This is the third Heritage Festival for Angel City Brewery and the first visit for me.
Say what you want about the sometimes uneven beers from the DTLA brewery but they have an ideal party space. Whereas noise at most festivals is a cacophony of conversation, street noise and music, the cavernous ACBC space diffuses sound so that conversations can take place plus I love the art on the walls which is of the edgy graffiti-esque variety. It is a pleasant change from the big screen TV usual in some bars and taprooms.
But what about the beer?  I tasted one of my favorites Marilyn along with a flight of darker beers that included the new Orange Cocoa, Dark Rye Lager aged in Brandy barrels and the Imperial Chai Stout.  Despite the heat of the day, the stout was quite good. There was a progression of flavors from stout to orange to chocolate.  I had a bottled version of the chai before and it had more  of the tea character on draft. It is hard to balance spice in a beer and this was a skosh too heavy but not egregiously so. The Rye Brandy though was far too spirited for me. The beer was overwhelmed by the brandy. That being said, if you like brandy, than this beer might be for you.

Also on the plus side of the ledger was the food.  Two L.A. institutions were in attendance.  Kogi and Phillipe’s Original.  Can’t beat that for food choices.  Plenty of seating both inside and out and little to no lines either.  That is a recipe for a fun Sunday afternoon.


Mom’s Day at MacLeod’s

by Sean on May 6, 2015

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There is usually fanfare when a brewery signs up with a distributor. What there normally isn’t is a party with that distributor featuring the other beers in the portfolio!

But that is what MacLeod’s Ales is doing with Artisan Ales. In their words, “We will be showcasing some of the other wonderful breweries they represent, right here in our tasting room! Besides our own cask ale, we will be featuring beers from:

Craftsman Brewing Co.
Noble Ale Works [something special just for this event!]
Telegraph Brewing Co.
Kinetic Brewing Company
TAPS Fish House & Brewery
Longsdon Farmhouse Ales

With all that beer it is great that a food truck (Tacos Chihuahua) will parked outside.

$35 advance purchase, $40 at the door On May 10th (aka Mother’s Day)





by Sean on May 6, 2015

Want to help the victims of the Nepal earthquake. Now you have two different ways.

From the comfort of your computer, you can head to the Global Giving website.

Or on May 9th you can head to one of these bars/breweries for the Crawl4Nepal.

-Eagle Rock Brewery – Golden Road Brewing – Mohawk Bend – Tony’s Darts Away – Sunset Beer Company – Three Weavers Brewing Company – The Rookery – Cismontane Brewing – Ritual Brewing – Barley Forge Brewing – Sanctum Brewing – Bread & Barley

Each location will have a “donation beer” on draft with 100% of the proceeds going to Global Giving.

So, start crawling…


Design of a Brewery

by Sean on May 5, 2015


I recently went to an exhibition at the Hammer Museum in Westwood that focused on the small to large designs of the Heatherwick Studio.  Amidst the weird prickly architecture and the ingenious designs for roll out bridges was the above design of the Bombay Sapphire distillery.  An old paper mill in the south of England needed to blossom into a dedicated gin house.

What this design firm did was to “use” what was obviously in front of them.  They were on a river so they played that up.  They planted the botanicals used in gin.  They also made the visitor centre less a visitor only space and actually showed off the distillation process.

It got me to thinking about the next phase of craft brewery spaces and tours.  Stone has it’s gardens and design look but where else really capitalizes on what they have in a unique space.  That may not be possible on a shoestring in an industrial park but instead of just hanging community art on the wall and exposing a brick or two has been done. 
I’m not looking for a redux of Busch Gardens in Van Nuys but I hope breweries are thinking of more immersive ways to welcome guests to their tap rooms.


84 Acres

by Sean on May 5, 2015

My favorite McMenamin experiences are at the larger, ambitious projects. The Kennedy School, Hotel Oregon in McMinnville and of course McMenamin’s Edgefield.
Now they are embarking on another grand effort in Bothell, Washington called the Anderson School. Seventy-two hotel rooms, a gym for parties and private events as well as the now requisite movie theater with comfy chairs and tables so you can have a beer with your flick.

Maybe one day, they will come to California and I can get a steady stream of Ruby Ale and crazy artwork intertwined with history.


You Can Never Check Out

by Sean on May 4, 2015

If Stone ever gets around to building their Escondido hotel complex, one could travel from San Diego then on to the Dogfish Inn on the East Coast and then hop ‘cross the pond to stay at the coming BrewDog Hotel…..

…one out of three open for business ain’t bad.


Jelly Belly on Draft

by Sean on May 4, 2015

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“effervescent and crisp flavor” is promised in the new beer flavored jelly bean from Jelly Belly but this may be a gift that sits on a desk and is more conversation piece than good candy. 

First off, the smell is godawful.  My wife called it vomit and she isn’t far off. It is high school locker room smelling. Nowhere in the vicinity of beer. The flavor is pure honey to me though my sister-in-law called it soapy. Much better than the smell but, again, not beer tasting at all.  The iridescent copper color is cool but that is the only positive.  Maybe they should try stout flavor. 


Stark(a) Differences

by Sean on May 3, 2015

There is always something to learn about for the first time. Today it is Starka. If you knew about this version of vodka then kudos and gold stars to you.

For those like me who have never heard of it or tasted it, this spirit has Eastern European roots and it is basically vodka aged in oak casks.
Three Oregon distillers have combined to make three unique Starkas and this is where a new craft beer idea could be found. The three participants Big Bottom Distilling, Bull Run Distilling and Indio Spirits and Distillery each “created an exclusive variation of Starka by choosing specific barrels that are distinct to each producer.”
What would happen if a group of brewers brewed up a whopping batch of a base beer and then each used their distinctive cooperage to age their ales to see what difference that not only the wood but the expertise of a brewery can be created.


South of Center

by Sean on May 3, 2015


Some breweries haven’t participated in a collaborative beer in their long history and others are too new to have collaborated at all. Reasons vary but then the right time and place present themselves and you get a hoppy Belgian style ale.

SouthCentral combines the hop choices of King Harbor with the yeast pick of Telegraph.

You can check out the details in this video.


Law Firm of

by Sean on May 2, 2015

As the pool of super-cool and available brewery and beer names grows smaller, so to will the amount of legal actions taken. So I was pleasantly surprised to hear about a case where no litigation took place. Where two parties talked and worked it out.

Or as the cool guys (and Fran) from The Full Pint put it: “So no cease and desist letter, no venomous email threads, no 20 page forum thread talking about the big guy is going after the little guy, just two sets of hard working dudes who have similar tastes in company names who worked it out in the end.”

No, this wasn’t a case of brewery vs. brewery but it is how the big boys in a business should play. Have your branding and trademarks set, hire a smart but not auto-litigious lawyer, then call to protect your brand with the hoped for outcome of no court dates.

Check out the Full story HERE.