For 25 years, the Northern California-based Celebrator magazine has been the West Coast's premier source for beer news from locally, regionally and beyond. And starting tonight (with other tapping celebrations slated for the next week), Angelenos will get to try Celebrator's 25th Anniversary Double Pale, a brew made by 16 of the beeriodical's employees and writers during a two-day program called Beer Camp hosted each December by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.
Celebrator's longtime L.A. correspondent Tomm Carroll was among those who helped conceive of and brew the silver anniversary beer at Sierra Nevada's Chico facility, meaning he was given kegs of the final product to release across his domain.
Carroll chose two taphouses to host the beer's L.A. debut -- T.H. Brewster's at Four Points by Sheraton LAX and Surly Goat in West Hollywood -- both of which he encountered early on while writing his "To Live And Drink In L.A." column.
"I wanted to pick the Four Points because they've been big supporters since the beginning and Surly Goat because Ryan [Sweeney] and Brandon [Bradford] were the ones that started this craft beer revolution in L.A. with Verdugo Bar," says Carroll, who by day is the editor of a magazine for the Motion Picture Editors Guild. "When I first started writing [for Celebrator], I had to look for things to write about. But by the third column, Verdugo Bar had opened and things just kept happening. Now I can't keep up."
Celebrator's 25th Anniversary beer is a 9.2%ABV imperial pale ale modeled after the recipe for Sierra Nevada's classic green-label grog. The idea was to honor the 33-year-old brewery by making a double version of its pale ale, but also update it by incorporating Celebrator's past, present and future.
To do this, the ragtag group of beer geek writers used three kinds of hops: Cascade from Sierra Nevada's original recipe; Citra, the West Coast IPA's hop-du-jour; and "#366," a hop so experimental that it hasn't even been approved for a name yet.
So what does a beer representing the country's oldest brewspaper taste like?
"The flavor profile is blueberry," says Carroll. "The aroma is all blueberry, but it's not coming from malt or yeast -- it's those experimental hops ... It's not what I expected but it's really good."
Tuesday, March 12
Join Tomm Carroll for the premiere L.A. tapping of Celebrator Beer News' 25th Anniversary Double Pale Ale. 6 p.m., Surly Goat, 7929 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; (323) 650-4628.
Friday, March 15
Join Celebrator writers Tomm Carrol and David Mulvihill (new Orange County correspondent) for the premiere O.C. tapping of Celebrator Beer News' 25th Anniversary Double Pale Ale. 6 p.m., Beachwood BBQ, 131 1/2 Main St., Seal Beach; (562) 493-4500.
Thursday, March 21
Join Tomm Carroll for a tapping of the Celebrator Beer News' 25th Anniversary Double Pale Ale. 6 p.m., T.H. Brewster's at Four Points by Sheraton LAX, 9750 Airport Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 649-7024.
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