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Christmas in July: Cellaring Holiday Brews

So your friends and family took the easy out and got you a gift card for Christmas. Be it 25 plastic dollars at an alcohol super store, a hand-made voucher hastily created, or a pre charged credit card there are many tough decisions ahead. This circumstance presents the perfect time to plan a party. A party that will take place 7 months from now on Saturday July 25, 2015.

Highland Park Brewery’s First Bottle Release - Presale Now, Release Party December 14th

The first bottled beers from Highland Park Brewery are about to hit the streets, and if you’re a fan of complex and creative brews you’re going to want to get in on this release.

GABF2014: The Times They Are A-Changin'

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Photos by Sarah Bennett

For anyone who hasn't yet traveled to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival, let's be clear: it's pure beer-insanity.

While your average local beer festival might have 30 breweries, pouring two beers apiece, catering to a couple of thousand attendees, for the largest commercial craft beer competition in the world—which just completed its 33rd year—those figures now get multiplied more than 25 times. And it's still growing.

One look at the annual roundup of “festival facts” for 2014 is enough to give you a perspective on the dizzying amount of craft beer that was present at the Colorado Convention Center from October 2-4.

“In 2014, the GABF competition will include approximately 5,700 entries from over 1,300 breweries,” the GABF website says. “In the festival hall, more than 700 breweries will be sampling around 3,500 beers from all over the country.” Compare those numbers to GABF's 10th year where 150 breweries attended with 500 beers at the comparatively modest Denver Merchandise Mart.

Then actually imagine this year's festival floor: a room larger than the largest mall parking lot filled with an endless stream of tables, each manned by a different brewery, each pouring upwards of five beers apiece from pre-filled plastic pitchers. To each brewer, their beer is the best, the most important, the one you need to try first because it's totally going to medal this year.

There are more than 700 of these breweries and more than 3,500 of these beers, a 14 percent increase from last year. And that's not even counting the 500 breweries who entered beers but were not able to get a table and their 1200 competition-only beers not being poured on the floor.

Sure, this might all sound like everything a beer lover could ask for, but when it's there in front of you, I assure you it's horribly crippling.

Who’s Who of International Breweries Coming to Los Angeles for The Festival

On November 8th and 9th, in collaboration with the soon to be opened Brouwerij West in the Port of Los Angeles, The Shelton Brothers bring us The Festival, a beer fest with top breweries from all over the globe. With over 14 countries represented at The Festival, beer lovers will be able to drink around to world without the jet lag. Not only will the beers be there to sample, the brewers themselves will be at the fest pour their beers and to hang with all the good folks of Southern California, and San Pedro native and founder of Brouwerij West Brian Mercer can take a lot of credit for attracting the importers to SoCal.

Hops’ Flavor Too Big to be Contained by Beer Alone

The taste and smell of hops are so distinct it’s surprising that uses for the potent botanical besides brewing are not more common. But there is now a thriving culture of experimentation with hops that looks to utilize the plant in new ways. If you’re a devoted hop head, the future looks bright and you may be filling your house, your fridge, and even your lungs with hoppy goodness sometime soon.

BPLA Staff Picks for LA Beer Week Events

LA Beer Week is running from Saturday, September 20 through Sunday, September 28. Here are some picks from our staff that we feel represent a broad swath of the events you'll find all over the county over the next 9 days. We'll be putting out more picks for you as the week goes on. #LABW6

Five and a Half Things that Blew My Mind at OC BrewHaHa

The scenic grounds of Oak Canyon Park provide ample room for Orange County’s biggest yearly beer festival. The fifth execution of OC BrewHaHa was by far the most ambitious with almost 200 beers flowing all afternoon.  Human Foosball, giant Jenga, Corn Hole and more entertained those who could bear the heat that seemed inescapable even with plenty of water, misters, and cold adult beverages.

Region's Most Decorated Brewer to Join LA's Largest Craft Brewery in September

After several days of rumors and speculation, Tony Yanow has announced in an open letter that TAPS Fish House and Brewery Brewmaster, Victor Novak, will be joining the Golden Road Brewing team beginning on September 2nd in a move that will no doubt create shockwaves in the Greater Los Angeles craft beer community.

Top Breweries Collaborate With Sierra Nevada For Beer Camp Across America's Epic 12-Pack

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Beer Camp Across America 2014 hosted by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is the ultimate party on wheels with the best drinkers in the industry. Aiming to travel to seven cities—beginning in Chico, CA and ending in Mills River, NC after creating 12 different beers with some of the best brewers in the industry, you would think they were celebrating something pretty big. Well, they are: craft beer.

We wanted to make this, not necessarily a Sierra Nevada thing, but we want to [celebrate] this big success of craft [beer],” says Brian Grossman, co-manager of the brewery’s Mills River location and son of Sierra Nevada owner Ken Grossman.

JULIAN SHRAGO of Beachwood BBQ and Brewing

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Brewers are curious people. They have to be monk-like in their dedication to time spent alone on their craft. They also have to be creative and willing to take risks as well. That duality is hard to find in a single person. Julian Shrago, Brewmaster and Co-Owner of Beachwood BBQ and Brewing, is the embodiment of this duality, part artist and part scientist, he brings both worlds together to create an array of world class beers. This duality is also on display in his personality as well, as he can drop a sarcastic joke on you then snap into business mode and deal with a staffing issue. Shrago is a passionate individual that has helped bring Beachwood Brewing into the national craft beer spotlight in just three short years. 

Beer Paper LA’s Rob Wallace sat down with Shrago to discuss his beer royalty mentors, what it is like winning tons of awards, and those “oh shit” beers that change your life.