Between an impromptu tasting evening at Beer of Tomorrow HQ and the Food GPA/Firestone Walker Father’s Day CollaBREWtive Brunch we had some exceptional beers this weekend from some of my favorite breweries, and you don’t want to miss the new IPAs that are now available.
Two new IPAs
Golden Road’s newly canned Heal the Bay IPA made an appearance at our Friday evening tasting, and while it’s a bit early to make the call officially, the beer may have unseated Wolf Among Weeds as my favorite release from Golden Road. The IPA is light and dry with a punchy, citrus-heavy hop character and a great tropical aroma. Golden Road’s new Brewmaster, Jesse Houck, is beginning to get credit for turning around the beers at Golden Road, and I think that his influence is going to take GRB to the next level – especially in the minds of LA’s beer geek crowd who have been pretty harsh on Golden Road until now.
Four packs of Heal the Bay cans are now available at Whole Foods and in bottle shops around town.
The other notable IPA from Friday evening was Stone’s new re-release of last year’s 10th Anniversary Ruination. Now a once-yearly release RuinTEN – as it’s now called – is a huge and unflinchingly bitter beer. Nearly 11%ABV and using an insane amount of hops (it works out to about 12 grams of hops in each bottle) RuinTEN is something special; it manages to push the envelope of bitter IPAs while still remaining drinkable and avoiding gimmick territory.
The bottles are being released today, and if you’re a hop-head I highly recommend scoring some – and drinking it fresh.
Coffee + Beer
On Father’s Day, Food GPA and Firestone Walker Brewing teamed up for a great event that spotlighted beers made with coffee and the imagination of great local chefs. We’ll be discussing the event in more detail this week, but the idea was to invite six LA breweries to collaborate with a local coffee roaster on a one-off specialty coffee beer. I love coffee and beer together, and I’ve been searching for the perfect match for over a decade.
It was great to see almost all of brewers tackle something other than the common porter or stout base for their brews, and the two stouts that were on offer were anything but run-of-the-mill. Firestone Walker infused Intelligentsia Coffee into their world-class barrel-aged imperial stout Parabola, and the results were predictably stellar. Beachwood Brewing brought their fan-favorite System of a Stout that matches Armenien coffee from Portola Coffee Lab with cardamom, molasses, and brandy-soaked oak chips. Yeah.
But the stand-outs of the event for me were the lighter brews from Eagle Rock Brewery and Golden Road. Eagle Rock’s Panama Pale was a deft balancing of hops and coffee flavors and aromas, and Golden Road’s Handsomely Mild just nudged out the ERB brew as my favorite of the event. The “west coast style” mild was a beer that Jesse Houck has been trying to find time to brew for years, and he hit it out of the park. Just enough fruity yeast character shined through the bright hops and roasty coffee flavors, and the beer was complex and quite quaffable.
The mild style is often overlooked by craft brewers, and while LA is lucky to have one exceptional version made – ERB’s Solidarity – I’d love to see some more regular-production milds getting made around town.