Monday is here, and it’s time to start another week. Pick of the Weekend is our weekly post where we recap our favorite brews of the weekend past.
We had a weekend that was a great reminder that sometimes the best beers have little to do with what’s in the glass and are more about the situation, the people you’re enjoying the beers with, or the foods that you’re eating with the beer.
The weekend started off with much fanfare as the Beer of Tomorrow Pumpkin Beer Showdown was finally held! We’ll have more on the gourdy evening this week, but I can tell you that I’m not a big fan of pumpkin beers. I find them too often over-spiced and out of balance. However, even I was surprised by a couple of beers from the dozen in the line-up , and one of my favorites was Fermentation Without Representation an “imperial pumpkin porter” from a collaboration between Utah’s Epic Brewing and DC Brau. The porter was rich and dark with a big roasty body, heavy coffee and cocoa notes, and just a light play of spice in the nose and on the palate.
Saturday held two stand-out beers. The first was a new (to me) sour from Craftsman Brewing: Sourdough. This “American wild ale” is tart, fruity, malty-sweet and extremely complex while remaining deliciously drinkable. My 4oz pour was gone before I realized it and long before the plate of poutine from City Tavern that it was meant to accompany. Craftsman never disappoints, and I highly recommend ordering their beers whenever and wherever you see them!
The second memorable beer from Saturday was the newly christened Angelino IPA from Angel City Brewing. I’ve had this IPA a few times in the past, and it is a good West Coast IPA with huge tropical fruit hop flavors, but the reason this pint was so notable was a funny bit of kismet. We’d stopped by the Spring Street Smokehouse after hearing so many great things about it for a pint and little late snack, and we ran into Kip from Bierkast at the bar. A few minutes later the crew from Angel City Brewing stopped into the downtown BBQ joint while on a bar-crawl with the big boss Alan Newman from Alchemy and Science and one of the godfathers of craft beer: Boston Beer’s founder Jim Koch!
We were able to briefly talk with Alan and Jim before the Angel City crew moved onto the next stop, and getting to meet two of the most influential figures in the craft beer movement was a huge thrill! They were, just like every other craft beer celebrity we’ve had the pleasure of meeting, extremely down to earth and genuine. For a craft beer nerd like myself it turned into a quick pint into a very memorable beer!
Finally, I want to mention one beer on Sunday so that I can plug one of my favorite spots to grab a beer in Los Angeles. We stopped by the K-town craft beer hotspot Beer Belly on Sunday for their much lauded brunch and, even with high expectations of deliciousness, we were blown away. I had a Nobel Aleworks ESB while Jules tried The Bruery’s Autumn Maple, and while the beers were good they were completely overshadowed by the awesome food. Duck confit hash and cinnamon french toast. “Chicken in a waffle” (a waffle-battered and deep fried chicken tenderloin.) Just typing that makes my stomach grumble. NFL Red Zone on the TVs, drink specials, and Chef Wes’s amazing food makes Beer Belly our new favorite spot for Sunday brunch!
What was your favorite beer from the weekend? Have you ever had the people, place, or food that you’re around elevate an otherwise average pint?