Angel City Brewery
“It leads a very simple life,” says Layton Cutler, the head brewer at Angel City. “If it’s unhappy, it’ll cause problems. But if you give it a nice environment, it’ll treat you right.”
He means yeast, but yeast doesn’t behave so differently from anything else. With Downtown as a second example, nice environments foster happiness, and happiness is fertile ground on its own.
Angel City founder Michael Bowe’s philosophy was simple: LA is a great city, and a great city deserves a great brewery. This was almost twenty years ago, when Bowe was still a home brewer with a few awards under his belt, experimenting with different recipes, taking his samples around to see who liked them.
“My vision was always LA,” Bowe says. “My background is in art, and Downtown, in the Arts District, felt like a good fit for us.”
In 2010, Angel City Brewery opened their doors as a tap room and public house in the historic John A. Roebling building on Alameda. Since then, it’s become a gateway to the Arts District. It’s an easy access point for visitors to the neighborhood. Just a quick walk from both Union Station and the Gold Line, they even have their own parking lot, as well as a hub for a huge array of local goings-on.
“We want this to be a community center,” says Keith Ely, a general manager at Angel City. “We try to keep our fingers on the pulse, to be a part of the neighborhood — what they need, what’s valuable to their lives.”
Though Angel City has been adopted by craft beer collaboration Alchemy and Science, nothing about the partnership compromises the brewery’s integrity. Its heart and soul are still intertwined with Downtown: a small gallery in the back showcases the work of local artists, the Arts District Farmers Market occupies the parking lot on Thursday, and the Brewery hosts a two-mile run around Downtown followed by a Vinyasa flow class Sunday mornings at 9:30. This month, Angel City will host its Second Annual Broken Hearts Carnival (stilt walkers, jugglers, and acrobats in attendance) on Valentine’s Day. All events, of course, come with beer.
Angel City’s most popular brews are available for purchase around the state. Everything that eventually gets bottled has a trial run at the taproom first, but some are limited editions that are only available on draft at the taproom for a short time. One limited run is the White Nite, a nitrogenated golden stout — it resembles an ale in color and body, but has the rich, roasted flavor of a dark beer. Also try the Baltic Porter, a velvety, malty beer with a slightly crisper finish than a traditional porter. For the very adventurous among us, there’s also the Srirachelada, which is Angel City’s take on a Michelada: sriracha, tomato juice, lime, agave, banana peppers, and Worcestershire sauce (you can always cleanse your palate with the citrusy-sweet Honey Lager after). In any case, there’s always something on tap that you won’t see anywhere else.
“Some of us have crazy ideas. Sometimes we like them, sometimes we don’t,” Cutler says. “You just have to try them and let yourself be surprised.”
Logan Havens & Kort Havens
Logan Havens & Kort Havens