Beer Bros: Brouwerij West gets canned (and other Hoppy Happenins)
by Ed Solt
“Life’s too short to drink shitty beer,” I’ve heard once or twice from craft beer veterans ridiculing me years ago, while I stabbed a hole into a can of Silver Bullet CL Smoothie. As local craft beer becomes more mainstream, it’s now possible to shotgun (if you dare, a potent IPA) a can of your favorite local craft beer. Besides a few trailblazing craft breweries, traditionally bottles have been the chosen container for hoppy stoke. In the last year, the convenience of cans has been embraced. Strand Brewing Company is offering their popular selections in 18 packs and six packs while King Harbor Brewing Company offers six packs of limited releases. San Pedro’s Brouwerij West, named by LA Weekly and Thrillist as “Best New Brewery” of 2016, recently jumped into the canning craze.
“It does seem that cans are becoming more accepted at the same time craft beer continues to push into the mainstream, but it’s hard to say if there’s any connection between these trends or if it’s just two related trends that are progressing in parallel,” said Brian Garrido of Brouwerij West.
Garrido notes that cans maintain the quality of beer better than bottles.
“They have lower oxygen pick-up and allow zero light in — oxygen and light are both bad for beer,” he said. “And they’re generally a better package for the environment — they’re lighter, so their carbon footprint from transportation is lower, and they’re more likely to be recycled.”
Beer in cans and some sort of outdoor activity (not just shotgunning) go hand-and-hand.
“Consumers have until recently looked at beer from cans as inferior, but that is finally changing and there seems to be acceptance of the can as a package that can carry great beer,” Garrido said. “Plus, they’re fun! So, with all this in mind, we feel that our beer is perfectly at home in a can and perhaps we can reach more people who may not be interested in bottled beer by putting it in cans.”
Available next week, Brouwerij West is releasing at its tasting room can-conditioned versions of its two most popular beers: Dog Ate My Homework, a Belgian-style saison or farmhouse ale made with a high concentration of raw wheat in the malt bill, and Mor Mor, a Belgian-style quadruple/dark strong ale.
“Dog Ate My Homework is very berry-forward, highly carbonated, and dry, not sweet like many fruit beers. Lots of fresh blackberry give the beer its deep purple/red color. At 7 percent ABV, it’s still light and drinkable,” he said. “Mor Mor is 12.5 percent and contains mostly European barley and two types of sugar, one of which is a highly-caramelized sugar that has a dark chocolate flavor and aroma. The beer is deep red/black in color, very dry, and has chocolate, fruity, and yeasty aromas and flavors.”
We sat down over the holidays with reigning Queen of Naja’s Place, Kara Smail, to get the skinny on the “Fear No Beer” Mecca happenins’. She informed us that Naja’s will be tapping noted Anaheim Brewery Noble Ale Works’ Naughty Sauce, a Milk/Sweet Stout brewed in collaboration with Portola Coffee Lab
“People go apeshit over Naughty Sauce,” Smail said. “We also still have a strong selection of Strong Ales, high octane stuff.”
On Thursday January 19, Naja’s will be showing all three “Decline of Western Civilization” documentaries and “Suburbia.”
Bill Baker of Zymurgy Brew Works and Tasting Room said, “We will have a five-gallon special going on for the month of January. Normally, we only offer 5 gallons on Tuesday Nights, but for the month of January our “Brew Year” Special is customers can brew 5 gal batches on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays.”
The Los Angeles Brewers Guild is kicking off the new year with a brand-new event on Saturday January 28. The inaugural L.A. Beer & Food Festival lands in Silverlake and will featured unlimited tastes from 45 Los Angeles-area craft breweries as well as complimentary bites from local food partners.
Nigel Heath from Absolution Brewing Company said all’s well that ends well. “2016 ended in the best possible way with a couple that met at the brewery getting engaged,” Heath said. “He went down on one knee and proposed in the tap room. A complimentary membership of our VIP MUG club went to the happy couple.”
Thursday, January fifth, is SUSHI night — special pairings of custom sushi in the Absolution tasting room by The Sushi Institute, 5 to 9 p.m. The brewery also hosts free yoga Saturday, January 7 from 10 to 11 a.m.
“Don’t miss our new East Coast style tropical IPA — a very limited release,” Heath said. “Don’t forget Monday night is Growler night — fills from just $13.”
To contribute to the brew of local craft beer culture, email ESolt@EasyReaderNews.com. ER