LA Beer Week is all about celebrating beer and exploring all its different possibilities, and Mark Regener shares his story about how stopping for a quick snack inadvertently led to his discovery of a new favorite style. When you approach beer with an open mind and a willingness to try new things more often than not you will be rewarded for your efforts!
In a weird twist of fate the Beer of Tomorrow Pick of the Weekend happens to be a Berliner-Weisse, and now that I have experienced my first LABW weekend this is my new favorite style of beer. My discovery of this style of beer however differs from that of John.
Thursday, during the opening events for LABW at the City Tavern, in Culver City, I had my first taste of Berliner-Weisse. I took my wife there for a snack, and of course a beer, before we ventured off down Venice Blvd to Wurstkuche for the HomeBrew and Belgian Triple tasting event. We both thought that it might be wiser to eat a little something before we went beer tasting, but when we arrived during Happy Hour we discovered that we could not order from the LABW menu until the kitchen opened back up at 4:30. Our wait was rewarded because I as able to try a style of beer I had not yet experienced.
For Happy Hour we order the meat & cheese plate and in consideration of our limits we ordered four different beer tasters. Three of the tasters that we had were not unpleasant, however they were not notable either. The one taster that sparked our interest the most was the Left Coast Brewery’s Bandwagon. This brew is a limited release that is the result of a collaboration of three San Clemente, CA breweries — Left Coast, Pizza Port San Clemente, and Cismontane breweries. The tartness of the beer is immediately noticeable and its smooth finish leaves you feeling delightfully refreshed. Once the kitchen opened back up we ordered the Strawberry Salad and another taster of the Bandwagon. The sweetness of the strawberries and the tartness of the brew went wonderfully together.
Skip ahead to Sunday’s home brew and weisse beer tasting at Wurstkuche in Venice and I was definitely looking forward to tasting a German-brewed Berliner-Weisse. The event on Sunday followed the same format as Thursday, however it was a little more refined. To this event I brought along a friend who had recently retired and was enjoying the new-found wonders of civilian life, and although he had been a long time beer drinker and had even been to Oktoberfest in Munich, his understanding of the different styles of beers was very limited. After we arrived and had tried some of the excellent sausages we went out onto the back patio to grab a seat for the event.
The staff immediately introduced themselves and once we took our seats my guest promptly noted that this event was much smaller and more personal than he thought it would be. The West Coast distributor for Schneider Brewing gave a history of the Weisse style of beers and the Schneider family’s involvement. The tastings began with the German beers Edel-Weisse, Mein Nelson Sauvin, Aventinus, Fritz Briem 1809 Berliner Weisse, Weihenstephaner, and Brau-Weisse. Then we took an American twist and sampled June Gloom and Blue Star.
This was an outstanding event that exposed you some great wheat beers without having to truly leave your comfort zone. You can rest assured that the beers you sample are some of the best of their style. Next Thursday’s event will focus on a traditional Oktoberfest beer, the Marzen. Bring a friend and learn how to brew a Marzen at home while tasting six different beers of the same style. The event is $40 and starts a 7pm.
Many local breweries are now producing Berliner Weisse beers, which is your favorite?