Now that the craft beer revolution has officially swept across the nation, there are more and more people on the hunt for tasty small-batch beers, made with love by individually-owned breweries across the country. As a result, there has never been a better time to seek out and sample the craft beer offerings from upstart brewers right here in Los Angeles County. But what do you do when your local watering hole isn’t as up to date as you’d like it to be, and it just never seems to have that Ladyface saison you’re always craving? Or when you’re itching for some Smog City XPA, but the fledgling brew operation doesn’t have the equipment (or manpower, or financial resources) to bottle or can the good stuff just yet? Just head to your favorite brewery and pick up a growler.
Despite the menacing name, growlers are a great (and cheap) way to directly support your local craft beer brewer, plus keep you stocked up on all the tasty beer you want. If you’ve ever stepped foot into a brewery tasting room (say, the brewpub at Golden Road Brewing), you’ve probably seen them stacked against a wall. These dark brown glass containers generally come in one- or two-liter sizes, often with ceramic tops and rubber sealants to lock in the carbonation and aromatics that any poured beer gives off. Let your bartender know you’d like to take one home, and they’ll gladly sterilize it and fill it up with any beer they have on tap.
The benefits of investing in a growler are two-fold. The first is simple math: there are nearly 34 ounces per liter, which means you’re getting just over two full 16 ounce pints to take home with you at an exceptionally reduced rate. For two-liter growlers, the savings are even better. Depending on the beer, two-liter growler fills can go for anywhere from $10 - $20, which is at worst $5 per 16-ounce pint. At most bars, you’ll pay that for the bottom rung beers anyway.
Review: Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale (Bottle)
To be honest the nut brown style has never been my favorite: typically a little malty, toasty, and sometimes yes nutty, it’s always been a mild foray into the darker ales. However, this beer is pretty great. Drinkable and smooth as it should be, Sammy Smith’s take on the brown ale manages to retain a ton of flavor: fig/raison, toasted wheat bread, honey, and a dry walnut finish. Really sets the bar for the style.
Niko (FF) Score = 9/10
One of my favorites.
Can never go wrong with it.
Review: Harviestoun Ola Dubh - 16 Year (Bottle)
I always see this series of stouts in the imported craft beer aisles, but never really bothered to stop and try one until a few days ago. Translating to “Black Oil”, the Ola Dubh series are dark ales that are aged in various kinds of whiskey casks - hence the different numbers on the bottles. This guy was aged in Highland Park’s 16 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whiskey.
Alright onto the beer, which pours as expected and smells of roasted hops, whiskey, and smoke. The mouthfeel on the other hand is dominated by a bacon like smokiness from the whiskey aging. Next dark roasted coffee notes hit, with a bit of saltiness, and finally some vanilla. I have to say I’m not sure if I’m a huge fan of the smokiness that whiskey casks can add, almost cigarette ash like at times, but this beer maintains balance and solid flavors.
Niko (FF) Score = 8.5/10
This is one delicious ale.
Hard to find, but worth it.
GOD DOESN’T ALWAYS DRINK BEER, BUT WHEN HE DOES, HE DRINKS KBS
Review: Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (Bottle)
By Niko I (FF)
This isn’t just beer, it’s art. If there’s a bar in heaven, KBS is always on tap. Let me go ahead and end the speculation immediately as to whether or not KBS lives up to all the hype: Hell yes it does. This beer is a legend for a reason and my goal for this review is to explain to you exactly why. Now if you’re somewhat new to craft beer, and haven’t heard of the near mythical Founders offering, do your research, then wait the three months before you’ll likely get a chance to try it… if you’re lucky of course.
I’ll start with the aroma: lots of bourbon, some dark fruit tang and tart, caramel, and coffee. It’s good but it’s hardly the best part. Now unlike some big bruising imperial stouts that overwhelm the palate with burnt bitter coffee notes, KBS is subtle. It’s glides across the tongue like silk, and seeps in with sweet molasses, vanilla, caramel, then wood/oak toastiness, some creamy nut, and then it hits: the most buttery delicious bourbon flavor any beer has ever accomplished. I don’t even like bourbon. I don’t like hard liquor. I LOVE this beer. It surrounds the other flavors like a blanket, and as you swallow the gulp it lingers like a puppy that won’t leave your side. I breathed out butter bourbon and it was delicious. I burped butter bourbon and it was even more delicious.
This is not the most intensely flavorful stout in the world… not even close. KBS is about quality of flavor more so than quantity, and that quality is simply the best. It’s incredibly complex, perfectly balanced, and tastes like heaven.
Niko I (FF) Score = 10/10
Aleks I (GS) Score = 10/10
OVERALL = 10/10
If you want great beer and you’re in the Los Angeles area, you have to come to this place.
Food and drink go hand in hand, as Echo Park restaurateurs seem to be discovering. With a proliferation of new alcohol permits, the neighborhood maybe become a new nightlife destination for the urbane crowd.
When Mohawk Bend announced its plans last year to take over an empty theater on Sunset Boulevard, the news was met mainly with rejoicing, though a few persistent opponents did make the permitting process a bigger headache than usual for owner Tony Yanow. Now that the enormous (for the neighborhood) restaurant has opened, it’s packed nightly with customers clamoring for craft cocktails, California wine, and the dozens of beers on tap (frankly, the food is currently a bit of an afterthought).
Amazing concept. However, if you’re to carry this home and, perhaps, you’re not going to drink all this beer right away…a paper cup won’t keep it from losing carbonation (going flat). This is something that’d fare better at stadiums/venues. Places where you’d drink your beer within minutes of purchase.
In essence, this was my 4th of July.
Ghetto fabulous cars. Keeping LA classy forever.
Fireworks. They were pretty.
Beer. Lotsa damn tasty beer.
OH! And the old hag that was after me was equal parts hilarious and sad. I’m all for cougars but this bitch was wayyy past her prime. Do no want. kthx.