The Vegan Beer Festival this Saturday, May 4, from 1-5 p.m., is set to delight buzz-seaking meat-abstainers of Southern California for the fourth year. By popular demand the venue for the beer and food celebration was recently upgraded to the lot across from The Roxy Theatre, nearly doubling the capacity for this year's meatless merrymaking.
Co-hosts Tony's Darts Away, The Roxy and L.A. vegan blogger Quarry Girl have corralled local beer from Golden Road, Monkish, El Segundo, Cismontane, Noble Ale Works, TAPS, and Bootlegger's along with California staples Sierra Nevada, Anchor, and Lagunitas and many, many more. Ticket holders will receive a tasting glass for unlimited samples from the 40+ breweries, access to over 30 vegan food vendors, and live music from a number of bands toting vegan-friendly names.
Most people react with surprise upon hearing that beer isn't always vegan and that there is an entire festival devoted to those that are animal-free.
In order for IPAs to look clear and not cloudy (like a wheat beer) some sort of clarifying agent or method must be employed. Many brewers use gelatin finings or more traditionally, isinglass (fish bladder) — both animal sources — to achieve that clarity. Alternatively, brewers can buy a centrifuge (i.e. super fancy brewing toy) through which they run beer to extract the yeast sediments and proteins that cause the cloudiness, but this process can be financially prohibitive to small operations. Golden Road owner Tony Yanow explains the process on Good Food last week with Quarry Girl.
Because none of the gelatin finings remain in the beer, the degree of animal product to which you are exposed while imbibing is so negligible that a bug floating at its surface will introduce more living matter to your pint. If you're a lifestyle vegan that's still too much. Many beers are more obviously non-vegan — recipes with honey, or milk sugar (lactose) — but especially new beers containing bacon or the headline-seeking Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout from Wynkoop Brewing.
This is a festival to celebrate vittles sans beast but if veganism doesn't interest you the relative affordability and beer lineup alone is reason enough to attend. If you're hungry, sustain yourself on bites from Mohawk Bend, Gracias Madre, STREET and Cafe Gratitude. With a belly full of local beer and a banh mi from Mandoline Grill the absence of meat will seem merely circumstantial.
Find more information including a complete list of brewers and vendors on the event page L.A. Vegan Beer Fest. Buy tickets here: $40 ($50 day-of), or early entry and access to specialty kegs with a VIP ticket for $50 ($60 day-of), designated driver tickets available. Gear up for the event with this fun promo video from last year's gathering of super nifty beer-loving Angelenos.
L.A. Vegan Beer Fest: 8950 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood.
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