It’s almost LA Beer Week 2014, and that means it’s time for Unity! The long-running Official Beer of LA Beer Week (this is the fifth iteration of the collaborative brew) returns with a different spin, and we’ve got an inside look into the packaging of the “Los Angeles Pale Ale”.
This year’s Unity, once again brewed at Eagle Rock Brewery with the help from brewers from across Los Angeles, eschews the wild ingredients and esoteric style of past years (that have seen a tamarind infused saison and a berliner rye spiked with prickly pears) for a classic American Pale Ale – with a California twist.
Here are some details on the brew from Beer Paper LA’s Official Guide for LA Beer Week 2014:
“[We wanted to brew] something that we can all just drink and enjoy,” says Eagle Rock’s packaging director (and future Head Brewer at the soon to open Eagle Rock Public House) Lee Bakofsky. “A normal beer that’s beer strength; it doesn’t have to go to 11.”
The brew does have a unique twist on the APA formula – it spotlights grown-in-California ingredients, including American two-row barley from Country Malt Group, organic hops from a farm near Mendocino, and dried California grapefruit peel. The hops used to flavor the brew are the classic Centennial variety and a proprietary cultivar from growers Hops-Meister called Gargoyle. This latter variety is a descendant of the classic California Cluster hops and is piney and floral in aroma. More Centennial hops will be used to dry-hop the brew to underline the citrus-and-pine character of the classic American Pale Ales.
More details about the brew day and the beer are available in the September issue of Beer Paper LA (available Now) and the Official Guide to LA Beer Week included in the issue. Check your local craft beer hotspots for copies!
The finished beer is a pale gold with a slight haze and a big grapefruit aroma. The flavor is balanced, but tipped towards the hoppy and there’s actually a significant hit of pithy bitterness that fades quickly into a more resinous hop bitterness that hangs around longer and compels another sip.
Here’s a quick timelapse video of the bottling process that condenses about 5 minutes of action into just 17 seconds:
And here’s a gallery from the bottling day. The Eagle Rock crew bottled over 320 cases of bombers, with the lion’s share going into distribution. Bottles should be available at local shops as you read this, and the occasional keg of the “Los Angeles Pale Ale” will be tapped around town during LA Beer Week.
Have you tried this year’s Unity? Let’s hear what you thought in the comments!