Saturday, March 10, 2012

ColLAboration Winter 2012

ColLAboration, the pop-up mobile craft beer garden from the collective fevered imaginations of LA's leading beer bar owners, finally held their Winter event on Oscar Sunday.  The fest, which had been delayed several months, more than made up for the delay with a doozy of a location and lineup of brews, including the ever elusive Pliny the Younger from Russian River and Dogfish Head World Wide Stout.

The location was the Belasco Theater, a classic from 1926 that was known for its burlesque revues in the 1940s and was extensively renovated to the tune of $12 million before it reopened last year as a party space.  This was the first of the ColLAborations to be held indoors and it was a dramatic location with the tiers of balconies overlooking the main taps areas on the floor.  There were also several outdoor patios which were quite popular on this sunny afternoon.

There were longer lines than at some of the prior events in the series; perhaps because of greater attendance.  Strange Brew played on a continuous loop to entertain the thirsty attendees.  Beers were sold via tokens, which were $6 each or 4 for $20.  This event premiered the new ColLAboration goblet glasses.  Your glass is your entry ticket at ColLAboration, so it makes sense to keep your glass from prior events. 

This was my first time trying the Pliny the Younger, which has developed a cult status over the past few years, as it is time consuming and expensive for Russian River to make, leading to small quantities produced.  The scarcity factor and reputation for deliciousness, along with the "passport stamp" effect in which drinkers want to try the latest hot thing has led to ever increasing ridiculousness each February when the Younger is released.  The Double IPA is rather delicious; it is hoppy but not a smack in the face.  Very tasty, but I can't recommend waiting in line for hours to try it, especially when there are so many other great beers out there.  Fortunately they handled their Pliny allocation well at ColLAboration by releasing it at staggered times at each of the three different bars, without notice.  This gave everyone a shot at trying it for themselves, and also ensured that the beer didn't disappear within minutes of the event's beginning.

Above, Ryan Sweeney of Verdugo Bar, Surly Goat and Little Bear enjoyed a beer on the upstairs patio during a break in the action.  Below the four collaborators/hosts toasted to the success of a well attended and well beveraged event.

Photo courtesy Helen Springut
I heard that the next ColLAboration event should happen later this spring.  Stay tuned for details.

Learn more about ColLAboration at their website:

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