Reposted from LA Weekly. This past weekend, downtown L.A.’s usual cast of visitors and resident eccentrics was joined by throngs of craft beer lovers. The fourth annual L.A. Craft Beer Crawl hosted 40 breweries spanning seven bars.
New this year, the festival stretched over two days – an excellent move on the part of coordinators. Saturday’s crowd was, as expected, packed and a heavier party atmosphere resulted. On Sunday, when the Crawl had to compete with other tempting local beer events (such as Blue Palm’s fifth anniversary), fewer festivalgoers were in attendance, making the atmosphere more relaxed and the beer more accessible.
For those crawling for quality, the early admission was worth the elevated ticket price. Not only were you permitted entrance before the herds of buzz seekers but also you had more opportunity to discuss the beer with brewers and staff. The best access granted to early-admission ticket holders was to the Varnish – the speakeasy in the back of Cole’s. Here, a rare beer was tapped every hour: Eagle Rock’s Tart Noir on Saturday and the Bruery’s Sour in the Rye With Kumquats on Sunday were exceptional selections. An intimate, dark room lit by oil-burning lamps was the perfect antithesis to overexposed, eccentric West Sixth Street.