I’m back, y’all! After taking June from drinking to do Whole 30 (what a stupid, stupid idea that was — we’re in the middle of a pandemic, where the only sensible thing to do is drink), I cracked my first beer open in 30 days at 12:01 a.m. on July 1, because I am not a monster.
The only problem? I had a backlog of IPAs to get through from other parts of the country that were going to go bad if I didn’t get through them this month, as well as a few delicious local brews like the El Segundo Brewing Company and Riip Beer Co. collab No Comply and the Modern Times Beer and Highland Park Brewery collab How’s Your Day. Apparently I had a thing for collaboration in these crazy times, and while they were both delicious, decidedly West Coast IPAs ripe for reviewing, those cans were released in May and June respectively.
Fear not, my hoppy pals, because the rest of the Hopped LA team drank just as much as I did, and have they got some thoughts for you. As July winds to a close and we all sit and ponder how the hell we’ve gotten more than halfway through this year, let’s thank Hopped LA founder Gary Magnone, video producer Chase Lancaster, and audio producer Conrad Ytuarte for taking one for the team (i.e. me — thanks for your hard work drinking all the L.A. beers, boys!)
1. Common Space Brewery’s Take Action IPA
Take Action is a 7.2% ABV, single-hopped Citra IPA, but it’s more than that surface description — it’s also a message that the Common Space community is committed to taking action to fight social and racial injustice. This amazing, custom artwork from illustrator, artist, designer, and activist Devon Blow of Purple Pineapple Co. is inspired by and dedicated to the Black Live Matter movement. On the hops front, Take Action is damn delicious, a light and bright IPA with big lemon, orange, tangerine, and grapefruit flavors and aromas bursting right out of the glass. This citrus fruit salad is complemented by just the right hit of bitterness to keep the beer extremely crisp, balanced, and drinkable.
2. Monkish Brewing’s Foggy Window
Monkish has been high on my list of sought after brews, and since the Safer at Home orders came down, I’ve had a greater chance of making it out to Torrance for can releases. I’m so glad I did for this one, because this batch of Foggy Window was outstanding. This 8.1% DIPA pours with a mighty haze and fluffy white head. It’s smooth and hop-forward yet still subtle enough to provide a balanced mouthfeel. Nelson, Citra, and Sauvin hops combine to create a great bouquet of flavors and aromas, namely papaya, pineapple, and orange peel. As I drank the beer quite fresh, there was also a bit of an herbal grassy presence, too, which stuck with me for a just moment. I really, really loved this beer!
3. 14 Cannon’s Wreck Yo Ship
On July 3, 14 Cannons dropped Wreck Yo Ship, their once a year Triple IPA. This beast of a hop bomb clocks in at 10.5% ABV and 79 IBUs, but you wouldn’t even know it. While I’ve been in the lager zone during these recent, hot L.A. days, this TIPA was tempting to grab from the fridge because it was so drinkable. This one is triple dry-hopped with Citra, Lora, and Motueka, which creates a tropical and citrus fusion that finishes with a hop bite that isn’t overly aggressive. This is a true banger in the Southern California West Coast IPA world when you look at how difficult it is to balance high percentage beers. Just take Gary’s word for it.
4. Boomtown Brewery’s Graffiti Hazy DIPA
This fan-favorite design from Boomtown is back, and it’s more than just a pretty face. Underneath the classic Krylov-inspired label pours an 8.2% hazy double IPA with a glowing, yellow-orange murk and a thick, creamy white head. On the appearance, this beer is extremely turbid and hazy but without being unappetizing. The pour looks like it’s gonna be on the thicc side, but the first taste actually delivers a nice, smooth medium body. Graffiti boasts big, bright fruity notes of cantaloupe, pineapple, orange, bubblegum and White Mystery flavor Airheads candy — yes, really — backed up by just a slight touch of vanilla creaminess on the finish.
5. Highland Park Brewery’s Pillow
This double dry-hopped edition of the fluffy and tasty Pillow hazy DIPA is just as advertised! The pour is smooth and fluffy, with a tight foam and definite haze providing a completely opaque appearance. Mosaic and Citra aromas hit you as you lift the glass to your nose, followed by a slightly strong orange flavor. A bit of guava is there as well, and when the soft, creamy backbone emerges, it’s like sipping on a frozen dessert. This was a super refreshing beer.
Curious what we drank in June? Check out our previous five faves here.