LA Beer Scene.. its not just LAX & Kobe..

Posted on December 21, 2009


The Beer Scene in the United States is one of the healthiest in the world, with great experimental beers and collaborative beers that are now produced and now in beer bars promoting the craft. This is a local bar of one of my brothers friends in Los Angeles, for which most people only know them for 2 things, the Lakers & Kobe and LAX, which is a direct route to Hawaii, Asia and my home country Australia.

On a recent trip my brother took to Mexico, he stopped into this bar that has 88 Beers on tap. We can take off 15 or so for being more macro, but we can also see on here Bud Light Wheat as being available that will help new beer drinkers try craft beers. So with 73 odd beers on tap at this one time, with blown taps there could theoretically be over 200 beers in a given month. That is called Selection and variety that doesn’t exist in that capacity in Canada.

Whenever I’m doing a quick calculation of where would be a nice spot for beer when delayed at an airport for a period of time, whether hours or overnight I will choose cities with a decent beer scene. LAX is always an airport for which Santa Monica is not that far away with decent wine bars, but it is a bit touristica. So for Cali, it has been San Fran, and thus SFO is a favorite, so that one could make it to Toronado, who is one of the best craft bars in North America. On their taps though there is no Miller, Michelob, nor Budweiser.

Quick Analysis of these taps gives a genre of mainly California brewer such as Stone, Anderson Valley, and the Russian River Pliny the Elder that is the most sought after Double IPA in the US. It’s impossible to find it on the bottles let alone on tap. Throw in some Colorado New Belgium beers that are more Belgium styled sour beers. New Beligum has a brewer from Rodenbach in Beligum whom specializes in barrel beers. La Folie & Pliny are my two favorite beers, that one cannot find in Canada.

Having just written a review for a restaurant that served Delirium Tremens on tap here in Vancouver, I now look at this menu and find not only do they have Delirium, but Chimay Triple.. it must be a tough job being an LA local who enjoy his beers. The list is how many menus should be written, on a whiteboard, so when a tap blows, it can erased and a new beer written up. Beers should be changed when blown for variety purposes.

LA is very lucky to be near some of the most exciting brewers in the country. San Diego is the new home of beer in terms of IPA’s, and they have developed and created the Double IPA’s that are the most sought after in the country. Stone Ruination, Green Flash Double IPA, Port Brewing are all some of the most Hop Driven IPA’s in the US, and sought after.  Seeing as San Diego is only so big, the next largest and closest market is the City of Angels.

LA has been slow to the embracing element of the craft beer movement, with the city only starting to come to play with bars that cater to beer drinking people who are less about image, and more about the quality of the drink. As locals tell me it’s about being seen, and drinking the right drink in bars and clubs. I guess that song, drink BUB in DA CLUB has more attenuation to LA than other cities, but there is an underground resurgence of craft beer.

Once P-Diddy, Carey Underwood, or Brittany put their name on a beer other followers may try it and actually like it. But we know it’s branding in some cities, and I’m sure the beer in a clear bottle from mexico, and the Green bottle from Amsterdam are the drinks of choice for beer drinkers in many bars, but this is slowly changing. We hope so for the industry.

So LAX is changing for the better, as this kind of beer bar is not one you’ll run into Kobe, or P-Diddy, but you may run into some strange and interesting characters that can guide you through some of the strange beers on this list. Lets not be daunted, but view this as a changing of the guard for bars in LA. Now LAX is an airport you won’t mind stopping over for a 4-6 hour layover.

Posted in: Belgium Beer