A few weeks ago, representatives from more than a half-dozen Los Angeles County breweries convened on Eagle Rock Brewery to make 2014's Unity, an annual release with a new recipe each year that commemorates the collaborative spirit in honor of L.A. Beer Week, which is being held from Sept. 20-28.
But you don't have to wait until LABW to taste this pivotal Los Angeles beer. This Friday, the final product — a seriously tame “Los Angeles Pale Ale” — will have its public debut in bottles and on draft at the Eagle Rock Brewery taproom, with wider distribution through Stone starting shortly after.
This year's Unity focuses on California by using California-Select malt donated by Country Malt Group, local citrus and California-grown Centennial and Gargoyle hops. While previous iterations of Unity have reflected L.A.'s creative spirit and love of bizarre ingredients (2011's was a tamarind-infused saison, 2012 was a series of prickly pear-infused beers, last year's a hibiscus red ale), this year's is a decidedly demure and simple pale ale, drinkable at 5.5%ABV and frill-free.
Also different this year is the fact that it was brewed by committee, and was made by a collective of L.A. County Brewers Guild members including representatives from Ohana Brewing, Timeless Pints, Wolf Creek, King Harbor, Monkish, Golden Road and Angel City. Over the years, Eagle Rock has teamed up with individual breweries or homebrewers to make Unity; and for two years, Unity came in multiple forms thanks to a theme ingredient that multiple area breweries used to make their own versions.
This year's single-batch collaboration Unity is a testament to the nascent L.A. Brewers Guild and a celebration of their taking over LABW organizing duties. (A portion of the proceeds from this year's sales will be donated to the L.A. Brewers Guild to help it continue fostering L.A.'s growing craft beer movement.) And from here on out, Unity will be brewed at a different member brewery each year, in order to highlight the differences and strengths present in the many operations around the county.
Stay tuned to Squid Ink for more information on LABW events and happenings.