The folks over at L.A. Beer Week have been hard at work the last 12 months planning and scheming and organizing for the ten-day celebration of craft beer that officially begins this Thursday.

And as our favorite time of year approaches again, we can't help but notice that the first two events of the season are not as much about consuming our favorite local suds as they are about displaying the art produced by it.

That's right: two art exhibitions inspired by beer and all its cultural greatness are being tied in to this year's beer week, proving that in Los Angeles, the reach of craft beer can and does extend well beyond the taps.

We suggest hitting up the shows at La Luz de Jesus and Mohawk Bend early in the week. They will make great palate cleansers for the overwhelming multitude of brewery events, beer dinners and tastings that will be happening across the city through Sept. 29. Turn the page for more info on both.

Work by Plasticgod (left) and Kim Zsebe; Credit: La Luz de Jesus gallery

Work by Plasticgod (left) and Kim Zsebe; Credit: La Luz de Jesus gallery

Beer is Art: The Coaster Show

A collaboration between the L.A. Beer Week crew and artistic Yeastside Homebrew Club founders, the Bakofsky Brothers, “The Coaster Show” asked more than 100 artists from across the visual spectrum to create custom, bar-doodle-inspired works on — you guessed it — coasters.

But you'll never want to set your sweating glass on these 4″ tondos. Instead, they are tiny works of art in themselves, each one hand crafted for the show and tacked on a wall — nearly 700 in all — arranged side by side and stacked to the ceiling in a grid of circular canvasses never before compiled.

Everyone from painters to cartoonists to tattoo artists submitted works in crayon, pencil, watercolor and paper for the show and subjects range from landscapes to celebrities to drunk cartoon bunnies. One piece by Jessica Dalva is even three dimensional–a stark white nude emerging from a barren coaster, her face hiding her hands as if she had too many barleywines.

Other highlights include Plasticgod's fictional Star Wars beer coasters, Lauren Gardiner's anus-face portraits, Jeff McMillan's realistic cat drawings and Kim Zsebe's mixed media collages that turned used beer cans into halos for religious figures.

Most of the work isn't about beer per se, but the spirit of craft runs deep. Definitely one of the more interesting shows put on in the back room of Wacko.

“Beer Is Art: The Coaster Show” runs through Sept. 29 at La Luz de Jesus gallery, 4633 Hollywood Blvd. For more information, visit

Credit: Courtesy of Bernie Wire

Credit: Courtesy of Bernie Wire

I Shoot Beer People: Photos by Bernie Wire

If you've been to a beer event in L.A. in the last few years, you've no doubt seen Bernie Wire. Toting around an infectious smile and a professional camera, the beer scene's unofficial documentarian is constantly snapping shots at beer releases, bottle shares, tap takeovers, beer festivals and just about anywhere that people gather around a good toast.

Some of L.A.'s greatest brewers, advocates and fans have stared down the lens of Wire's camera and his Facebook page, “Friends of Local Beer,” is constantly being uploaded with albums from the latest craft beer event you wish you had attended.

But Wire's photos are more than just elevated club photography. Through heavy-handed pours and strong ale festivals, he manages to maintain steady hands and an eye for composition, and consistently churns out photojournalism-quality snapshots of a burgeoning scene in motion.

Recently, Wire's work has begun to appear in local publications like Westcoaster SoCal and even here at Squid Ink (see: our story on The Dudes' Brewing's first beer releases), but it is on the walls of the Ramona Room at Mohawk Bend where his most interesting selections will hang for the next month.

Pictures of everyone from Eagle Rock Brewery's Jeremy Raub to Stone Brewing's Greg Koch to local brewery reps and festival goers are being displayed alongside artistic still lifes of brewing systems and poured beers. Catch this show before it becomes a coffee table book about the history of L.A. beer.

I Shoot Beer People at Mohawk Bend: 2141 W. Sunset Blvd. Opening reception, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Runs through Oct. 31.

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