The outdoor beer festival, in theory, is genius. Sun. Fun. Beer. But often, after waiting in lines for four-ounce pours, it's more like a torturous 10-hour day at Disneyland where, on the tram ride back to the Goofy lot, you figure out you rode five rides and are $100 lighter. A better idea comes from the four craft beer auteurs who brought us ColLAboration, their inaugural pop-up outdoor beer garden in Burbank in April. And what better place to create a sun-drenched sequel than at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Gower at high noon on Saturday, June 4.
The fantastic four of the exponentially-expanding LA beer scene are Clay Harding from 38 Degrees, Brian Lenzo from Blue Palms Brewhouse, Ryan Sweeney from Surly Goat and Verdugo Bar and last, but hardly least, Tony Yanow from Tony's Darts Away and the soon-to-open beer wonderland, Mohawk Bend. Each of these brothers-in-beer is as sophisticated in their knowledge of, and access to, great craft brews as you will find in the world. Their beer bars are as good as it gets in the L.A. area. Maybe any area.
So if your idea of an idyllic Saturday is sipping exceptional craft beer in an atmosphere as chill as your backyard, this beats the hell out of the oversized-crowd-undersized-pour-festivals that are becoming as ubiquitious as bad drivers on the Westside.
The "C2" event goes all day and you can come and go as you please. All you need is love and to fork out $10 for the full-sized collector glass. Beer tokens are $6 each or four for $20. Pours will be based on the style, abv, and cost of the beer so, for example: the Lost Abbey Brandy Barrel Aged Angel's Share will be an 8 oz. pour; Russian River's always sublime Pliny the Elder will be 12 oz.; and Weistaphen Hefeweisen will be 16 oz.
"We will have specialty beers that will set even the biggest beer geeks' heads spinning, sessionable summer beers, and everything in between," says Harding. Yanow adds, "Our goal when we came up with this idea was to expose folks to great craft beer the way we and the brewers we love want it to be served." That means pours not available at other outdoor festivals where you usually get a souvenir glass not much bigger than a shot glass and you go from booth to booth, standing in line. Your palate loses the ability to enjoy the beer after four or five shots. Beer drinking shouldn't be work. It should be fun.
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Dan Becker, a beer blogger for thefullpint.com, has been to hundreds of festivals. He states, "This is hands down, the best format for an outdoor beer festival I've ever seen. It was the most organized, well thought out execution. They had great beer selection, great weather, generous pour size, and room to spread out and socialize."
Rich Marcello, co-owner of Strand Brewing, told us, "It was so refreshing for brewers that Clay, Ryan, Brian and Tony had bartenders from their own bars, who are extremely knowledgeable about the beer, doing the pouring. This freed us up to enjoy ourselves and network with our customers and one another." Yanow confirms this was one of the ColLAboration goals, saying, "Brewers want to be a part of it, socialize with one another and their fans, and enjoy themselves without being in industry mode."
You can pick up your glass in advance at any of the beer bars listed above, so you don't have to wait in line to buy one when you arrive. Food will be available from local restaurants. This ain't no bad day at Disneyland.