5 brews to try as Extreme Beer Fest comes to L.A. for the first time

Beer lovers know there’s no shortage of choices when it comes to types and styles of brews.

There are lagers, ambers, porters, stouts and malts with styles that vary from blondes to browns; creamy to fruity; golden to red; honey and the ever-popular IPA.

But there are some beers that make all other beers tremble in their normalcy.

These are the extreme beers.

“Extreme beers we define as beers that push the boundaries of brewing. They’re not specific to any sort of style, ABV [alcohol by volume], technique; it’s kind of free and open,” said Todd Alström, co-founder of BeerAdvocate, an online and print magazine focused on all things beer founded in 1996.

Since 2003, the publication has organized more than 60 beer festivals including its signature event, the Extreme Beer Fest, which has been held in places like Boston.

And for the first time, on Dec. 9 the beer-loving organization is bringing its Extreme Beer Fest to Los Angeles for an event that aims to celebrate “brewers who push the boundaries of brewing and raise a fist at the norm.”

“It kind or raises a fist at all the mediocrity and normality out there,” Alström said.

The one-day, two-session event will be held at the California Market Center in downtown L.A. And will feature more than 240 beers from more than 60 professional brewers whose creative and innovate beers are meant to challenge the palates of beer drinkers and bend the rules of brewing.

But unless you are the world’s most extreme drinker, it’ll be physically impossible to try every beer.

So Alström is going to do you a solid and share his choices along with his comments on the five extreme beers to try for sure at the Extreme Beer Fest.

Todd Alström (right) and his brother Jason Alström co-founded BeerAdvocate. The siblings are bringing their signature event the Extreme Beer Fest to Los Angeles on Dec. 9. Photo courtesy Todd Alström.
Todd Alström (right) and his brother Jason Alström co-founded BeerAdvocate.<br />The siblings are bringing their signature event the Extreme Beer Fest to Los Angeles on Dec. 9. Photo courtesy Todd Alström.

Puddin’ Wine (Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE. 10% ABV.) “Shameless plug. We brewed this with Dogfish Head. It’s based on my brother’s recipe for a traditional Christmas pudding (a booze soaked cake that you light on fire), with dried fruits—black currants, sultanas, plums, cherries, and raisins—plus golden treacle and brown sugar to goose the alcohol. It’s also aged in Port wine barrels.”

Ghostface Killah (Three Weavers Brewing Co., Inglewood, CA. 6.9% ABV.) “A West Coast IPA with ghost, habanero, jalapeño, fresno, and bell peppers? Sign me up! I’m a sucker for chile beers, and everything I’ve had from Three Weavers has been delicious.”

Mexican Achromatic (WeldWerks Brewing Co., Greeley, CO. 10.2% ABV.) “I love a good Mexican hot chocolate. And this big Stout has a ton of TCHO (a luxury chocolate maker) cacao nibs, chocolate malts, oatmeal, crystal malts, plus cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans. It sounds crazy good, and I can’t wait to try this one myself.”

Cosmic Vibration (Finback Brewery, Queens, NY. 7.5% ABV.) “I recently tried it on canning day at the brewery. It’s a coffee coconut IPA, dry hopped with Falconers, Mosaic, and Ekuanot hops. My brain kept on making me take sips in order to figure out why I liked something so weird, so damn much.”

Illusion of Safety (Adroit Theory Brewing Co., Purcellville, VA. 4.5% ABV) “It’s got a 4.5% ABV Gose (a tart German wheat beer with salt) base, but then they age it in gin barrels. So it’s going to pick up residual botanicals in the wood, but then they add some Thai basil and black pepper. I love gin, and I love when brewers mash up flavors like this.”

If You Go

When: Two sessions from Noon-3:30 p.m. and 6-9:30 p.m. Dec. 9.

Where: California Market Center, 110 E Ninth St, Los Angeles.

Tickets: $60

Information: www.beeradvocate.com.

Leave a Reply