Times are weird, beer fam. Is this the apocalypse? End of times? A cruel joke? Just that 100-year curse that soon too will past?
We have no idea. What we do know is that lives have been turned upside down by the coronavirus outbreak, and though we like to joke around, we, like the rest of you, are taking this very seriously. That doesn’t mean that we’re not drinking beer while on lockdown. In fact, we are drinking plenty of beer while self-isolating (maybe too much).
One of the best parts about this “Beers of the Month” series is that we get to highlight the newest releases coming out of our local Los Angeles breweries. While we can’t sit down and have a pint in them at the moment, many breweries are still canning their freshest releases for us to take home. Nearly every brewery in the area is offering pick-ups (stand six feet away from the next beer lover, please!) and many, from Arrow Lodge to Smog City to Cellador Ales, are even delivering.
Please keep supporting Los Angeles beer as you can. We know these are tough times for everyone, but we can get through this together, and we can certainly enjoy beer in these tough times. We were able to get to few breweries before taprooms shut down, and we’ve picked up some brews in the few days since everyone has switched to to-go models. We’ve decided to put up this month’s fave beer list early so you can also get down to these breweries and bring some good beer home to enjoy from the comfort of your couch.
1. Arrow Lodge Brewing’s Doowutchalike
OK, so technically this beer was released on Leap Day, but you know what? 2020 has already been the longest year ever, and it’s only March, and any other year, Feb. 29 is March 1. Thus, this beer has made my list! I have made three trips out to Arrow Lodge this month (one was accidental, but that’s a long story), and each time I’ve had two very different beers: Pitching Tents, a dessert of a stout, and this West Coast IPA. It’s crisp and clean, with the Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe, and Chinook hops blending together beautifully. Plus, the can is a cassette tape in ’70s hues. Who am I to argue with such a thing?
– Emily Krauser, Hopped LA Content Team
This is mellow! A super smooth and tasty West Coast-style IPA. this is an incredibly drinkable beer. The Citra and Mosaic hops are present upfront but not pungent, and the finish is clean and quick. At 6.5% ABV, it drinks more like a pale than an IPA, but it’s no doubt a welcome refresher any day of the week.
– Conrad Ytuarte, Hopped LA Content Team
2. Brouwerij West’s Four Times Four Times
The fourth-anniversary beer for San Pedro’s Brouwerij West dropped just as the wave of event cancellations and social distancing orders hit Los Angeles, which may have caused this beer to drop slightly under the radar. They went hazy on this one – like full-on deep murk appearance with a thick and creamy body and big fluffy white head. On the palate, this beer blasted with huge notes of pineapple, orange, vanilla, peach, and fresh-cut grass with a sticky cotton-candy sweetness lingering on the finish. It’s as milkshakey as a non-milkshake DIPA can get, and while I’m only drinking one of these in a session, I’m enjoying it as it goes down and feeling grateful for four years of Brouwerij West.
– Gary Magnone, Hopped LA Founder
3. Alosta Brewing Company’s Irish Guerilla
Alosta still threw their St. Patrick’s Day party at their main space in Covina last week, and if you braved that, good on you. I did not. I headed over to their smaller taproom space in La Verne. There were only like three other people there, which I felt great about as our sheer coronavirus panic was just starting to get underway, and it gave me the space to enjoy this stout, that rolls in at a whopping 11.5% ABV. Because I’m not a maniac, I only got a taster size, but it lives up to its attempt at being an Irish Cream Pie (released on March 14, the beer repped both St. Patrick’s Day and Pi Day). Brewed with a ton of marshmallows and graham crackers, this is definitely a dessert beer more than a typical Irish stout, aided by its additions of vanilla and lactose. We wouldn’t necessarily drink this year-round, but it was certainly perfect for the occasion.
4. Smog City Brewing’s Quarantine Machine
It’s refreshing to see a West Coast IPA in this hazy time — both literally and figuratively. The fresh crowler of Quarantine Machine is truly a perfect quarantine beer, and I appreciate that they changed the name to go with our current situation and rolled with the punches! This Smog City beer is delightfully clean. It’s crisp and floral with a pleasantly light hoppiness, making this very drinkable for long days on the couch.
– Gabby Kashtelian, Friend of Hopped LA
5. Highland Park Brewery’s Yes!
The name pretty much says it all. It’s easy for hazies to start tasting the same, but from the very first sip with this one, I was like, well, damn! I’m normally not a huge fan of the passionfruit notes that can come from packing a beer with Galaxy, but this Hazy IPA is loaded with an equal amount of Nelson hops, which helps round it out and allow the subtler notes of the latter calm down the former’s powerful punch. This is still definitely a tropical beer, though, and at 8.3% ABV, it’s a strong one, too. But in this time of saying no, I’ll take a whole lot of yes!