L.A. Beer Week was a 14-day nonstop party that required four days of recovery. But what a blast. Dozens of events at beer bars across Los Angeles were packed with beer fans, new and old alike. After some reflection, we made our picks for the five best beers we tasted during those two exhilarating weeks. Share your own favorites in the comment section; we're always excited about beers we haven't tried. That's the camaraderie we love about the L.A. craft beer community, and that's what makes it strong.
NOTE: Our Top 5 IPAs in the World list elicited an email from a reader asking for tasting notes on each beer. We respectfully replied that we're more interested in telling stories about the great beers, fantastic beer bars and wonderful brewers we encounter as we drink our way through the city. As for the beer itself, we don't like to overanalyze its elements. We simply want to enjoy it, and we hope you enjoy it too. For tasting notes, we recommend Beer Advocate and Rate Beer.5. Dogfish Head Bitches Brew. Imperial Stout (9% ABV).
We actually missed this relatively rare beer at the Far Bar Dogfish Head/The Bruery Collaboration event when we got caught up drinking The Bruery's Oude Tart as if we had just found a canteen of water after being lost in the desert for a week. Luckily, we found it at Naja's Dogfish Night later in the week and it lived up to the hype. Dark, rich and delicious (there's your tasting notes), the beer was brewed in honor of, and named for the 40th Anniversary of Miles Davis' iconic album. Beer doesn't get much cooler than that.4. Ballast Point Indra Kunindra. Stout (9% ABV).
Only three venues got to have this incredibly unique beer, Naja's, Blue Palms, and Far Bar. We don't know how Far Bar beer sensei Jimmy Smith got the BP crew to bring it up from San Diego, but we're damn glad he did. Unlike anything we've had, this beer explodes with flavors such as curry, cayenne pepper, cumin and toasted coconut. It was kind of like having a spicy Indian meal liquefied in a glass. Head-shakingly good and, best of all, different. This could have easily been our number one beer of the week.3. The Bruery Oude Tart. Flemish Red Sour (7.5% ABV).
This is one of our favorite beers anytime the Rue Crue brews a batch, and we keep it stocked in our fridge at home. Still, there's nothing better than having it fresh on draft, so, as previously mentioned, we got so excited to see it at Far Bar, we forgot to drink anything else. If you like mellow sours with superbly balanced flavor, it's that good. Head brewer Tyler King took a traditional Belgian style dating back centuries and made it better. That's just how they do it at The Bruery.