Hello beer lovers! I realize it’s been way too long…between dissertating (yes, it’s a verb and often as painful as it sounds) and now play-writing (exploring my creative faculties), I’m lucky to find a few minutes each month to update this blog and write up the beers and good places to drink them. (Burger King certainly is not one of those places. Have you all heard that there’s a BK in South Beach, Miami, that will start serving beer with those Whoppers? The “beer” in this case is predictably in the form of Bud and Miller…does that count?) I have no idea where January went and now that Febrewary is nearly 1/3 over, I figured it’s high time to write about beer!
I’m ashamed that up to this point, I have not written anything about Wurstküche (http://www.wurstkucherestaurant.com), one of my favorite spots to drink in downtown L.A. The dudes who work there are very cool, and I have to give a big shout-out to Juan, who always knows that I want a big mug of the good stuff as soon as I pull up to the bar and hunker down, usually during the day and usually poring over a draft of a dissertation chapter that I have to go through and revise. The big mug o’good stuff, otherwise known as Spaten Optimator Dopplebock, definitely makes this sometimes painful process of dissertating much less painful, and dare I say, even enjoyable! At 7.2% alcohol, the Spaten Dopplebock is more than enough mental lubrication to get those thoughts rolling. I usually follow that up with a nice goblet of Houblan Chouffe (pronounced “hoo-blon shoof”), a Belgian-style india pale ale. The Houblan Chouffe is 9% alcohol and delicious. As a recent convert to good IPAs, I like the Houblan a lot because it’s hoppy but finishes slightly malty. It reminds me immediately of Pliny the Elder, an IPA made by Russian River Brewery in Northern Cali. Wurstküche serves about 50 beers, half on tap and half in bottles, and they specialize in Belgian and German styles (a few North American beers also made it on their list, including Pabst Blue Ribbon–and at $2.50 a pint all day, every day, it’s always happy-hour there with a PBR!) The beers nicely complement their gourmet sausages (Wurstküche means “sausage kitchen” in German) and it’s pretty clear that the guys who put the beer list together know what they’re doing.
Down the street within walking distance from Wurstküche is a brand-new spot called The Lazy Ox Canteen in Little Tokyo (http://www.lazyoxcanteen.com). It’s billed as a “casual dining spot” and from what I hear, the food there is awesome. But I went for the beer. The day I went, I got there between 3 and 5pm, when they are closed between lunch and dinner. But the staff was great and when I told them I just wanted to drink a beer because I’d heard so much about the place, they graciously let me in to have what turned out to be TWO beers (never just “a” beer with me…!) I met Jarred Tosto, the guy in charge of the beer list there. I wish I woulda written stuff down because it was a great list, populated with craftbrews from up and down the West Coast and from Across the Pond. He told me he’d like to rotate taps, so maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t write down the beer list because by now, I’m sure it’s changed. But I was happy to see that the Lazy Ox was pourin a beer from Bootlegger’s Brewery in Fullerton, the OC. (http://www.bootleggersbrewery.com) I had the Palomino Pale Ale and it was so good that I had 2 pints. The Palomino is Bootlegger’s version of a classic “American” (U.S.) Pale Ale, 5.1% alcohol and hoppy, but not too much, a nice floral nose and crisp finish. Thus far, I’ve been impressed with the beers I’ve had from Bootleggers. It makes me happy that really good beer is being brewed just down the street in Fullerton, and I have plans to visit the brewery soon. I’m not finished drowning my SuperBowl sorrows, and any minute now, I plan to crack open the big bottle of Bootlegger’s Golden Ale I have chillin in my mini-fridge. When I do, I’ll write about it. (The beer, not the Colts’ loss…)
Alas, around this time last year, I was poppin open the batch of what I called “Mel’s Birthday beer,” my third stab at homebrewing and not bad, I might say. I saved a bottle of it for my cousin, who graduated last June. When we drank that bottle that was cold-conditioning for 6 months, it tasted like a different and better beer, much improved with age. Que sad that I don’t have time to brew right now (I barely have time to beerblog!), pero I’m makin up for it by drinkin more good local stuff and (eventually) writing about it. I hear there’s a new brewery opening up in Eagle Rock/Glassel Park, L.A., and a recent trip to San Diego reminded me of just how good we have it here in SoCal. Get out there and enjoy your FeBREWary!
Cheers n beers, mel.