Brouwerij West is such a known name in the Belgian-style beer community, it's easy to forget their nomadic nature and under-the-radar local presence. Despite his Southern California base, owner Brian Mercer has been taking his artistically-minded craft brewery on a four year journey up and down the California coast, gypsy brewing where he could while expanding his distribution to 30 states and a handful of countries. If you've ever had a hard time tracking down the taproom for Brouwerij West, it's probably because one doesn't exist.

Well, didn't exist. There's one on the way now, a massive Port of Los Angeles space in San Pedro that's grand enough in scope — a full restaurant and taproom, with on-site brewing — to turn every L.A. beer lover's head southward. And to help christen the upcoming space, Brouwerij West has teamed up with chefs like Betty Fraser, Eric Greenspan and Brendan Collins to host The Festival 2014, at late-season food and drink party down at the port.


The two-day party plans to include some 70 different craft breweries on site at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles, the WWII-era building that Brouwerij West is nestling its 43,000 square foot operation into.

Collins, of Waterloo & City fame, will actually be heading up the eventual on-site brewery restaurant, and plans to showcase his classic fish and chips recipe, with Greenspan doing (what else?) grilled cheese, Fraser making sliders and the Tacos Punta Cabras guys pushing wood-fired pizzas. Beer comes by way of breweries as diverse as Norway's Nøgne Ø, Belgium's vaunted Westvleteren and locals like the award-winning Beachwood BBQ, Faction and Firestone Walker.

Both Saturday, Nov. 8 and Sunday, Nov. 9 are clipped into four-hour sessions at $40-$45 apiece, while full-day passes and a weekend bonanza ticket gets drinkers into every hour of the festival for $160. Better still, a portion of the proceeds go towards Sharefest, which dedicates itself to strengthening local communities through social action and education.

The Festival 2014 is produced in conjunction with Shelton Brothers distributing and is a great all-around way to experience the local beer and food scene at the lovingly revitalized Port of Los Angeles, while enjoying beer, cider and mead from some of the world's finest producers. And who knows, you might even be able to catch a glimpse of Brian Mercer, the man behind the mysterious Brouwerij West.

The Festival 2014 runs Nov. 8 – 9 at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles, 112 E 22nd St #10, Los Angeles, CA 90731.

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LA Weekly