I’ve got some good news and some awesome news. First, this year’s 6th Annual LA Craft Beer Crawl hosted by 213 Nightlife and the Beer Chicks is smaller than previous ones. That means less crowds, less lines, and less drunken hiking. Cana Rum Bar and the Broadway Bar have been taken off the usual barhop roster because Cana is too far off the beaten path and Broadway has some licensing issues. And second, with 47 breweries and over 120 different beers, that means more beer for everyone!
With so many options and so little time (five hours!), it’s easy for the beer lover to get overwhelmed. Which should you try first? Which will tap out first? Which should you enjoy while you can still remember? Fortunately we got a hold of Beer Chick Hallie Beaune for her suggestions on which five beers to pounce on at the crawl when you have the chance.
1. The Bruery Cuivre* at the Varnish: Its The Bruery’s 7th anniversary beer. And for their special anniversary beers they usually blend last year’s with this year’s. Here Cuivre, which means “copper,” is an English style old ale with Belgian yeast. “It’s dark fruit, vanilla, oaky, burnt sugar kind of beer.”
2. Allagash Mattina Rosa* at the Varnish: Beaune works for Allagash and says this one 375ml bottle is super limited. “It’s a sour with raspberries aged in red wine barrels. It tastes like eating actual raspberry and finished with biscuit and bitterness. People are always looking for specialty sours.”
3. Highland Park Brewery Bug Juice Brown IPA at Seven Grand: This hoppy beer by one of L.A.’s newest breweries features “lots of great hops that hopheads will love, Simcoe and Columbus. And then they add some cocoa powder and orange zest. It’s a nice hoppy beer for hopheads.”
4. Eagle Rock Brewery Milo at Seven Grand: The local brewery founders, Jeremy Raub and Ting Su, celebrated their new baby boy Milo by creating an oatmeal pale ale with El Dorado hops in his honor. ERB is bringing a specialty keg of it.
5. Arts District Brewery Company Even Sassier Imperial Rye IPA at Golden Gopher: This is from 213 Nightlife Cedd Moses’ new brewery whose beers will debut at the crawl. This beer, brewed in collaboration with Three Weavers Brewing Company, is made with malted rye, barley, and favorite hops like Simcoe, Galaxy, and Mosaic.
A quick heads up though: According to Beaune, this year beer geeks are going to be seeking out the big beers. “Beer geeks are bee-lining straight for the big IPAs and the sours. I think all the sours will go really fast in the early sessions,” she says.
One of the hottest styles right now is also the session IPA, especially since it’s hot out and people want quaffable, low-ABV, heavily hopped beers, according to Beaune. “[Session IPAs] isolate that really fruity flavor in hops without the big malty backbone. So you’re really getting the flavor from the hops, not the huge dose of malt.”
* Note: These will only appear in The Varnish during the VIP hour. This year’s VIP hour will feature special bottled beers, giving it a bottle share feel. Sadly, if you didn’t buy your VIP tickets yet, you’re out of luck as they’re all sold out.