The State of Los Angeles Craft Beer
Los Angeles craft beer is booming. This city is home to some of the fastest growing, trendiest neighborhoods in the country, many of which are home to innovative breweries and bars serving up local brews. With LA beer growing in both quantity and popularity, Los Angeles is no longer just a “fill-in” stop between craft beer cities.
Like most areas experiencing the craft beer boom, the past few years have seen a period of tremendous growth and change. Membership in the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild has almost doubled in the past two years and currently boasts 66 breweries. The Guild along with other kinds of support systems that provide collaborative and educational opportunities are significant factors for such outstanding growth in a short period of time.
A proud moment for LA came in the form of high accolades at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival, where seven members were recognized. Earlier this year, 18 LA breweries took home 21 medals at the San Diego International Beer Competition. LA is also home to incredible beer festivals, such as the popular LA Beer Week Kickoff in June, and is one of only eight lucky cities to host the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp On Tour.
IPAs All Day
Though LA is a diverse city in terms of beer styles, there are three words that are part of every California beer drinker’s vocabulary: India Pale Ale. The style that helped to drive craft beer across the country is almost universally celebrated in Los Angeles. Highland Park Brewery’s Hello LA West Coast IPA made it to Draft Magazine’sTop 25 Beers of 2016 list. Just try getting in line for a pour of Monkish Brewing at any festival (let alone one of its on-site can releases). At the recent California Craft Brewers Association festival in Sacramento, the line was 100 people deep.
Los Angeles embraced Sour beer and Barrel programs early on; it now has several breweries focusing heavily on (and experimenting with) the many styles of wild, puckering ales. Phantom Carriage emphasizes on small batch wild, barrel-aged and sour beers in a phenomenal atmosphere self-described as “part brewery, part café – and part haunted cellar.” Cellador Ales is one of the few 100% oak barrel-fermented craft breweries in the country. Beachwood opened a second location in Long Beach so it could produce its line of funky beers without infecting its clean beers.
Check ‘em out
There are simply too many extraordinary breweries to mention, but when it comes to knowing LA beer, exploration is key. With the city consisting of nearly endless urban sprawl and no real city center, the best strategy is to go neighborhood by neighborhood.
There are still some challenges in Los Angeles beer as fans seek not just quantity but also quality. When they talk about California beer, our hope is they talk about Los Angeles craft beer. In growth, style offerings and superior quality, Los Angeles has already arrived.
About The Author:
Kelly Erickson is a writer, photographer and graphic designer living in Los Angeles. She holds a degree Political Journalism and writes primarily about beer for her website, GirlsWhoLikeBeer.com
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