The Growing Craft Beer Culture in Los Angeles and LA Local Beer and Food Festival Pairings

This piece was written by Benjamin Ah Quoi

When people think of LA, they think of beautiful people from all walks of life. But, take the word “Beautiful” and swap it out with any adjective in the dictionary, and for better or worse, that’s actually the kind of diversity Los Angeles encompasses. The people, the food, the fashion, the music, and the BEER! Everything is so beautifully diverse. Within LA you’ll find many subcultures, the pioneers that started them, the innovators that continue to mold them, and the patrons that love and live them everyday. Los Angeles is home to over 50 craft breweries, and the list continues to grow at a healthy rate. With no sign of slowing down, it is clear that the future is here, or shall I say BEER.

Even though there are a few older LA based breweries, the rapid growth of Los Angeles breweries really started to pick up in 2009. Santa Monica Brew Works, El Segundo, Eagle Rock, The Strand, and Golden Road are just a few of the many great breweries to come out of Los Angeles County in recent years. Alpine Village, believe it or not, was one of the first establishments that supported craft beer in LA county when they helped establish South Bay’s first brewery in the ‘90s – Southern California Brewing Company, now known as Angel City brewing which is now located in a much larger space in downtown LA. Located in Torrance, California, Alpine Village is 1.5 miles from five great breweries, The Dudes, Smog City, Monkish, Red Car, and Phantom Carriage. Alpine has supported the craft beer movement by hosting many events such as brewery tap takeovers, the Euro Bier fest, the Kraft Bier Fest, and by serving craft beer at Oktoberfest.

This year, in addition to opening a new bottle shop that carries a great selection of local and American craft beer alongside our huge German/Eastern European beer selection, we’ve added a new event to our yearly line-up. Let me introduce to you: Alpine Village’s 1st annual L.A. Local Craft Beer and Artisanal Food Fest. On Saturday April 18th Alpine Village will combine beers from local Los Angeles breweries with local Los Angeles artisanal foods. In honor of the festival, I’ve compiled some tips on how to pair the food and beer that will best compliment each other and help you decide what artisanal food will go along with your craft brew:

Pairing beer and food so that both enhance each other requires attention to the dominant taste and flavor elements in each. When selecting a food, identify the characteristics (taste elements, flavors, intensity and sensations) of the craft beer you plan to pair with. Match strength with strength. It is most important that the intensity of the beer matches that of the dish. You don’t want the craft beer to outweigh the food and vice versa. Balance is key.

  • Lager and pilsner style beers are light in body and tend to go well with lighter meals such as salads, spring rolls, and seafood.
  • Pale ales go great with a juicy burger and deserts such as pumpkin flan, maple bread, and pudding.
  • Hefeweizens are full-bodied beers that tend to make our bellies feel more full than they actually are. To balance out this heavy brew, you’ll do well to stay with light meals such as salads, seafood, and sushi, and it’s a classic pairing with the weisswurst for sure!
  • Porters and stouts are roasty beers and play well with roasted and smoked food like barbeque, sausage, and roasted meat.
  • Sweet stouts tend to go better with dessert foods like dark chocolate truffles and cream puffs. In my opinion they go well with every dessert except tarty treats.
  • And then there are IPAs. The India Pale Ale style being very hop forward and bitter really emphasizes spicy foods. They also compliment hearty foods such as beef brisket, grilled lamb, and southern chicken-fried steak. When it comes to dessert, opposites definitely attract. IPAs go well with dark chocolate, caramel cheesecake, and a big one is carrot cake.

I hope you can join us on April 18 where you’ll have a variety of beers and food to experiment with on your own!

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