Get ready, Angelenos. The 6th annual L.A. Beer Week starts Sept. 20, kicking off nine days of appreciation of the county’s rapidly growing craft beer scene. Now being organized by the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild, L.A. Beer Week is taking on a more local focus this year, with a series of signature events that showcase their members’ strengths. Unfortunately, this Saturday’s kick-off festival is already sold out, but that doesn’t mean your chance to drink and celebrate local beer is over. Far from it.
There are dozens and dozens (seriously — we looked at them all) of non-Guild-organized events being hosted by breweries, restaurants, bars and even music venues across the region, each one with their own twist, highlight or special tapping. From beer pairing brunches to tap takeovers to musical beer crawls to brewer’s karaoke, L.A. Beer Week is the wackiest assortment of clever beer-centric events, guaranteed to (further) raise the profile of the local beer scene.
Here are 20 events we thought were weird, interesting, cool or just plain important enough for your presence. For a full schedule, visit labeerweek.com/events or check your local craft beer bar as they probably have something scheduled too. Happy L.A. Beer Week!
WHAT: Lucky Baldwins/Stone Brewing 18th Anniversary
WHEN: Sept. 20 - 28
WHY: Legendary San Diego brewery Stone and legendary Pasadena min-chain-of-British-pubs Lucky Baldwins started around the same time nearly two decades ago and every year, they celebrate their birthdays together with a rare beer tap takeover at all three Lucky’s locations. With 60+ taps rounded out by local beers, the pubs—which were the first to bring Belgian and European beer to the L.A. market—will also be selling commemorative glassware and special shirts. If you haven’t already, L.A. Beer Week is a chance to acquaint yourself with L.A.’s oldest beer bar.
WHERE: Lucky Baldwins Pubs, 17 South Raymond Ave, Pasadena. 1770 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. 17 Kersting Ct., Sierra Madre.
WHAT: Green Street Beer Brunch
WHEN: Saturday Sept. 20; 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. ($45, buy tickets here)
WHY: Start off L.A. Beer Week with a beer brunch at a Pasadena’s Green Street, a semi-upscale institution in an alley off of Lake Ave. Beers from St. Archer Brewery, Modern Times Beer, AleSmith Brewing Company, Stone Brewing and Smog City Brewing Company will be carefully paired with a six-course menu that highlights some of their most popular brunch items. So what if all the beers aren’t local — it’s proof that craft beer can be found in the best hidden spots.
WHERE: Green Street Restaurant, 146 S. Shoppers Lane, Pasadena.
WHAT: The Chris Klein Show: Ballast Point and Smog City Brewing
WHEN: Sunday, Sept. 21; 12 p.m.
WHY: In addition to the breweries that are actually located in Long Beach, the city in southern L.A. County is home to several professional brewers who slave over brew kettles at Southern California’s best breweries. Long Beach resident Chris Klein, Brewing Manager at Ballast Point in San Diego, is bringing special versions (as in, never left the brewery) of Electric Ray, Victory at Sea and Sour Wench. Plus, Long Beach resident and Smog City Assistant Brewer Chris Walowski will be bringing a few special Smog City kegs as well.
WHERE: The Factory Gastrobar, 4020 Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach.
WHAT: Beer and Whiskey Brunch
WHEN: Sunday, Sept. 21; 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. ($70, buy tickets here)
WHY: It’s never too early for whiskey, we say, so why not start here, at Boneyard Bistro’s annual pairing of beer, whiskey and brunch food. This year they’ve teamed up with Firestone Walker, Deschutes and Golden Road for the occasion, featuring six courses paired with six beers and three different whiskeys. We suggest taking an Uber — and then possibly a late afternoon nap.
WHERE: Boneyard Bistro, 13539 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks.
WHAT: DFD House Party
WHEN: Monday, Sept. 22; 5 - 11 p.m. ($10, buy tickets here)
WHY: If you’ve been around craft beer in L.A. long enough, you’ve probably seen Daniel Drennon, local beer personality and writer extraordinaire. He cut his teeth here at Squid Ink and now works with Beer Paper L.A., but for L.A. beer week, he’s giving back with 17 crazy-hard-to-get, hand-picked kegs which will all be on draft at The Doughroom. Breweries include: Beachwood BBQ & Brewery, Drake’s, Iron Fire, Knee Deep, Moonlight and more. Admission includes two beer tickets.
WHERE: The Doughroom, 3409 Overland Avenue, Los Angeles.
WHAT: Battle of the Beer Bands
WHEN: Monday, Sept. 22; 8 p.m. ($10, buy tickets here)
WHY: Eagle Rock Brewery presents the first L.A. Beer Week Battle of the Beer Bands, where your favorite beer people will throw down and rock out on stage at the Bootleg Theater. Imagine the crews from breweries like Ladyface Ale Companie (aka Motley Brue), Pizza Port (Brew Kids on the Block), Stone Brewing (The Flocculators), El Segundo Brewing (The Short Pours) and more shredding on guitar, slapping electric basses and pounding the skins for your listening pleasure.
WHERE: The Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles.
WHAT: City Tavern’s Kick the Keg
WHEN: Tuesday September 23 and Wednesday September 24; 6 p.m.
WHY: A friendly competition among breweries will also be a chance to taste your way through L.A.’s many breweries as both City Taverns will be showcasing their local favorites on two consecutive nights. Culver City is pouring through the Westside and South Bay names while Downtown is tapping the rest of L.A.’s. First keg to kick wins the informal competition, but the real winners are the attendees, who get an unofficial tour of the best L.A. has to offer.
WHERE: City Tavern, 9739 Culver Blvd., Culver City; 735 S. Figueroa St. #133, Los Angeles.
WHAT: Musical Beer Crawl
WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 23; 5 p.m.
WHY: An L.A. Beer Week favorite is back again with another year of stumbling up and down Sunset Blvd. for all the beer, music, dancing and discounts Echo Park has to offer. The Bruery is pouring special kegs of its “sessionable” version of the infamous Black Tuesday at beer establishments along the strip and everywhere from Two Boots Pizza to Origami Vinyl are offering deals to crawlers who stop by. End the night at Short Stop where the dance party goes until closing time.
WHERE: Various locations down Sunset Blvd., starting at Sunset Beer Co. Download the passport for the full list.
WHAT: MacLeod's Real Ale Festival
WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 23; 7 p.m.
WHY: Cask ales are the norm in England, but hard to find in L.A., where the outside temperature rarely dips to the 55-degrees required for pouring these cellar-conditioned real ales. MacLeod Ale Brewing in the Valley exclusively makes these self-carbonated, traditional beers and has invited breweries like Beachwood, King Harbor, El Segundo and Brewery at Abigaile to come and tap their own at what is being touted as an enlightening, educational discussion and tasting experience with beer writer Tomm Carroll and the passionate MacLeod owners themselves.
WHERE: MacLeod Ale Brewing, 14741 Calvert Street, Van Nuys.
WHAT: Sour Beer Night at The Hermosillo
WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 24; 5 p.m.
WHY: One of L.A.’s most delicious new breweries, Highland Park Brewery, is unleashing its highly anticipated sours upon the world this L.A. Beer Week. Brewmaster Bob Kunz is known for his homebrewed sours and has been busy experimenting with bacteria and yeast at his York Blvd. brewery. The night will feature three to five Highland Park Brewery sours, including Lazy Susan, Not Normal and Vacation with Brett.
WHERE: The Hermosillo, 5125 York Blvd., Los Angeles.
WHAT: Wil Wheaton Night
WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 24; 7 - 9 p.m.
WHY: Only in L.A. does an actor known best for his role in the Star Trek series become a homebrewing celebrity in his own right. Wil Wheaton has collaborated with Stone Brewing in several beers and the San Diego brewery’s only L.A. store will be taking over their taps with al of them as well as some of the actor’s own brews. Wheaton will be onsite to mingle with fans and Stone is donating a portion of the event’s proceeds to the Pasadena Humane Society, a non-profit organization close to Wheaton’s heart.
WHERE: Stone Brewery Company Store, 220 S. Raymond Ave., #103, Pasadena.
WHAT: So You Want To Be A Beer Judge?
WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 24; 7 - 10 p.m.
WHY: Join moderator Tomm Carroll (Celebrator Beer News and Beer Paper LA) for a panel discussion of what it takes to be a professional beer judge. A trio of high-ranked, certified Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) judges — including several from local home-brew clubs — will discuss the program and tell you what you need to know to become certified. Sample judging will follow and discounted beers will be available at the hotel’s craft beer bar, Brewster’s.
WHERE: Brewsters in the Four Points by Sheraton LAX, 90750 Airport Blvd., Los Angeles.
WHAT: Meeting of the Guilds
WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 25; 4 - 10 p.m.
WHY: For the first time in L.A. Beer Week history, three formidable California brewers guilds will join forces for one giant tap takeover. Modeled after a similar event that took place during San Francisco Beer Week this year, this event will showcase the best in California beer. Taste your way through a selection of kegs from L.A. Brewers Guild, San Diego Brewers Guild, and SF Brewers Guild members and cast your vote to see who will inherit the prized Golden Keg.
WHERE: Mohawk Bend, 2141 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles.
WHAT: Beer Belly Presents: Three Weavers
WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 25; 5 p.m.
WHY: Successful Kickstarter brewery (which just so happens to be L.A.’s first all-female-run brewery) Three Weavers started brewing at their Inglewood location just a few weeks ago and their first batches will be ready just in time for an L.A. Beer Week debut. Come to Beer Belly for L.A.’s first taste of Expatriate IPA, Deep Roots ESB, Double Dry Hopped Stateside IPA and Coffee/Tea Deep Roots ESB, all brewed by GABF-medal-winning brewmaster Alexandra Nowell.
WHERE: Beer Belly, 532 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles.
WHEN: Friday, Sept. 26; all day.
WHY: When Oktoberfest happens in L.A., it seems only fair to give it a Latin twist. If the glorious portmanteau of “Oinktoberfiesta” isn’t enough to lure you in, there will be both Mexican and German style beers on draft, Sonora Polish dogs to eat and in the evening, life mariachi. Try a beerchata and toast the Latin-American diversity of Los Angeles through beer.
WHERE: Oinkster, 2005 Colorado Blvd, Eagle Rock; 776 Vine St., Los Angeles.
WHAT: Surrealistic Sudz
WHEN: Friday, September 26; 6:30 p.m.
WHY: We’re still not quite sure what’s going to be on draft at this bizarro ‘60s-themed beer event, but when Eagle Rock Brewery makes one-of-a-kind beers (and photoshops their faces onto an old album cover), it’s got to be good. Drawing a correlation between the experimental decade and Eagle Rock’s experimental brews, this event promises psychedelic beers from one of L.A.’s oldest breweries, plus a few old hippies.
WHERE: Story Tavern, 150 S. San Fernando Blvd., #40, Burbank.
WHAT: Brewers Karaoke
WHEN: Friday, Sept. 26; 8 p.m.
WHY: We love how much L.A.’s brewers are willing to get on stage during this year’s L.A. Beer Week and this karaoke event is another great chance to watch your favorite brewers show off their musical talent while sipping on their beers. Local brewery personalities (Monkish Brewing, Three Weavers, Noble Ale Works and more!) battle it out to be the reigning king and queen of karaoke. The winner, for some reason, receives a bucket of coleslaw.
WHERE: Alex’s Bar, 2913 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach.
WHAT: Monster Brew with King Harbor
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 27; 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. ($30)
WHY: New South Bay brewery King Harbor will brew the beer and home-brewers from around the region will get to make it. This Monster Brew event allows hobby brewers to purchase 5-gallon containers of a strong, dark wort to be brewed on this day and get crazy and creative with fermentation back at home. The pre-beer will be good for a dark Belgian, spiced Christmas beer or a clean dark ale, but it’s really up to you. A post-fermentation tasting event in October will be planned for everyone who took part.
WHERE: King Harbor Brewing Company, 2907 182nd Street, Redondo Beach.
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WHAT: Ultimate Flight Night V
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 27; 6 p.m.
WHY: It wouldn’t be L.A. Beer Week without 38 Degrees’ flagship annual event, where flights of rare, hand-selected craft beers from the top craft breweries around the country are available in curated sample sizes all night long. Last year, the Alhambra beer bar (which is also one of the best in L.A.) featured 20 different flights from nine breweries, and this year promises to have another line-up of sours, IPAs and one-off brews you won’t find anywhere else.
WHERE: 38 Degrees Ale House & Grill, 100 W. Main St., Alhambra.
WHAT: Kinetic Brewing Open House
WHEN: Sunday, Sept. 28; 12 - 6 p.m.
WHY: Several L.A. Brewers Guild members are hosting open houses on the last day of L.A. Beer Week (see also: Ladyface Ale Companie and Wolf Creek), but we like the idea of using the occasion to check out one of the more far-flung L.A. County breweries — Kinetic in Lancaster. Under the tutelage of Alexandra Nowell, the brewery took home their first GABF medals last year and the tradition continues with Robert Sanchez at the helm. Sanchez, plus brewer/owner Steve Kinsey, will be giving full tours of the brewing operations and answering questions about the brewing process. Grab a pint and see where the Antelope Valley beer magic happens.
WHERE: Kinetic Brewing Company, 735 West Lancaster Blvd., Lancaster.