At this point, there’s a resonably sized beer festival every couple weeks in Los Angeles. Unfortunately for people that like good beer and well organized events, most of them are pretty lousy. Usually one look at the event page and brewery list can tell you whether they are serious about beer, or serious about gouging patrons.
But there’s a few festivals in Southern California every year that are absolutely worth checking out. One of them – Firkfest – is coming up on March 18th and you absolutely need to buy tickets. But beyond that, the month of June has become absolutely overrun by exciting beer festivals run by trustworthy sources. Three out of the four weekends in June will see me drinking unlimited beer samples – and here’s why you should come along.
What’s The Deal? Even more than the Great American Beer Festival, this is the beer fest that brewers and beer geeks-alike praise to no end. With an entirely curated beer selection and very limited capacity, the Firestone Walker Invitational is the festival that breweries clamor to get into, and people incessantly bitch about when they can’t get tickets. Its a big deal. (If you don’t know, now you know).
Why Go? Because you already have tickets. Sadly, tickets for the FWIBF have already come and gone – selling out practically the same moment they went on sale. You probably saw a lot of sad beer geeks complaining about it online. I managed to snag a ticket this year and I’m pretty excited about it myself. Securing that ticket on the online order system was pretty easy actually, so I don’t know what all these craftbeards are whining about. I’ll report back with my thoughts.
Tickets are sold out, but contact me here with ridiculous offers for my ticket.
Los Angeles Beer Week Kick Off Festival – June 18th, 2016
What’s The Deal? Hosted by the Los Angeles Brewers Guild, this event signifies the launch of LA Beer Week – a very long 7 days crammed with so much beer drinking your liver is going to seriously hate you by the end of it. Featuring your favorite breweries from all across Los Angeles County (and a few special guests from neighboring communities), this event is a true celebration of the local beer scene and you will likely see tons of familiar faces.
This year the Guild have settled on Los Angeles Center Studios in Downtown LA as the location for the fest, making it easily accessible by transit so you don’t even have to think about parking. Some of you may recognize LA Center Studios as the location for some of those “drunk frat boy” beer festivals but I can promise that this is no such thing.
Why Go? This is a festival hosted by brewers themselves and each booth is manned by the employees of the brewery, giving you tons of opportunity to talk about the beer with those who know it best. Previous years have seen some breweries pop special bottles throughout the day – so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for that as lines form quick and supplies are limited.
Most importantly, this festival is a celebration of the community that we all helped build and its something that we should all be proud of. Very few beer scenes mature quite as quickly as the one in Los Angeles did and we’re spoiled with ridiculously tasty beer (and really awesome people) pretty much everywhere you look – so come out and support your local breweries and brewer’s guild and get day-drunk in the process.
Tickets go on sale March 4th (TOMORROW) at 10am here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/la-beer-week-kickoff-festival-2016-tickets-2141566382
What’s the deal? Back in 2014, Sierra Nevada expanded their Beer Camp concept by releasing a mixed 12-pack of beer collaborations with their favorite breweries from around the country. It was their version of a brewery mix-tape, and adding to the music-motif they launched a cross-country festival tour hitting cities in seven major beer regions across the country.
Sierra Nevada decided to bring the concept back in 2016 with some minor but exciting changes. Doubling down on the spirit of collaboration, this year’s mix pack will feature 6 different collaboration beers – each crafted by a handful of breweries representing 6 different brewing regions. The Southern California offering – a robust stout dubbed Stout Of The Union – included LA’s own Smog City Brewing Co. and Beachwood BBQ & Brewing as well as our southern neighbors Bagby Beer Company, Societe Brewing Company and Lost Abbey. Other beers include a Table Beer representing the Southeast, an “Imperial Session IPA” from the Pacific Northwest & Rockies, an Imperial Brown from the Midwest, a Session Rye Ale with hibiscus from Northern California, and a Pale Ale from the Northwest & Midatlantic. Collaborating breweries include: Creature Comforts, Wicked Weed, Magnolia Brewing, Perennial Artisan Ales, Lawson’s Finest Liquids and many, many more.
Los Angeles lucked out and snagged the opportunity to host the Southern California date of the accompanying tour. On June 25th, Sierra Nevada will host over 75 breweries from all over the country at the Queen Mary Waterfront Park in Long Beach.
Why Go? Despite Sierra Nevada’s legendary status in the craft beer world, there’s a lot of people that are newer to the craft beer community that don’t realize that Sierra Nevada only does things that are exceptional. The growing list of breweries attending is now available on the Beer Camp website, and while I would love to see a few more east coast breweries represented, its hard to argue that this festival will be anything short of fantastic. If you can’t make it to Firestone Walker Invitational or the Great American Beer Festival, this is certainly the next best thing.
But more than that, I certainly can’t wait to close out LA Beer Week by soaking in the California sun and sipping on an Otra Vez from our hosts. (That beer is crazy good).
Tickets are onsale now: http://beercamp.sierranevada.com/festivals/los-angeles/