It's a good time to be a beer-drinking Angeleno. Not only can we enjoy local craft beer from a vast array of quality beer bars, but now an increasing number of our own breweries are bottling their wares. With two breweries bottling for the first time and other established bottle producers increasing their selection for retail, you can explore a landscape of Los Angeles beer in the convenience of your own home. The South Bay dominates this season's lineup, but that just increases the competitive edge for next time.
The latest L.A. beers run the gamut of style and strength. You can find everything from year-round IPAs and Belgian-styles to seasonal stouts and limited-release, award-winning beers. Don't forget: Bottle sharing has multiple applications. Host a party where everyone brings something different, or offer a local bottle as an ice-breaker for approaching holiday awkwardness with the in-laws. Find a bottle. Buy a bottle. Share a bottle.
Winter Vanilla Porter, Angel City Brewing Co. (Downtown)
Porter; 6.5% (this ABV is unconfirmed)
The Vanilla Porter that has been occasionally available on tap at Angel City will makes its way to shelves Monday, Nov. 4. A solid porter with subtle vanilla notes (which avoids cloying sweetness), this beer will launch an ongoing program of limited-edition specialty brews. It will be available as a 22-oz. bomber, though it likely won't be around long -- only 200 cases were made.
Released: early November
Smoky Hollow, El Segundo Brewing Co. (El Segundo)
Scotch Ale; 8.1%
Named for the former industrial neighborhood in the city of El Segundo, this scotch ale gets its predominant smoky character from peated malt. Wrap your hands around your glass and let the beer warm a few degrees to enjoy the complexity of this smashing seasonal selection.
Released: late October
Hop Tanker, El Segundo Brewing Co. (El Segundo)
Double IPA; 9.2%
Bigger in alcohol than any other El Segundo beer to date, this double IPA is brewed and dry-hopped with loads of Nelson Sauvin and Citra hops. Limiting the malt base to Two-row maximizes the focus of the beer to its hopload. Look for two quarterly releases from the brewery -- one hoppy, one seasonal. This holiday season will bring an imperial stout cheekily named Standard Crude.
Released: late October
Feminist, Monkish Brewing Co. (Torrance)
Belgian-Style Tripel, brewed with hibiscus; 9.4%
The first beer to go to into bottles for Monkish is a strong, floral tripel from the family-operated South Bay brewery. Deeply infused with hibiscus, this golden-pink beer is dry and malty yet manages to smack of grapefruit. Next for the bottling line are Rosa's Hips, Anomaly and a Christmas beer -- Magnificat -- all to hit shelves in coming weeks.
Udder Love, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing (Long Beach)
Milk Stout; 5.9%
Having accrued both gold and silver medals in sequential years at the Great American Beer Festival, this rich stout from Beachwood Brewing is becoming an icon of L.A. County brewing. Sweet and balanced throughout, the roasted, coffee flavor profile owes its complexity to three types of British roasted malt and a finish of milk sugar hailing from Wisconsin. Pairs elegantly with dessert.
Released: early October
Melrose IPA (second batch), Beachwood BBQ & Brewing (Long Beach)
India Pale Ale; 7.2%
Very much a West Coast–style IPA, the second release of Melrose this year is chock-full of the bitter, citrus hops that distinguish it (dry-hopped with Simcoe and Amarillo). The first round of bottles, released this summer, flew off shelves. We're thankful for this re-release. As the hoppy-hearted will be the first to profess, the best IPA is a fresh IPA.
Released: early October
Eureka! Wit, Angel City Brewing Co. (Downtown)
Belgian White/ Witbier; 5.5%
This light, refreshing Witbier will have you reminiscing about bright summer evenings. A gentle, orange glow saturates both hue and taste and accompanying subtle esters. Angel City has produced an easy-drinking, accessible alternative in this flagship beer available in 12-oz. six-packs and 22-oz. bombers. Pairs well with moderately funky cheeses and salads. (Yes, you should drink beer with your salad.)
Angeleno IPA, Angel City Brewing Co. (Downtown)
India Pale Ale; 6.1%
Another flagship from Angel City released in conjunction with Eureka! Wit, Angeleno IPA is perfect for hopheads looking to represent. Brewed with Citra, Nelson, Simcoe and Nugget hops, this copper-colored beer is especially aromatic, rounded out by earthy malt and a dry finish. Look for it in six-packs and 22-oz. bottles.
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Note: We loved Eagle Rock Brewery's official beer for L.A. Beer Week, Unity, but couldn't scare up a bottle.
Erika writes at erikabolden.com and @erikabolden. Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.