Thank goodness the Taco Zone folks showed up when the vegan food ran out!
I shudder to think what this morning would have felt like if I had used all the tasting tickets from yesterday's Craft Beer L.A. fest. My notes are a bit hazy but I think I tried around 12 or the 28 beers available to taste. I know the people who didn't buy a ticket ahead of time had a long wait to get in, but those who bought online got in quickly at 2 when there was still a good selection of food. We tried Golden State's refreshing cucumber salad, Hefweizen vegan cupcakes, Hefweizen and Ommegang ice cream and sorbet from Scoops, and some wonderful cheeses (especially the Beemster XO gouda!) from the Hot Knives guys supplied by Nicole's Gourmet Imports.
The Bruery's limied production Cuvee Jeune wild ale was a startlingly interesting citrusy lambic.
It was great talking to the brewers and beer connoisseurs including Patrick Rue from the Bruery, Mark Jilg from Craftsman, Christina Perozzi, the beer chick and the Verdugo's Ryan Sweeney. Perozzi moderated the Craft Beer Roundtable, and it was nostalgic to hear Sierra Nevada's Steve Grossman talk about the influence of New Albion, which was the first beer I ever wrote about, and have Perozzi exhort the crowd to "give it up for Fritz Maytag!" who helped reintroduce craft brewing to America with Anchor Steam.
Hot Knives' Evan George, right, and helper furiously cutting the cheese samples
My favorite beers? Of course, I didn't get them all, but I'd have to say the most interesting were the Bruery's Cuvee Jeune Young Lambic, Stone's Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA and Uncommon Brewers' Siamese Twin Belgian style Dubbel. Also notable were Taps' strong but well-balanced Barleywine and Craftsman's tasty Scotch Isle Ale.
All those cervezas needed to be topped off with my first lengua taco ever. Ay carumba!
It was so encouraging to see how many people turned out to try an amazing range of California-brewed beers, raising a ton of money for 826LA in the process. And I never get tired of beefy guys asking me whether I'm a hophead or not. (Yes, I am). But next year, please have it in a nice green park, so we can move out of the darkness and sweltering heat of the Echo. Who else went?
Here's an excellent report from the Uncouth Gourmands blog.
Were you able to get in? What were your favorite beers?
Loving the beer-flavored gelato and sorbet at Scoops