This Week in Craft Beer News

Photo: caroscuro/Flickr/Creative Commons License

This week, rather than telling you why the glass you drink your beer out of matters or taking you on a ride along with the L.A. Beer Hop brewery tours, we're diving into some of the best beer news you're going to hear. And, since we couldn't decide which great headline to share first, we're bringing you all three.

Angel City Brewery is Actually Open

After many months of quiet wondering and growing expectations, Angel City Brewery in downtown Los Angeles is finally open to the public. Earlier this month, we spoke to owner Alan Newman, whose Vermont-based company Alchemy & Science picked up the L.A. label in hopes of adding to the region's beer revitalization. Well, it turns out brewing consistently good beer in on old warehouse downtown can be a tough thing to do, not to mention outfitting the space so people can actually stop by and enjoy a pint or two. At least in the meantime we had plenty of opportunities to sip Angel City's Angeleno IPA at one of their draft accounts across town.

Now, after a soft opening party and a single-day permit shindig, the city has signed off and Angel City is up and running. For now, dates and times will be limited, but the hours are set to expand as the summer draws near. Today marks their first foray into regular hours, and the loading dock doors will be rolled up from 3pm to 8pm. Those same hours hold true for tomorrow as well, and every Thursday - Friday in the future. For your weekend fix, the brewery will be open from 1pm to 8pm. Head down soon for a taste of their great beers and a seat at their lovely Deco bar.

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Pliny the Younger is Here

Last week, we discussed the true nature of rare beers, and even tipped you off to the dark, high-alcohol Pugachev's Cobra from Hangar 24 Brewery that was making its annual limited appearance at Tony's Darts Away. Now comes perhaps the most anticipated yearly beer release in America - Pliny the Younger.

Brewed in small batches by Santa Rosa's Russian River Brewing Company, Pliny the Younger is an ultra-hoppy triple IPA released annually on the first Friday in February. Which, if you're not around a calendar, is tomorrow. The nearly 11% alcohol brew is coveted as the stronger, meaner, more biting brother to Russian River's already crisp Pliny the Elder, itself a stinging double IPA. And, since it's never bottled and only put on draft to limited accounts, a pint of Younger can be excessively hard to come by.

Thankfully, Los Angeles is ripe with possible spots to snag a sip of the rare beverage. While the kegs haven't made it down from Santa Rosa yet, you should expect big Pliny news to be coming from such L.A. beer stalwarts at Library Alehouse in Santa Monica, The Surly Goat in West Hollywood, or Father's Office in Culver City. One guaranteed Pliny the Younger event we can turn you on to is happening at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach. They'll be raffling off tickets at $5 a pop for the chance to win a pint of their very own, to be sipped and savored after February 18th.

Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest Tickets are On Sale

Well, technically they're not on sale ... yet. But they will be available beginning just a tick after midnight tonight, and they're expected to move fast. The afternoon event takes place at Firestone's expansive digs in Paso Robles, a short drive for anyone looking to enjoy arguably the best craft beer festival in the state. The $75 ticket gets you a 1pm call time and four hours of unlimited sipping from your own commemorative tasting glass.

So what exactly will you be tasting? First, there will be more than 40 breweries on hand, including local favorites AleSmith, Lost Abbey, Stone, Green Flash, The Bruery and Golden Road, with outside influences coming from Founders Brewing in Michigan, Funkwerks in Colorado and Brasserie de la Senne from Belgium, among others. Beyond the pours, a curated collection of some of San Luis Obispo County's finest eateries will be passing food through the event. You'll also be able to chat with brewers and craft beer aficionados, or sit down for a Behind the Beer Sessions discussion with some of the people who have helped to shape the last few years of craft beer dominance in America.

So, set your alarms, start brewing coffee if you have to, just make sure you're up at midnight if you'd like to secure your place in line for this year's Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest. Last year's tickets sold out extremely fast, and it's likely that this year's bigger and better event will move even quicker.

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