Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Los Angeles closes the beer gap

Besides some great people and the Grafton Peace Pagoda, the only thing I've missed about living in the Albany area has been BEER. There are plenty of brew pubs for such a small region and I was just a little more than an hour from the Ommegang Brewery.

But some of the finest people in Los Angeles have been working to quench the city's beer drought. And this past Sunday I finally had a chance to check out some of the best—the fine folks (Jeremy and Ting) at the Eagle Rock Brewery (ironically located in Atwater Village).

Kevin (another former Albany Pump Station devotee) and I stopped by for the Sunday Tap Room hours, which are from noon to 6 p.m. Quickie review:

Excellent beers. I tried the "Manifesto," which is a Belgian-style Wit bier. WOW. I love wit beers, similar to hefeweizens but a bit brighter and sweeter. This one was the most complex wit bier I've ever had with the standard citrusy flavors complemented by a hint of rose petals and some other spicy flavors that gave it a much greater depth of flavor.

I also had the "Solidarity," which is a very dark in color beer but with a refreshingly light taste. Malty, which I much prefer over the bitterness of a hoppy beer.

And then there was a 10.8 percent alcohol beer that I forget the name of, which is a gaffe beyond the upper range of the embarrassment scale. It was very red and though hoppy had a smooth closing taste that was like a velvet touch on the bitter flavor that typically turns me off to hops.

All the beers are $5 in the tap room and I cannot recommend the place enough. Great beer, super-cool enterprising, socially conscious, and extremely friendly proprietors, free brewery tours on Sundays, a warm-vibed space to enjoy the brews and even great merch.

* A hugely important thing to note is that, with a limited staff (Jeremy, his dad and Ting) and limited budget, they decided to forego exterior signage. Also, because the building is located at the intersection of an alley and a tiny street that has no other commercial store fronts or houses nearby (read: minimal foot traffic). This means that entry is kinda speakeasyish. But it's there. Just look for the street number (3056) on the army-green door.

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