THE PREVIEW: The IPAs We’re Ordering at Los Angeles IPA Festival
The 7th Annual Los Angeles IPA Festival is coming up this Saturday, February 29th at Mohawk Bend, featuring West Coast-style IPAs from 60+ of the best breweries in California. If you’re over there thinking, “Wow that’s a lot of IPAs! How the hell do you try them all??” Well the answer is, you can’t. Pours are a minimum of 8 ounces and everyone has their physical and legal limits.
So, if you want to get the most out of your LA IPA Fest experience, you have to go in there with a plan. It can be incredibly easy to get overwhelmed by the beer menu and just winging it could cause you to miss out on one of the best IPAs you’ll ever have in your life.
So, to help inspire your own planning, we had some of our team put together their top 5 breweries that they’re ordering at the Los Angeles IPA Festival on Saturday.
@garyjmag – Hopped LA Founder
1. Green Cheek
Evan Price (formerly of Noble Ale Works, currently co-founder and head brewer at Greek Cheek) has won the top award at this fest more times than anyone else, so it’s safe to say he knows the winning recipe to sweep this fest. Top of my list, hands down.
2. Highland Park
When Evan hasn’t won, Bob Kunz of Highland Park Brewery has. So an easy #2 pick here. HPB is well-known for a lot of different styles, but they really shine on West Coast IPA, so my expectations are high.
3. Slice Beer Co
Coming off 2 people’s choice awards at Bistro DIPA Fest a couple weeks ago, Slice is trending up in a big way. Less than one year in at Slice, and former Moonraker brewer Zack Frasher has already hit a serious stride.
4. Riip Beer Co
It’s pretty much understood that former Beachwood brewer, Ian McCall knows West Coast IPA. He’s taken those skills learned under Beachwood brewmaster, Julian Shrago and run with them over at Riip the past couple years, turning out some of the best hoppy beers near the LA/OC border.
5. Brewery X
I waffled between a few dark horse candidates for this #5 spot, but based on my most recent experiences, I have to lean towards Brewery X. Also less than a year in, and I’ve had more than one amazing West Coast IPA at their taproom in Anaheim. We don’t see their beers much up here in LA yet, so I’m super excited to see what they brought to the fest, giving them as good of a chance as any to place in the competition.
@hops_and_highways – Hopped LA Content Team
Because I’ve had some of the IPAs on this list – like 21st Amendment’s Brew Free or Die and Burnin Daylight’s Burn One – and Green Cheek is an easy pick, what with them winning all the things, I’ve gone for my remaining must-tried here:
1. Bottle Logic Brewing
The Anaheim hype monsters are known for their insane ABV stouts, but that’s why I like the idea of their IPAs. Most people are going to go for their crazy adjunct combos, but Bottle Logic’s base is good beer, and their IPAs are just as good as their darker brews.
2. El Segundo Brewing Co
ESBC’s announcement of Clear AF was so aggressive, I can’t wait to try this 90245, which they made exclusively for the fest and is supposedly just as “brilliantly clear.”
3. Highland Park Brewing
HPB is the king of IPAs in LA proper. While they make a ton of different styles very well, they’re known for their West Coast IPAs, so I can’t imagine they’ll disappoint.
4. Kern River Brewing Co
Regardless of what kind of IPA these guys are brewing, I’ve yet to be disappointed by Kern River, so I’m expecting big things for California Lounge Chair. If it ends up gleefully rafting down a river, all the better.
5. Topa Topa
The Ventura guys use quality ingredients and know their beer science, and the proof is in the fact that they’ve consistently put out a core of delicious, sophisticated beers since the day they opened.
@cradmac – Hopped LA Content Team
1. Green Cheek
Similar reasons to what Gary already said! I’ve always admired GC and would love to see what brews they bring to celebrate.
2. Highland Park Brewery
Anytime I visit the Chinatown or Hermosillo locations I’m always struggling to find a favorite. This place always excites me and often knocks the IPAs out of the park. Hazy and West Coast alike.
3. Offshoot Beer Co
One of my very favorite hazy’s, the “relax” is a go-to and I’m excited to see they are participating this year. Retreat is also a very respectable double.
4. Mikkeller SD
On my last visit to SD I was informed about the “small batch” varieties they are trying with flagship beers like “Windy Hill”. I chose the Double Citra and loved it. Would be interesting to see if they are doing something like this for the fest. I’ve admired Mikkeller for quite some time and I’m glad they continue to explore the small-batch process.
5. Topa Topa
Happened to discover this place by accident on a trip to SB. Their beers are great and it’s become a regular stop for me when I travel up the coast.
@madebysc – Hopped LA Design Team
1. Alvarado Street
These guys have been on my list for a very long time. They have some of the best pale ales I’ve ever had and their 2-time Gold Medal winner Mai Tai P.A. at GABF in 2015 and 2018 is a delight. They constantly turn out gems and definitely looking forward to trying whatever they bring. And not from a can this time!
2. Green Cheek
Arguably the best brewery in the OC. And definitely at the top of my list for ANYTHING they’re doing. It’s always hard to pass up naming these guys on any “best-of” list.
3. El Segundo
Much like Claremont Craft Ales, their entire taplist does not disappoint. Would not be surprised to see these guys steal a top spot. They definitely know how to brew a great West Coast IPA.
4. Burgeon Beer Co.
Another brewery that I’ve never had on tap. Fun fact: My dad worked in San Clemente and would bring home random crowlers of beer from the area. Two that always stood out were Burgeon and Artifex. Edge goes to Burgeon here and their second-place finish in 2018, right behind Green Cheek, has me excited about what they’re going to bring.
5. Fall Brewing Co.
Wouldn’t say this is a dark horse pick because this is an absolute MUST in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego. When people ask me about San Diego Beer, this one always comes up. IPA’s are bold and flavorful. Never had a sub-par beer here and I think they could be a big contender.
@labeerc – Hopped LA Content Team
1. Modern Times
Modern Times is probably my favorite brewery. They have a wide variety and are always experimenting. The majority of my fav IPA’s come from them. Also, a side note, I love the atmosphere and food at the DTLA Dankness Dojo.
2. Highland Park Brewery
Highland Park’s Hazy IPAs are the best with rich full flavors. Also, love their labels.
3. Stone Brewing
Stone is the brewery that got me into IPA’s. Whenever I can’t make it to a taproom or bottle shop I know I can depend on finding a good Stone IPA at my local grocery store.