It makes perfect sense, in a way, that the ballooning craft beer scene in Los Angeles would eventually get its own paper. Through that "everything old is new" looking glass, why wouldn't the resurgence of hand-crafted ales and lagers in this aged city help bring about the small growth of a traditionally withering information medium? And so Beer Paper L.A. is born.
The fledgling beer writing operation is relatively new, having begun only a few weeks ago under the direction of some of L.A.'s best craft beer scribes. Sarah Bennett is perhaps the most well-known addition to the contributors roster, having been a force for the craft beer industry around Los Angeles and beyond. Daniel Drennon helped redefine the Los Angeles beer landscape with his work at LA Weekly, and Alex Davis is the general manager of Library Alehouse in Santa Monica, long regarded as a craft beer highlight in Los Angeles. The two men directly behind Beer Paper L.A. are Aaron Carroll and Rob Wallace, themselves longtime stalwarts in the beer blogging scene. Together, this is the team tasked with turning sometimes heady craft beer talk into something digestible for the masses.
For now, Beer Paper L.A. exists solely online as a sort of colorful, dynamic blog. Generally, the photos are more compelling and the design work more aesthetically pleasing than much of what already exists out there for avid beer readers. Instead of nuanced beer rating charts or dimly lit PR photos, the site feels like a warm, visually stimulating place to kick around and learn about beer online for a while. In the coming months, Carroll, Wallace and his team hope to apply that same feel to their monthly print version.
It's interesting to see a craft beer paper rise from the brewing culture that has grown around Los Angeles. While there is much discussion about the movement towards curated beer lists and hand-crafted cocktails, the truth is that artisanal products remain a niche purchase for much of the city and beyond. For better or worse, most people still aren't grabbing 22 oz. bottles of freshly brewed El Segundo Brewing IPA when they head to the liquor store, and even fewer are spending their time splashing through the overwhelming waves of online beer discussion. Still, Beer Paper L.A. is trying something new, and with big name backers like Firestone Walker and Beachwood Brewing, the team appears to be ready to join the beer discussion in Los Angeles altogether.
And for those of us who do closely follow the ins and outs of the craft beer scene in Southern California, Beer Paper L.A. has the chance to become something more. With a keen eye for design, sharp photographs and engaging content, Beer Paper L.A. could not only change the way we drink beer in Los Angeles, it might change how we talk about it, too.