A Wonderland of Beer: Craft Beer Fest LA

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Yesterday, the hearts of so many beer aficionados were at the Echoplex. The event was sold out online but the Uncouth Gourmands were not deterred. The low down was that there were going to be 100 or so unsold tickets at the door. Apparently, all of LA heard the same rumor and the line was around the corner. Luckily, the UG’s were at the front of the line.

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Despite the intense afternoon heat, Carina and I got there about an hour early. We had already grabbed some cheap lunch at Sharkey’s Woodfire Grill to pad our bellies. We were a bit turned off by our neighbors in line but decided to brave through it. The beer was supposed to be worth it and, after all, it was charity. At about 40 after 2P, we finally reached the gates of heaven. As we entered we were greeted by a lot of vivacious and friendly volunteers who all bustled and hustled through the heat for a good cause. Every patron was given a 4 oz beer glass, 15 drink tickets, and a beer list. Nervous about 15 drink tickets, I quickly rushed to the food section in order to fill my belly once more before the booze. Kind vendors like: Nicole’s Cheese Shop, Scoops, and others kindly donated so many of their people and resources so that we could all leave in a state of verticality after 15 small but potent drinks. After a few pinches of food, I quickly gravitated towards the long but fairly quick flowing beer line.

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Beer Highlights: I started off with the #26 (Telegraph Rhinoceros), or as I like to boast, the only 10% baby. The Telegraph was bold, resonant and delicious! The minute I took the last swig, I immediately craved a refill. Another notable favorite was The Bruery-Young Lambic. Oh man, that was awesome! No other adjectives could describe that one. It was a light, crisp, vinegary heaven! If God made butter that’s what it would taste like. I can’t wait to install a keg of the Lambic at my place. I’m kidding about the last part but it was oh soooo fulfilling. I know Carina loved the Telegraph White Ale but that is because she is a Bay Area girl and sort of grew up on it, oh and it is delicious. It is like how we are Pasadena girls and Crafstman, a Pasadena brewery, always tops our favorite brewer list because of city pride and delicious taste. I am kind of bummed we didn’t have any Craftsman brews yesterday, we were just trying to sample new beers that we had never tasted.

Here’s a list and review of the ones we tried. Beer Report Card:

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The People: A mix of uber hip young hipsters and old fat dudes. Despite the beauty of the respectfully produced beer, the patrons were the best part. All spectrums of people were represented. Anyone who loved beer was there! Not too much drunk tomfoolery either. We pimped out our site for a bit and made a good amount of unexpected connections. We met, ate, and drank like champions! The first picture is with the other local food bloggers: on the left is Yo Soy and next to me is Kirby Von Scrumptious. The boys below are the ones that checked the time and had us rush to the Firestone Walker booth for the rotating tap that only came once around 6p. They are sort of our heroes as they introduced us to our favorite drink of the day. It was dark, refreshing, and yummy and so were the fellows!

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Organization of the Event: So I know these kind of events get a lot of shit for being haphazard and mis-managed (i.e. the yelp bloggers), but we left the place with no such negative sentiment. In fact, we commented on how much we enjoyed ourselves. I think the event’s orchestrators are due a certain amount of credit for that. Sure, the MC was a little uncertain about when the panel was going up but someone else’s tardiness was responsible for that. And I suppose there was a degree of uncertainty about what was going on at all times but I think that was the motive of the host. I think moments like that are inherently unpredictable anyway. As we UG’s know, good times are often an accident. Plus, everyone was having a good time so nobody cared; order came secondary to beer and people.

Funny/Uncouth Moments: I was telling someone what uncouth meant while passing out our website on guest check cards and in that moment I managed to knock over a table. The other funny moment of the day was when I asked that guy Joe, in the picture below, for a beer. He responded by saying, “Bossy, aren’t you?”. I quickly pointed to Carina and said, “She’s the bossy one!” Without skipping a beat he said, “She’s a reform Jew and a woman, what do you expect?” I am sure that there were a ton of other funny and uncouth moments but I was too drunk to remember them.

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Final Swig: So for $30, you not only got an ample amount of food and beer but, most importantly, good company. Worth it? Abso-f@cking-lutely! Yesterday’s Beer Fest changed LA food events in a very positive way. “Success!” on behalf of the Uncouth Gourmands.

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12 Comments

  1. Oh dear. Wow. I have not needed to write a rebuttal to anything I’ve read online in many moons. I’m not a contrary person by nature – not by a long shot. I’m a man of peace…but – I cannot believe that we were at the same event!! Are you sure we were at the same place?? THE L.A. Craft Beer Fest at the Echoplex?? Yesterday??

    How bad was it?? Let me count the ways…over-sold, too crowded, not nearly enough local beers (where was Angel City?), the venue was much too-small (by a factor of four at least, I’d say) – They needed at least three more beer stations…and until the big electric fans were brought in, the temps inside were almost unbearable (at least it was cool in the men’s restroom! The A/C was obviously working…it just couldn’t keep ub with 500+ hot, breathing humans) – it was claustrophobic, with unbearably long lines for beer, far too few places to sit (at least where it didn’t sound like a monster-truck rally of noise!) and just a nightmare.

    A “Wonderland of Beer?” Hardly. IMO that was a torture chamber…the beer just made it bearable! The Stone Black IPA was awesome as always – and the two Craftsman beers from Pasadena were very tasty.

    Next time I’ll buy a few bottles and stay at home and watch hockey instead.

    Hopefully the organizers learned something. Everybody I talked to was very disappointed. Please…next year a bigger venue able to hold an event like this!

    • Scott,

      I am sad to hear you had such a terrible time:( I wasn’t bothered by the temperature because I’ve been there for concerts and well…it’s always like that. I suppose I’m conditioned to the heat:) Additionally, there weren’t many local breweries because sadly, LA doesn’t have many. On a positive note, it wasn’t money wasted. All the proceeds went to a good cause and I find solace in that. So we were a little hot! Hope to see you at the next big event! Come up to us and say hello! The uncouth gourmands will buy you a beer:)

      With gusto,

      Josie

  2. Thanks for the shoutout! It’s always nice to meet fellow bloggers!

    I too had a lot of fun at the Beer Fest, and I would only disagree with you on one point: I definitely engaged in a LOT of drunk tomfoolery that night, although I think most of it occurred after leaving the echoplex!!

    Anyway, thanks again for alerting Liz and I to your site!

  3. I thought the Beer Fest was an absolutely great time. I think it was just so slightly disorganized and maybe too crowded, but it didn’t necessarily affect me too much; I’ve seen so many packed shows at that place, shows where I had no cool alcoholic sustenance whatsoever because typically at the Echo the beer is too expensive and the portions are stingy. Our method was to get in one line, then switch off to another one immediately, drinking up the previous beer as we waited. This also allowed us to chat with people in line as we waited, plus we ran into some other people we knew. Not to mention people watching. The only other issue I had was the food seemed to run out quickly, so all I had to eat was a piece of cheese and some Scoops ice cream. I’ll be back next year!

    I felt bad about the people waiting in the line outside, however. I wonder how long some of them were there?

  4. I have to say I had the completely opposite experience than Scott. I was there from 2 until 8:30 and I drank and drank and drank! My cup was rarely empty! I waited in line for no more than 3 or 4 minutes at a time. Yes, it was hot, but it’s always hot in the echo! Plus, it was cool near the doors and by the stage. I never felt it was ever too crowded except when I was trying to get some pizza.

    I was 100% impressed and can’t wait for next year!

  5. Also, and this is a problem with the Echoplex and not the festival, that sound booth is located in a rather awkward spot…

  6. gourmands,

    thanks so much for the solid post! as one of the organizers and food vendors (we were the ones furiously roasting nuts and cutting cheese) i can speak for all of L.A. C.A.B.A.L with severe gratitude.

    of course there were bound to be a few people bummed about some of the logistics of the event (sincere thanks to scott for his criticisms): it was hot, there were lines, but all in all we feel like the event was a resounding success for us as first timers, for the beer scene in la, and most importantly for 826 LA.

    lessons were certainly learned and our next festival will be all the better for it.

    Cheers!

    • Alex,

      So you were the one roasting the nuts and cutting the cheese? There is a joke here and above being gourmands we are definitely uncouth, but I will try and refrain. Anyway, we definitely had fun and we have yet to attend a food event that doesn’t receive a great deal of criticism. For a first run, the organization here was much better than some events we’ve attended that are on their 5th run.

      Thanks for all of your hard work!

      Carina

  7. […] Uncouth Gourmands praised the event as a Wonderland of Beer, and even made a little beer report card!  At the top of their list was the Telegraph Rhinoceros […]

  8. It was fun in spite of the chaos of the afternoon, wasn’t it?

  9. […] of our favorite surprises of the night was learning via Twitter that our friend John who we met at Craft Beer Fest LA was going to be in attendance. We hadn’t seen him since that event but once again John […]

  10. […] operation headed by father and son. The son, Jeremy Raub, was sure that he already met us at the LA Craft Beer Fest but honestly we remember very little of that day. The father, Steve Raub, was quick to point out […]


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