To the casual drinker, a beer and food pairing might mean ordering a pizza with their pint. But to the folks at L.A. Beer Week, which starts tomorrow and goes until June 25, it’s a chance not only to celebrate the connections between beer and food but to educate consumers to its perks and explore its farthest reaches.
While combining chef-driven food with craft beer is not a new concept — many of the city’s top restaurants and gastropubs have been putting on L.A. Beer Week events like this for years — this year’s lineup feels different. There are exciting meals being put on by chefs who have always included beer as part of their culinary palate; friendly compeititions that pit beer against other alcoholic beverage pairings to see which one diners love the most; and oddball match-ups that will have you eating things like doughnuts with your brew. Not to mention all the new breweries, brewpubs and restaurants participating this year.
The sheer diversity of events involving food and craft beer this L.A. Beer Week is a reflection of the scene itself. Here are eight ways this week to have your beer and eat it, too.
Sunday, June 18
Dads Do BEERrunch
Sausal, 219 Main St., El Segundo; 10:30 a.m.; $55
Once again, L.A. Beer Week falls on Father’s Day, letting you double dip by celebrating local independent beer while treating ol’ pops to some of the coolest food-pairing events of the year. For #LABW9, Anne Conness — who’s been cooking with beer in mind since she helped start Simmzy’s Manhattan Beach in 2007 — is hosting a dads “BEERrunch” at her latest endeavor, Sausal. This means six beers from South Bay favorites Smog City and El Segundo Brewing spread over four courses of Conness’ contemporary Mexican food, complete with meet-and-greet with the brewers, a supervised kids play area and brewery swag.
Monday, June 19
Beer vs. Wine dinner with Cellador Ales
The Local Peasant, 22901 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills; 7 p.m.; $75. Email email@example.com for reservations.
It’s a question that’s plagued man for ages: Which drink pairs better with food, beer or wine? L.A. Beer Week is as good a time as ever to put this age-old conundrum to rest, and the Local Peasant in Woodland Hills is here to help. In this special version of its occasional dinner series “Beer Vs. Wine,” the restaurant will present a five-course chef’s meal with both a beer and a wine pairing at every course, selected by Kevin and Sara Osborne of Cellador Ales and local sommelier Chris Webb, respectively. Each side gets a chance to explain their pairing and defend it against the other side’s selection; your only job is to eat, drink and pick a winner.
Smog City’s Lucky 7s
Beer Belly Long Beach; 255 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach; 5 p.m.
This year marks the first L.A. Beer Week when old-guard craft beer bar Beer Belly has a second location at which to curate ultra-nerdy events. In downtown Long Beach, Beer Belly’s expanded bro-food-and-local-beer concept includes more taps, more heavy food and a liquor license that means it can curate a special R&D cocktail bar in the back room. On Monday, all of Beer Belly Long Beach’s comforts will be on deck for a night with Smog City Brewing being dubbed Lucky 7s. This means you can graze your way through seven Smog City Beers beers, seven custom cocktails and seven food pairings crafted by chef Wes Lieberher (the inventor of Death by Duck Fries). It’s a casino-themed night where everyone gets lucky.
Wednesday, June 21
Beer Dinner with Brewer Ben
Firestone Walker Propagator, 3205 Washington Blvd., Venice; 6 p.m.; $35
Firestone Walker’s Venice outpost was barely a wee themed restaurant pouring beers from the Paso Robles brewery during last year’s L.A. Beer Week, but now it’s a full-on brewpub called the Propagator, with an experimental brewer at the helm of a brand-new, small-batch system that’s making local beers with L.A. in mind. Join Propagator brewer Ben Maushardt as he teams up with Firestone Walker chef Justin Lewis to pair Propagator-brewed beers with four Lewis dishes. This is a rare chance to try new beers from one of the best breweries in the country alongside original, pub-loving grub.
Valley Suds Beer Dinner
Twisted Oak Tavern, 30105 Agoura Road, Westlake Village; 7 p.m.; $65. Call (818) 735-0091 for reservations.
The San Fernando Valley was once L.A.’s holdout beer desert, but today it’s home to its own community of breweries, from 8 one 8 Brewing and Hand Brewed Beer in the west to San Fernando Brewery and more to the east. For L.A. Beer Week, Twisted Oak Tavern in Westlake Village — home to the Lab Brewing, one of the county’s older brewpubs — is crafting a five-course beer dinner with appearances from four fellow Valley beer-makers. Hand Brewed, 8 one 8 and San Fernando will be in attendance, along with cask-loving MacLeod Ale in Van Nuys and, of course, the Lab. Come early for the appetizer course and a “Meet the Brewers” reception, stay for the scratch-made meal.
Thursday, June 22
L.A. Beer Week Pairing Dinner featuring Three Weavers
Eagle Rock Public House, 1627 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock; 6:30 p.m.; $80. Call (323)739-0081 for reservations.
It’s a cross-county meeting of the minds when Eagle Rock Public House’s executive chef Jeremy Su collaborates on a beer dinner with brewmaster Alexandra Nowell of Inglewood’s Three Weavers Brewing. Su is known for pushing boundaries with the cheffy food he serves daily alongside Eagle Rock Brewing’s beer, and Nowell is a beast in the brewhouse, making batch after batch of killer, creative brews that go great with thoughtful meals. Together, they’ve created a five-course beer pairing dinner that comes with a slice of education — Su and Nowell will discuss each course with an emphasis on the journey that is combining food and beer. Get better acquainted with one of the best brewers in L.A. at this intimate event that’s a must for food lovers, too.
#DrinkLocal #LABeer Foodie local brewery & food pairing
Ladyface Ale Companie; 29281 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills; 4-8 p.m.; $35. Buy tickets here.
As one of L.A.’s early craft-beer leaders, Ladyface Ale Companie has always been a bastion of brewpub excellence, with the idea of pairing food with its beer built into its very core. For L.A. Beer Week, Ladyface is hosting a casual beer-pairing mini-fest and inviting some friends along. Six off-menu, beer-ready small plates will be available, and the bar will expand to feature some of the top independent breweries around, including newcomers such as Lucky Luke, Cellador and Simmzy’s Burbank. With L.A. Beer Week Unity beer — made at El Segundo with the help of more than 80 local brewers — on tap and music on the patio, it promises to be a citywide celebration of community, food and, of course, beer.
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Saturday, June 24
PBWS Collaborative Beer Dinner 002: Homage Brewing
Public Beer Wine Shop, 121 W. Fourth St., Long Beach; $75; 5-8:30 p.m. Buy tickets here.
Without the luxury of his modern Mexican restaurant Corazon y Miel (it closed last year), the small cold kitchen at chef Eddie Ruiz’s Long Beach venture Public Beer Wine Shop has become home to some of his latest food experiments. Earlier this year, in an attempt to flex his creative muscle further, Ruiz and partners called in Cellador Ales for a one-off beer dinner that paired funky sours with Latin flavors, with both the brewers and chef mingling about. During L.A. Beer Week, Public Beer Wine gives the collaborative beer dinner treatment to Pomona’s Homage Brewing, which is bringing unreleased beers for the occasion, including an exclusive brew made with barrel-aged 2nd Craft Coffee.
Sunday, June 25
Beer & Donut Pairing with Donut Friend
Craft Beer Cellar, 1353 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock; 2-4 p.m.
The connections between L.A.’s music and craft beer industries are vast, all the way down to the annual L.A. Beer Week Battle of the Bands, in which brewery employees play in cover bands (this year at the Hi Hat!). Now, the connection gets even weirder as Donut Friend’s ’90s punk- and emo-themed doughnuts get the beer-pairing treatment at Craft Beer Cellar in Eagle Rock. Eat mini-doughnuts like Javabreaker and Poppyghandi from the Highland Park shop along with a flight of four 4-ounce beers, each carefully selected to complement the doughnut’s wacky flavors. Rock on!