Hardcore nerds might recognize Saturday's date as the unofficial Star Wars Day ("May the Fourth be with you"). Hardcore beer drinkers in Los Angeles know this coming Saturday for another reason: it's the biggest single drinking day the city has seen in a long time. With four different big name beer events going down from the Sunset Strip to Eagle Rock, it's a veritable taster's choice of possibilities. Here's what's on tap for this coming Saturday, May 4th.
First and foremost is the L.A. Vegan Beer Festival. This four-year-old event is a joint collaboration between The Roxy, Tony's Darts Away and Quarry Girl, L.A.'s no-holds barred vegan food blogger. There will be plenty of great regional breweries on hand, such as Orange County's Noble Ale Works, San Diego's Ballast Point and the Central Coast's Firestone Walker, while out of town help comes courtesy of Deschutes from Oregon, New Belgium from Colorado and a smattering of other brewers. And of course the vegan side of this festival wouldn't be complete without some seriously veg-heavy food, courtesy of L.A. Vegan Crepe, M Cafe, Cafe Gratitude and others. But if anyone is looking to douse themselves in great beer but are wincing at the food menu, don't worry; there will be tacos and fries and banh mi and lots of great, meaty stuff from Susan Feniger's STREET. Throw in a few bands (Saint Motel, Janks et al.) that The Roxy cooked up, and you've got the biggest beer fest going down this weekend.
Not to be outdone, Angel CIty Brewery downtown has put together their first ever Heritage Music & Arts Festival. Intended as more of an open-space collaboration between the brewery and the neighborhood, Angel City's event will be free to all. The party begins at 11 a.m. with a toast to the new, expanded brewery hours and the Arts District that has embraced them. After that the day is yours, with live bands and art demonstrations moving seamlessly between the gigantic indoor space and the sunny, open parking lot. The brewery's Art Deco bar will be busy slinging a variety of Angel City brews, with food coming courtesy of Seoul Sausage, The Melt and the Son of a Bun trucks. All food and drinks will be available for purchase as needed, and if you play your cards (or your wallet) right, you may walk away with a bit of unexpected art.
Out in Eagle Rock, the eponymous Eagle Rock Brewery is back at it with their annual Session Fest, a more subtle affair that heralds the sessionable beer. For those unfamiliar, the label "session" refers to any version that carries a lower alcohol percentage than their hopper, heavier cousins. The idea is to extend your drinking session by not getting blitzed out of your brain. Generally, these beers are also smoother, gentler and more approachable than some hoppy, malty or seriously dark beers. Don't wear out your tastebuds and don't wear out your brain and you'll be fine. At least that's the idea behind the fest. The team will have a few special beers on tap just to celebrate the event, and will be offering $15 tickets that get you three session beers and a commemorative half-pint glass. The party kicks off at their taproom at 4 p.m., with a food truck sure to be parked nearby.
And finally, Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood is getting into the pre-Cinco de Mayo action with a full Dogfish Head tap takeover. The longtime Delaware-based brewery has done much to usher in the new age of craft beer awareness in America, and their unique brews are some of the most heralded beers in the country. Their 90 Minute and 120 Minute IPAs always manage to impress even the most hardened California India Pale Ale drinker, but the brew team really shines in their less common offerings. The Midas Touch, brewed using an ancient ale recipe that calls for muscat grapes and saffron, is a slightly sweet reminiscence to many hundreds of years ago. Their Noble Rot Saison is another strong advocate for the unique, sometimes intense brews that Dogfish Head is known for. The tap takeover at Blue Palms will comprise 24 full tap lines, which means a near unending supply of beers from the seminal Delaware brewery. This is an unticketed event, which means you can just go up to the bar, let 'em know what you want to drink, and then sit back and sip your way to satisfaction.
So there you have it: four individually fantastic beer events, all converging on the same day. With the different start times, it's technically possible to reach all three in one afternoon, but it's not recommended -- especially if you don't have a sober driver. Instead, make your way out to one, maybe two events, and really enjoy yourself. This is a golden age for craft beer in Los Angeles, and with the spring sun shining on us all, it's only going to get better. May the Fourth be with you.
For more food and drink events visit kcet.org/events/food.