L.A. Beer Week, nine jam-packed days of local craft beer love (June 18-26), is among the few citywide beer celebrations to get its own official brew. Called Unity, the beer's exact style and recipe varies from year to year, but it's always a collaborative effort made with the help of L.A. Brewers Guild members – which this year includes 48 breweries.
Representatives from more than 20 of those breweries gathered at host brewery Three Weavers in April to make 2016's Unity, which saw an official release this weekend with a party at the Inglewood brewery on Friday and a cask tapping at Southland Beer on Saturday. Kegs and 22-ounce bombers of the 7.4 percent ABV beer also are now in limited distribution throughout L.A., Orange County and San Diego.
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This year's Unity bottles label it a "Los Angeles IPA," which is to say that it's an experimental IPA due to its generous use of HBC522, a hop varietal so new it doesn't have an official name yet (nor commercial release plans). Three Weavers brewmaster Alexandra Nowell had access to the hop and conceptualized the beer as a light and lemony yet seriously dank West Coast–style IPA.
Previous iterations of Unity have included a bright saison, prickly pear and hibiscus ales, and something the guild called a “Los Angeles pale ale.”
L.A. Beer Week kicks off with a massive beer fest on June 18 featuring 46 of the 48 Guild members pouring, plus breweries from San Diego, Ventura County and Northern California. With 16 new breweries opening in L.A. since last year's festival, the kickoff festival is a great way to drink your way through the vastness of L.A. County all in one place.