A good beer crawl is a lot of fun, but finding enough good bars a walkable distance from one another and coordinating schedules with people are daunting enough tasks to derail your drinking plans. What better way to solve the problem than to have someone else organize a crawl for you? This Saturday, Thrillist Rewards is hosting their 2nd Craft Beer Crawl - which sets beer drinkers afoot through DTLA to enjoy nine craft beer pours from nine different bars and restaurants. Throw in some small bites provided along the way, and you've got yourself one helluva value for only $25.
Last month, we had ourselves a blast stumbling through Hollywood on their first crawl. With a diverse list of bars curated by LA Weekly contributer and fellow beer geek Steven Armstrong, the downtown crawl (from 1-6 on Sat. 1/28) sets out to be one bar more ambitous than the first. In preparation, let's take a look back at the eight spots and eight beers we encountered on our crawl through Hollywood last month (handy map below).
Stop #1 - Big Wangs
The beer? A Calico Amber Ale from Ballast Point Brewing in San Diego.
To the discerning beer drinker, serving it in a Bud Light glass may be akin to serving caviar in styrofoam, but Big Wangs isn't trying to be anything it's not. With TV-lined walls, pool tables, cheap beer deals on the daily, and three locations spread throughout the city, Big Wangs is the ideal kind of place to park yourself on a Sunday to watch football. We might've done just that had seven other bars not been calling our name. Moving on...
Stop #2 - District 13
The beer? A Double Trouble IPA from Lost Coast Brewery in Northern California.
District 13 was a place we were excited to finally check out. Housed in a small shopping plaza between two other beer bars, (the aforementioned Big Wangs and Stout Burger - which has some pretty great craft beers on tap despite not being on this particular crawl) District 13 might be easily skipped. But with such a fun space, great beers on tap, and a collection of sausages on the menu (some of which we were able to sample, below), this is absolutely the kind of place we'll come back to.
Stop #3 - Blue Palms Brewhouse
The beer? Of the numerous options offered, we got a South Swell Double IPA from Surf Brewery and a Speakeasy Imperial California Common.
Any Hollywood craft beer fan knows that Blue Palms isn't just the best place to grab a pint in Hollywood, it's one of the best spots in the Los Angeles area. With 24 craft beers on tap, there's always something new and unique to try. As we sipped on our beers, we got our hands on some complimentary sandwiches they were passing around. But it's worth coming in for the food on the regular menu - BP has some seriously good bar food, including great gourmet sausages and some of the best onion rings in the city.
Stop #4 - Hemmingway's Lounge
The beer? Old Rasputin Russian Imperialist Stout from North Coast Brewing Company.
Another new bar for us, Hemmingway's Lounge feels like a place where the man himself might've enjoyed entertaining a circle of writers and artists with one of his four wives - books everywhere you turn, shabby chic decor that is both cool and cozy (the wall of antique typewriters is a highlight), and a not-insubstantial list of beers and cocktails (named after Hemmingway's works). Finding this little oasis of calm nestled on oft chaotic, tourist-crowded Hollywood Boulevard was a pleasant surprise.
Stop #5 - The Writers Room
The beer? A Duvel Belgian Ale.
In the spirit of the crawl, our bartenders were sport enough to pour us a glass of Duvel, but you'll want to come here for the cocktails. In this dark throw-back venue - where in-the-know bar seekers will find the entrance hidden in a parking lot behind Musso & Frank's - each of the Daniel Nelson's drinks seems an homage to the cultural melting pot of Los Angeles' past and present.
Excited by the cocktail offerings, we took a temporary respite from beer and the crawl in general. The Dead Man Oaxacan (below, left) is an ode to LA's Oaxacan population, made with mezcal, mole-orange liqeur, Mexican oregano and a Chapulines garnish (note to the faint of stomach, chapulines is grasshopper - a popular snack in Oaxaca). The Fukushima Meltdown (below, left) draws its inspiration from Little Osaka, mixing a 12 year Yumazaki Japanese whisky, yuzukosho, sasho pepper (think tongue-numbing Szechuan peppercorn), and orange juice. The Cho Sun One (below, middle) is your K-Town rep, bringing corn whiskey, Korean pear, perilla leaf, lemon and sesame into the mix. And we can't forget Thai Town, can we? The Kaffir Rickey (below, right) adds vodka to the traditional gin-based cocktail of Kaffir lime juice, lemongrass and carbonated coconut water.
Look for even more of LA's diverse demographics represented when The Writers Room expands its cocktail list. We're particlularly looking forward to the Armenian Genocide (which is either a great drink or the best episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians ever). Until then, we've still got three more bars to hit.
Stop #6 - Five 0 Four
The beer? A Jockamo IPA by Abita Brewing Company
Five0Four (504) might be the area code to New Orleans, but it's also home to some real NOLA menu options like Po' Boys, Jumbalaya or Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. On tap is a small selection of craft beers, with a few from Louisiana's own Abita Brewing Company highlighting the bunch. With the hours ticking down, we were in a hurry to move on, so we downed our beers and took a rain check on the 'food' and 'fun' billed on the restaurant's sign.
Stop #7 - Bodega Wine Bar
The beer? The Valkyrie Altbier by Enegren Brewing Company.
Stop 7? Our blurry pictures correlate with even blurrier memories. Bodega Wine Bar is one of three locations that compliments its focus on wine with a casual menu of sandwiches, pizzas and shared plates. We eagerly sampled some of their bacon wrapped medjool dates stuffed with pecorino cheese. Also on hand was Matt Enegren of Enegren Brewing to pour some of their locally brewed beer.
Stop #8 - Go Burger
The beer? A honey Blonde Ale by Firestone Walker Brewing Company.
Brought to us by ESquared Hospitality Group - most well known for their upscale chain of BLT Steakhouses - Go Burger is a more casual eatery known for their burgers and spiked milkshakes. If that sounds good to you, visit soon - word has it that Go Burger is about to undergo a conceptual make-over. We managed to snag a booth to relax after all that crawling, but most of the energetic Saturday night crowd was on its feet, surrounding the bar.
If any of this seems up your alley, don't forget to snag your tickets to this Saturday's Downtown Craft Beer Crawl. It's only $25, and we'll be there, so come share a beer... or nine... with us.