El Segundo Brewing Gets Real (Ale) For Firkfest


Photo by John Holzer

When El Segundo announced that they had hired Andy Black as a brewer, I think a big segment of the local industry was confused. After all, El Segundo is a brewery built on explosive west coast hop character and Andy is the guy who had a significant hand in building the core lineup for British ale-focused brewery Macleod Ales.

On the surface, this is a weird pairing for sure. Whether on purpose or by accident, Andy has built this sort of cult of personality around him and has become known as this curmudgeon who hates West Coast styles across the board. Even for how critical he is about West Coast beer, he’s also the first person to tell you that the bulk of British craft beer isn’t worth much praise either. The truth is, Andy’s a picky drinker because he’s a picky brewer, and his passion lies not just in British beer, but in beer as a whole. Working for El Segundo allows him to spread his wings in Los Angeles’ largest craft brewery while exploring a different style of brewing.

On the other side of things, El Segundo was quick to understand the resource they acquired with Andy, leading the hop-focused brewery to look for ways to capitalize on his experience and expertise. This saturday at Firkfest, real ale drinkers will be able to taste the first beer born out of this partnership.

Cask Days Toronto

Disclaimer: Yes, Andy and I are friends. Here’s a photo of us at Cask Days in Toronto. I’m biased, but I’m excited about this beer nonetheless.

Dubbed Dad’s Army, this English IPA is born out of Andy’s obsession with historical brewing recipes and should tear down assumptions of what that style can and should be. Brewed with Golden Promise malt, flaked corn, American six-row malt, and 130 pounds of Ragus Number 2 Invert Sugar, this beer goes for lighter and quaffable over the assumed rich and malty character that British IPA’s are known for. Hopped to 45 IBU’s with Fuggles and East Kent Goldings, the beer is finished with an El Segundo-sized dry-hop of Styrian Celeia hops. The resulting beer is undeniably different from El Segundo’s usual beers, showcasing a floral, almost green tea-like aroma balanced by a crackery malt and a creamy mouthfeel from the lower carbonation profile.

The name “Dad’s Army” comes from an old BBC sitcom based on the Home Guard, a volunteer defense squad in Britain during World War II who may have drank a very similar IPA at the time. This, of course, leads directly to Andy’s preferred way of describing the flavor profile of the beer (said in Brad Pitt’s accent from Inglourious Basterds): “Light and crushable, like them Nazi’s.”

Make sure you check out El Segundo’s booth at Firkfest this weekend, not only will they be pouring this one-of-a-kind beer, they will also have casked versions of Citra Pale and Broken Skull IPA.

Tickets for Firkfest are still on sale, but will likely sell out soon.