Beers of the Month: The 5 Best New LA Beers We Drank in May 2020
The summer season officially kicked off last weekend, and with it came bluer skies, warmer temps and lagers as far as the eyes could see.
And by with it, we mean it looked exactly like the weekend before, because it’s always the same temperature in Los Angeles. Also, we’re not going anywhere any time soon. (I did, however, blow up a kiddie pool in a backyard while sampling local brews, which I highly recommend if you want to pretend life is sort of, kind of normal even though it totally isn’t.)
While we still aren’t able to go into taprooms yet here in Los Angeles County, we have continued to support local, loading up on four-packs as we (safely) traverse the region from Torrance to Covina and everywhere in between. We are admittedly an IPA-happy group here at Hopped LA, and there were quite a few new brews to quench our hophead desires. Here are our five favorite new L.A. beers from this past month.
1. Tarantula Hill Brewing Co’s SaaahBro?
Ok so technically this one is not LA, but Thousand Oaks is close enough and Tarantula Hills’ usage of the Sabro hop in this beer really took me by surprise. Typically, every Sabro-forward beer that I’ve encountered has been an over the top sweet coconut bomb that totally overwhelmed the experience. But this one featured Sabro in a complementary way rather than in-your-face, and it paid off big time. The label identifies itself as a West Coast IPA, but this one leaned way more to the “Juicy” side with a soft mouthfeel, really restrained bitterness, and big cotton candy, ripe tangerine, some earthy coconut, and a kiss of lemon-lime zest. The bright flavors followed the bright can and I was pleasantly surprised from start to finish.
– Gary Magnone, Hopped LA Founder
2. Arrow Lodge Brewing’s Communion Juice
I know, I know — never judge a beer by its label. But in this case, I had to. I am a sucker for all things Keith Haring, so when I saw two of his famous figures greeting me from a 16 oz. IPA can, I knew I had to imbibe. Luckily, the suds inside were worthy of the purchase. The beer pours pale yellow with a distinct haze, though it’s not announced as a hazy on the label. It is, however, considered a New England-style IPA in its Untappd listing. It’s a bit deceiving, as Vic Secret, Galaxy, and Enigma hops blend to provide this 6.8% ABV beer with a resiny kick and floral finish. Regardless of whatever kind of IPA it wishes to be called, Communion Juice is hop-forward without being in your face and feels like a beer you can share with a pal — as long as they’re sitting six feet away from you.
– Emily Krauser, Hopped LA Contributor
3. Monkish Brewing’s IdonteverEVERwanttoBU
This beer is absolutely delightful! On the nose, the Torrance-brewed version of The Veil’s IBU series, this 9.3% ABV brew has a strong tropical and slightly piney aroma. The first sip was a bit deceptive, as it was hardy bitter at all for a double dry-hopped beer, but as you continue to enjoy it, the Citra and Mosaic hop profiles start to pop forward. It’s a wonderfully drinkable beer that doesn’t linger a moment too long but leaves you craving that next can.
– Conrad Ytuarte, Hopped LA Content Team
4. Beachwood Blendery’s Illuminaire
While I’m not drinking sour beers as much as I did a few years back, I was really excited to get the recent release of Illuminaire from Beachwood Blendery. This beer is their first 100% spontaneous fruited gueuze-inspired blend, this batch being a blend of one-, two-, and three-year-old oak barrels with peaches. Once I opened this baby up, I knew I was in for a treat. The nose was relatively muted but once I spent enough time with it, conjured up up images of dusty, fuzzy peach skins in a wooden basket. On the taste, I got an earthy sweetness that was like biting into a fresh peach, combined with a delicate funk that was like a musty basement floor – in the best way possible! The acidity on this beer was light and carbonation was bright upfront and faded quickly. For fruited sour fans, this beer is excellent right now, but if your palate favors a little more of the funk, let this one sit awhile and let the bugs do their work.
5. Ogopogo Brewing’s Archers on Lunch Break (collaboration with North Park Beer Company)
What a wonderfully tingly, juicy experience from Ogopogo and North Park! The big flavors and aromas of vanilla, juicy citrus, and stone fruit gave way subtly to a spicy, grassy, and almost piney hint of the Mosaic hops in this lovely milkshake IPA. The lactose presence is enough to create a smooth and creamy finish but is not overwhelmingly heavy nor sweet, and the medium-bodied mouthfeel seemed to dance with the carbonation.