Chinese New Year officially began last Sunday, and the Year of the Snake promises change, contemplation, preparation, and perhaps most importantly, lots of good beer. That is, of course, if you're planning to spend this traditional time of reflection with a pint (or two, or three -- what the heck, it's New Year!) at Chinatown's L.A. Weekly-sponsored Chinese New Year Festival on Saturday and Sunday.
For the first time ever, the folks at Eagle Rock Brewery are hipping up the Chinese New Year Festival and 114th annual Golden Dragon Parade with a locally-curated beer garden featuring craft brews from Eagle Rock Brewery, Angel City Brewing, Monkish Brewing Company and El Segundo Brewing Company.
"We're trying to target a large audience by having a wide array of types and styles of beers," Eagle Rock Brewery co-owner Ting Su tells us. The beer garden she's curating aims to please "everyone from the craft beer aficionado to people who haven't really had much of an introduction to craft beer."
For this weekend's festival, she's enlisted Little Tokyo-based Angel City Brewing to sample their Angeleno IPA and Eureka! Wit. "Angel City Brewery is starting to produce more beer now. They had a complete change in ownership and change in the entire brand," says Su.
El Segundo Brewing Company will be pouring their Hyperion's Stout and Blue House IPA on Saturday only, and on Sunday, Torrance-based Monkish Brewery will offer their Crux Belgian pale ale and Rosa's Hips Belgian-style brown ale. Eagle Rock Brewery's Unionist Belgian pale ale and Solidarity black mild ale will be on tap all weekend.
Pair local craft beers with food truck take-out from Calbi Fusion Tacos and Burritos, Crepe'n Around, Frysmith, Greasy Weiner, Jogasaki Sushi Burritos, Trailer Park Truck and Tropical Shave Ice, among others.
"The [food truck items] with more exotic spices characteristics would probably go really well with the beers from Monkish Brewery, because [brewer Henry Nguyen] does a lot of fun spicing with his beers," says Su. But if you're going for a brat -- or a Greasy Weiner -- pair it with a good Belgian pale ale. "Unionist would be awesome, or an IPA would also go great with something like that."
If you're eating something sweeter, like Tropical Shave Ice, Su recommends pairing it with El Segundo Brewery's Hyperion's Stout. "Or Solidarity would work great with desserts as well, because of the roast quality."
But no matter which breweries and food trucks you decide to indulge in, Su says "it's all about supporting local business, supporting local beer. Giving people the option for proper beer in a proper beer garden will hopefully encourage them to check out a pretty cool part of town."
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