California Beer Pron

Well, that was a fun long weekend in California…I am devastated so happy to be back in Washington D.C. where the temperature is still under 50 degrees.  This was a really great trip to take because I had been reading about the amazing quality craft beer being produced in California, and this was my chance to sample from the cornucopia of hops.  I started with a Hanger 24 Double IPA and never looked back…

I knew Californians loved their hops because almost every west coast brewery seems to offer a robust bitter, fruity, piny hop punch to your mouth.  It’s not for everyone but if you can appreciate it, the American double IPA will really will wake up your palate.  But wait, how do you find which bars/restaurants to go to when you have never visited a certain location?  I started by posting a question on Reddit to get suggestions from locals.  I always prefer going to local spots because I hate going to tourist traps.  They tend to be overcrowded and generic.  What do you do when you have are in a place not on a list?  You need a beer map right?  Well, unsurprisingly, there is an app for that.

The Beer Mapping project is an app that catalogs all of the beer bars, pubs, beer stores, home brew shops, and breweries in an area and displays them on a map based on your current location.  This was a lifesaver.  Los Angeles is a place where you really have to drive to get anywhere, and traffic does cause delays all the time.  We got stuck in the Hollywood area after a long day of driving around and needed a good place to eat and grab a beer.  A quick search showed me a little place called the Lucky Devils Tavern.  This place had a fantastic bar menu with fun burgers and a great tap list.  They also had that special something I was looking forward to trying in California.

The reputation precedes it

The reputation precedes it

Pliny the Elder.  A beer that is so important to this brewery that they recommend that you drink it as soon as you get it because they don’t want the flavors to dull with time.  This beer is freaking delicious.  Tropical fruit, pine, slightly bitter, malty and realistically the best Double IPA (or imperial IPA depending on who you are talking to) since I first sampled Bell’s Hopslam.  This beer was that good.  If you are ever out in California, you should try Pliny the Elder.  So that was a good start to the experience, and it only got more impressive from there…

RUMPKIN RUMPKIN RUMPKIN

RUMPKIN RUMPKIN RUMPKIN

I like beer bars that have low-key look, good beer selection, a great bottle list and good music.  The Surly Goat is just that kind of place.  Frankly, I am a huge fan of the movie Eurotrip and I have always wanted to go to the Feisty Goat portrayed in the movie.  This bar was my Feisty Goat sans soccer hooligans and an endearing singing number (though I am sure they would have obliged had I requested it).  They had great breweries such as Hair of the Dog and Sierra Nevada’s 25th Anniversary Celebrator.   Hair of the Dog has some delicious beers worth trying and all of them are named after people the owner knows (or knew).  They also had a real small but rare bottle list.  I could not believe that they had the Rumpkin, the beer I spent most of my winter scouring the DC area for.  I had to have my girlfriend buy 4 bottles when she was home for Thanksgiving because it was only available in Pennsylvania.  They also had this gem from Lost Abbey

A religious experience?

A religious experience?

So this rich chocolaty beer had nice notes of oak to balance it out.  It tasted like chocolate milk.  I was drawn to this beer because there happens to be a bourbon with a similar name.  Angel’s Share is based on the old understanding of barrel aging.  When alcohol sits in a barrel, the liquid evaporates and also seeps into the wood of the barrel.  Being that centuries ago they didn’t understand the concept of evaporation, they had to make sense of what the reduction in barrels meant.  They called that the Angel’s share.  The liquid that seeps into the barrels is called the Devil’s cut and has been immortalized by Jim Beam (if you were wondering, they crush the barrels to get the liquid out).  The Angel’s Envy is the liquid left behind that the Angels didn’t get and we get to enjoy.  Isn’t marketing fun?

Anyway these were some of my greatest hits from Los Angeles.  I hope this can help all of you plan your next travel adventure.  Just doing a little research can make a huge difference.  Half the fun of traveling is getting out to support other local breweries.

Cheers!

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