So technically the fall season hits in late September, but in LA it always happens much later. And as we cruised through October towards Halloween, the fall vibes officially kicked into high gear in the Southland. But does that mean this list is full of pumpkin beers and autumnal dark ales? Nope, this month’s top 5 beers remain right in our wheelhouse, with some hazy and west coast IPAs and the occasional outlier (thanks, Rose!).
Luckily, we’ve got some great brews featured this month, including a couple collabs, some interesting adjuncts, fresh hops, and more!
Check out the best beers the Hopped LA team drank this month and maybe, just maybe, we’ll pull out some more malt-forward brews out of our hats for Thanksgiving dinner next month.
1. Monkish Brewing’s Universal Verses
The Universal Verses is textbook Monkish with its signature smooth mouthfeel and body. The perfect juice bomb for Galaxy hop fans as Monkish states this is the largest amount of Galaxy hops they have put into a beer before. It has a sort of peppery finish that makes it unique. At 8.3%, you’ll slip right into another Galaxy…
– Sahand Fotovat, Content Contributor
2. Frogtown Brewing’s Fra-Gi-Le
Citrus and Saison are just a match made in beer heaven for me. Although I typically go for the more lemon/orange zest flavors, the blood orange’s jam-like essence perfectly complements the malt-hop balance and mild fermentation flavors of a Saison. The rye used in this recipe gives an extra spicy grain kick and slightly heartier mouthfeel. This limited release from the lively Frogtown Brewery in Frogtown pairs perfectly with long walks along the LA River.
– Rose Cranna, Content Contributor
3. Highland Park Brewery’s Hyper Real (collab w/ Crowns & Hops)
I was so excited to see this collaboration brew from Highland Park and Crowns and Hops! I’m a big fan of west coast IPAs, and bringing some New Zealand hops into the mix sounded interesting. Though I love a good hazy, I was craving something more refreshing, and this beer delivered.
Light golden-amber hue and clear appearance on the pour, I got some resiny dank aromas with a hint of orange blossom. The first sip gave me a great sensation of piney, bitterness that I crave in a good west coast IPA. This combo of Nelson, Riwaka, and Motueka give you some slight bitter citrus and wonderful complexities with some spice and a light-bodied finish that seems to mellow near the end. It’s a well-balanced beer that only reveals the alcohol slightly, and that’s rather sneaky for this tasty of a double IPA. I really enjoyed this beer and how refreshing a good balance on a more classic WC can be. Cheers!
– Conrad Ytuarte, Content Contributor
4. Santa Monica Brew Works’ Next Day IPA
Next Day IPA is a wet-hopped Hazy Double IPA from Santa Monica Brew Works that they release each year during hop harvest season in early October. This special release features 100% fresh whole-cone Mosaic hops overnight shipped from Yakima Valley front and center alongside a diverse malt bill of Vienna, Two Row, White Wheat, Maris Otter, and Flaked Oats to create a really unique and memorable beer that I personally look forward to every year.
Served up in a 19.2oz can, this beer pours a murky deep orange with a nice creamy head and aromas of fresh orange, pine, green grass, and a whiff of tropical sweetness. But you know it’s all about what it tastes like when you take that first swig and this beer is incredibly delicious featuring a complex combination of prominent orange and grapefruit citrus, a touch of fresh pineapple, and some green dankness to round it all out. When it comes to Hazy DIPAs, the mouthfeel is really what brings it all together for me and this one sits pretty moderate, with a delicate softness joined by some fullness contributed by the fresh hop oils.
Unfortunately, this beer is no longer available this season, but keep an eye out for it next October because it’s one of the few beers on my must-have list.
– Gary Magnone, Hopped LA Founder
5. 14 Cannons’ Keep the Coast Clear
14 Cannons turned 3 this year and given the current circumstances, they weren’t able to do their usual big celebration at the brewery. Instead, they put the party in a can! What makes this release even more special is the fact that it is 14 Cannons’ first collaboration with another brewery.
Keep The Coast Clear is a 6.9% cryo hop bomb brewed together with Institution Ale Co. out of Camarillo, California. These are two breweries that have more than proven their place in the West Coast IPA world and as expected, this one does not disappoint. This brew is a blend of 14 Cannons’ Tyrannicide IPA and Institution’s White Walls IPA. Both of these are year-round, so if you are familiar with the two, you will definitely be able to see what each brew is contributing to this mix. Trust me when I say you will know this was brewed with cryo hops because once you crack the can, your room will be filled with floral and tropical goodness. This might be one of the biggest hop aromas I have ever experienced!
Cans are limited but as of writing this, they can still be found at 14 Cannons / Institution and in liquor and bottle shops around the valley. Get it while you still can!
– Chase Lancaster, Content Contributor