Lovers of locally crafted brew, rejoice: L.A. Beer Week is upon us.
But where to begin celebrating the more than 50 breweries now in L.A. County? And how to plan your attack of the overwhelming calendar of craft beer events happening during the next nine days? There are hundreds of tap takeovers, pub crawls, beer dinners, educational seminars and festivals to pour through (har har).
Fear not, fellow drinkers, for we’ve scoured the list and chosen our top two picks for each day of LABW (except the last one). Attend one or the other, or if you’re feeling gutsy (and Uber-y), do both. There's a lot of great beer to be drunk this week.
Saturday, June 18
L.A. Beer Week Kickoff Festival
Center Studios, 450 S. Bixel St., downtown; noon-4 p.m.; $45. Tickets available here.
Even if you hate beer festivals, there’s nothing quite like tapping into the beer community. Forty-six of the 48 L.A. Brewers Guild members — even the far-flung ones from Lancaster and Claremont — will be pouring at this all-day celebration of local brews, along with some of California’s best breweries not usually available in L.A. (see: Ventura’s Topa Topa, Santa Cruz’s Santa Adairius, San Diego’s Societe and San Francisco’s Cellarmaker). It’s the only proper way to start LABW.
Pizza Party! (LABW Kickoff Afterparty)
El Segundo Brewing, 140 Main St., El Segundo; 6 p.m.; free. elsegundobrewing.com.
Who doesn’t want to feel like an adult Ninja Turtle and gorge on pizza alongside some of L.A.’s best hoppy beers? The pizza will be free, the India Pale Lager will be fresh, and the brewery is promising some “extra special guests.”
Sunday, June 19
Brouwerij West, 110 E. 22nd St., San Pedro; noon-8 p.m.; free. brouwerijwest.com.
San Pedro’s Brouwerij West is going to be throwing free local music festivals monthly this summer, starting with this one during LABW, which also will see the debut of a new German-style pilsner, Popfuji. Long Beach and Pedro bands including Bombón, furcast, Mike Watt + The Missingmen and Rudy de Anda are playing. Did we mention it’s free?!
Cask and Ye Shall Receive/Macleod Ale 2nd Anniversary
Macleod Ales, 14741 Calvert St., Van Nuys; noon-10 p.m.; $14.99-$50. Tickets available here.
This is a serious twofer — British ale–focused Valley brewery Macleod is celebrating its second birthday and hosting another round of Cask and Ye Shall Receive. As L.A.’s most epic celebration of “real ales,” Cask and Ye Shall Receive will have 25 breweries pumping and pouring cask beers in the old-world tradition (Macleod alone will have 15 beers). Panel discussions with homebrewers, lots of barbecue and live music round out the day.
Monday, June 20
Pink Boots Society Takeover at Three Weavers
Three Weavers, 1031 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood; 4-9 p.m.; $30. Tickets available here.
Drink up for a good cause at Three Weavers’ second annual Pink Boots Society takeover, a mini beer festival of sorts, which fills up the entire Inglewood brewery with jockey boxes of beer from local and not-so-local breweries. Plus, 100 percent of proceeds from ticket sales will fund scholarships for women in the beer industry.
Alex’s Bar, 2913 E. Anahim St., Long Beach; 8 p.m.; free. alexsbar.com.
Watch your favorite brewers as they sing along to Journey, Spice Girls, Misfits or whatever else their hearts desire when this LABW tradition returns to Alex’s Bar for the third year. You can sign up to sing along, too, or just sit back and sip from special kegs from Beachwood, King Harbor and more. Prizes go to the best performances.
Tuesday, June 21
Eagle Rock Brewery’s Battle of the Bands
The Echoplex, 1822 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; 6 p.m.; $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Tickets available here.
A slightly more organized affair than Brewers Karaoke, Battle of the Bands features a whopping 15 musical acts composed of brewers and employees from some of the region’s top breweries. Staff from Noble Ale Works, Sunset Beer Company, Highland Park Brewery and more have been practicing for weeks. Don’t leave them playing to an empty room.
The Business of Beer
Craft Beer Cellar, 24667 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance; 7 p.m.; free. torrance.craftbeercellar.com.
Want to know what it takes to open a brewery in L.A. County? Get schooled by an owner and a brewer — Chris Briles from Cosmic Ales and Andy Black from Yorkshire Square Brewery — from Torrance’s soon-to-open breweries as they overshare everything from cutting through the red tape to finding the right location.
Wednesday, June 22
Drink Beer Like a Belgian Brewmaster’s Dinner
Ladyface Ale Companie, 29281 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills; 6 p.m.; $65. Tickets available here.
Ladyface’s quarterly beer dinners are works of art in four courses, with brewer David Griffiths collaborating with executive chef Daniel Mattern (formerly of Cook’s County) on a meal to educate and inspire. For the LABW dinner, Belgian-style beers are the focus, and Ladyface dug into the cellar for some special pours. Learn about historic brewing and aging traditions while eating your fill.
Local Cider and Mead Experience
Great Society Cider and Mead, 601 E. Broadway, Long Beach; 7 p.m.; free. greatsocietycider.com.
During this week of beer celebration, let us not forget our gluten-free brethren, cider and mead, which are having a craft renaissance of their own. Honest Abe is L.A.’s original cider maker, and its crew will be bringing you a lineup of local ciders and meads (cider is made from fruit, mead from honey) to pair with food from the kitchen at L.A. County’s first bar devoted to ciders and mead.
Thursday, June 23
Battle of the Guilds: LABW Edition
Naja’s Place, 154 International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach; 8 p.m.; free. najasplace.com.
Now a California craft beer tradition, the Battle of the Guilds finds one bar during each city’s beer week to host a tap takeover of kegs from San Diego, San Francisco and, of course, L.A. Brewers from the represented breweries show up, drink beer and argue about who has the better scene. Taste your way through the state in one night at one of L.A.’s original craft beer bars.
DTLA Breweries United (Beer Crawl)
Start at any of the five loop breweries! 6-10 p.m.; free.
Downtown L.A. is home to seven breweries, up from only one a year ago, meaning that a serious bar crawl is now in order. For one night only, the five Arts District breweries with tasting rooms (Angel City, Arts District, Boomtown, Mumford and Iron Triangle) will be part of a hop-on-hop-off bus loop, meaning you can try all the new downtown flavors at once. The last two, Dry River Brewing and Indie Brewing, will be represented at Boomtown and Arts District, respectively.
Friday, June 24
BFE Fest 2016
Wolf Creek Brewery, 25108 Rye Canyon Loop, Valencia; 6-9 p.m.; $15-$35. Tickets available here.
L.A. County is vast, and there is tons of great beer being made in such far-flung cities as Valencia, Pomona, San Fernando and more. For the second year, Wolf Creek Brewery is welcoming around a dozen of these “perimeter” breweries to pour at BFE Fest, which we think is a BFD.
Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown; 4-7 p.m.; free. acehotel.com.
Angel City Brewery is taking over the rooftop pool at the Ace Hotel, turning it into a tasting room outfitted with corn hole, Social IPA, LAger, Salted Caramel Gose and more. With the record-breaking heat wave expected to last straight through LABW, you might be craving a dip in cold water. Might as well do it with a local beer in hand.
Saturday, June 25
Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America
Queen Mary Waterfront Events Park, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach; 1-5 p.m.; $50-$75. Tickets available here.
The L.A. and Inland Empire brewers guild are teaming up to present one of the biggest roving beer fests in the country — Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp — which makes its Southwest stop in Long Beach. Every brewery in the country is invited to every iteration; as a result, 152 breweries are going to be pouring, most of which don’t usually distribute in California. You’ll never get through it all, but you might as well try.
The Gold Line Pub Crawl
Start anywhere along the Gold Line; 11 a.m.; free.
The craft beer bars along the Gold Line would like you to know that they appreciate L.A. beer and are easily accessible by public transportation. Enter: the Gold Line Pub Crawl, wherein bars including Wolf and Crane, Melody Lounge, Lucky Baldwins and the Greyhound feature tap takeovers from local breweries such as Mumford, Smog City, Craftsman and Solarc.
Sunday, June 26
Block Party 3.0 With Smog City, Monkish and Phantom Carriage
Glendale Tap, 4227 San Fernando Road, Glendale; 5 p.m.; free. glendaletap.com.
An LABW closing-day tradition, Glendale Tap’s Block Party features specialty kegs from South Bay breweries that are all neighbors. This year, Phantom Carriage has been added to the Monkish and Smog City mix, meaning you’ll get to wind down from the previous eight days of craft beer chaos with sours, juicy IPAs and hop bombs — while previewing the new outdoor patio at Glendale Tap, one of northeast L.A.’s best neighborhood craft beer bars.