How’s not leaving your house/apartment/condo/pillow fort treating you? Good? Us, too. Except, to be honest, we have been leaving our house… for beer. Truly, some of the only times we’ve seen the sun since stay-at-home orders have been in effect have been to pick up groceries, attempt to walk six feet away from our neighbors (it’s freakin’ impossible — do you know how many people live in Los Angeles?!), and to support our local breweries. (Thank you for not staring at me like I’m crazy on my near-daily pickups, Mumford staff!)
Supporting local has always been a focal point at Hopped LA, but amid the coronavirus outbreak, we’ve doubled down. We’re picking up more four-packs than ever and drinking crowlers like we’ve never seen them before. Hopped LA founder Gary Mangione has been going hard on his Doing Good series, made this insanely detailed to-go beer finder map, and has launched pre-orders for I <3 LA Beer shirts to support local beer industry folks in these crazy times (created with Hopped LA contributor Sal and local design-and-print shop Craftin’ CA). We’ve also had some rad Hopped LA virtual beer shares, and I’ve interviewed some of the fine folks running breweries around the county and will soon be sharing stories on how they’ve pivoted over the last seven weeks (so stay tuned for those!).
But now, the reason you’re here: The best current beers in the City of Angels! We’ve had plenty of time on our hands to try fresh AF suds, and unlike the first three months of 2020, a lot of these are still available in crowlers for pick-ups and deliveries. So, get drinking and keep supporting!
1. El Segundo Brewing Company’s Blurred Lines
A couple of years back, when El Segundo was purely a West Coast hop machine, they began dabbling in experimentations with the Hazy IPA style. One of their early efforts was Blurred Lines, a 7.2% Hybrid IPA that recently made its triumphant return, this time in blue 16-ounce cans! I am a huge proponent of the “Hybrid IPA style,” and Blurred Lines pulls it off so well. Citra and Mosaic give it that big tropical pineapple-papaya juiciness, Centennial balances that out with nice lemony bitterness, and a malt bill with wheat and oats provides a delicate softness in the mouthfeel that plays really well with the flavor profile. This is a beer that I will continue to petition El Segundo to bump up to a year-round offering. You should do the same.
– Gary Magnone, Hopped LA founder
[Editor’s Note: I am also a massive fan of this beer, as is Sal, but Gary beat us to the punch and wrote lovely words, so we’ll let him take all the credit. He did create this site and all…]
2. Arrow Lodge Brewing’s Fluff Rider
There’s a stigma about hazy beer that it needs to be a smoothie-like, hoppy citrus juice bomb. While this is definitely throwing some citrus at you, it does it in a… what’s the word? Oh, yeah, FLUFFY way! Brewed with Enigma, Mosaic and Citra hops, this 6.5% ABV Hazy IPA hits you with a big, upfront Sunny D-esque aroma and appearance. After that, there’s a refreshing hit of grapefruit and mango. Its smooth and creamy mouthfeel ultimately yields to a classic bitter finish. The balanced and refreshing quality here is what really won me over in the end. That combined with a hint of a West Coast finish makes this a must from Arrow Lodge.
– Sal Castrejon, Designer and Hopped LA Contributor
3. Monkish Brewing’s Foggier Lockdown
Am I on the haze boi train? Yes, yes I am. Will I stand in line for seven hours or pay $100 markups for four-packs? No, no I won’t. So how did a Monkish can drop get on this list? First, it’s delicious. Second, one of the only good things to come out of the lockdown is that you can get from L.A. proper to Torrance in less than 30 minutes and there are no lines at Monkish! WHAT IS HAPPENING?! Now, the brewery has an online system where you have to be signed on at exactly 10 a.m., and you still only know when drops are happening when they’re announced day of on social media, so it’s like an Internet version of how they’ve always been. Foggier Lockdown, however, came out on April 1, when I just wander down and order whatever I wanted at the window. It was beautiful. I’ve managed to get a few can drops this month, but this was by far my favorite of the bunch. This double-dry hopped Double IPA is refreshingly smooth, with the feel of a Humble Sea foggy IPA more than many typical Monkish hazies. Brewed with Galaxy, Nelson Sauvin, and Citra hops, it’s a slightly hazier version of Foggier Window, and the swapped Galaxy and Citra ratios and are what made me love it so, plus waiting a bit to drink a second can allowed the grape-like Nelson hops to shine through even more. Am I also a sucker for the toilet paper cartoon dude on the can? Why, yes, yes I am.
– Emily Krauser, Hopped LA Editor
4. Santa Monica Brew Works’ Pali Cali Pils
Pali is what Santa Monica Brew Works is calling a “California Pilsner” — essentially an unfiltered, Citra and Wakatu dry-hopped version of a pilsner that is perfect for summertime at the beach. This 5.1% easy drinker combines what you love about the body of a pilsner with the bright and juicy aromas and flavors of your favorite IPAs. As far as aroma goes, this beer is reminiscent of a pack of Mambas chewable candy. On the palate, you get ripe orange and lemon peel and slight tropical hop sweetness with a moderately light and crisp mouthfeel that has a bit of a softer edge due to being unfiltered. Packaged in a bright blue, yellow, and orange tall 19.2 oz. can, this beer is locked and loaded for your daytime drinking plans.
5. Common Space Brewery’s Sure Tang
In three words: a delightful sour. In a few more words: A guava kettle sour brewed in collaboration with Bearded Tang, I appreciate the simplicity here along with the lack of vanilla or marshmallow. The brewers let this beer live within itself. There are no combative flavors nor going overboard with multiple added ingredients. It’s downright refreshing, crisp, and tart with a nice guava flavor. It’s also an astounding and respectable 6.3% ABV that I was convinced was around the 4% range when I tasted it. This is a sour trend I could get used to.