El Segundo is a great example of how its not always true. I’m pretty sure I’ve enjoyed every single cask I’ve had from El Segundo and if that’s not enough reason to check out Downtown’s Far Bar on a friday night, I can’t help you. Oh, Kinetic is also there? Then what the hell are you waiting for? Go now just to make sure you get a spot.

Looking for another, less urban option? Absolution Brewing in Torrance is holding a Firkin Friday event for all your other cask needs.

infinitewishes_barrelSaturday June 27th – Smog City Rarest Of The Rare

Smog City released a beer called Infinite Wishes a few months ago. I wrote about it here. Afterwards I used my Infinite Wishes to wish that I could have that beer on tap all the time. That wish didn’t come true so I asked for my money back. That wish also didn’t come true. But instead Smog City occasionally throws these events where they tap a lot of rare beers. I have no idea if Infinite Wishes will be on tap at this event, but we can all wish for it.

Not ready for the trip to the South Bay? How about you head over to Mohawk Bend to spend some time with Girls Who Like Beer and the women of the LA Craft Beer Scene. They are all fucking awesome.

Sunday June 28th – Annual Brewer’s Brunch @ Eagle Rock Brewing

At this point I trust that you have taken all my suggestions and have spent the week consuming ridiculous amounts of local craft beer. While your body is probably telling you to sleep in, drink some water and maybe eat a goddamn salad, you need to ignore that and head over to Eagle Rock Brewery for some bacon, eggs and a pint of their delicious Umlaut pilsneresque beer. Your body will hate you for it, but if I can’t be at this event, I need you to go in my stead.

Happy LA Beer Week Everyone!