The LA Beer Garden (2010 ASAE Annual Meeting, Part 2)

Meeting the LA Lakers Cheerleaders at ASAE 2010 Opening Night Celebration

On to Part 2 of my 2010 ASAE Annual Meeting beer-drinking experience, AKA reflections on 18 beers that rocked my world at #ASAE10 plus lessons learned and top highlights from the conference

I made my first trip to Los Angeles when I attended the 2010 ASAE Annual Meeting in late August.  I was excited to be in a new city, and I took the time to explore the beer scene in and around Downtown LA, as I described in my last post.

Even if I hadn’t found the time to seek out local beer, I would have sampled many excellent beers just by attending ASAE 2010. There was great beer at every turn, from the opening night celebration to the final night concert, from the exhibit hall to the Food & Wine Classic, from the educational sessions, to…OK, maybe not the sessions, but I sure could have used a cold one while watching the ASAE-produced sitcom, Guilt by Association.

Here’s the run down of beers I found at ASAE 2010:

Opening Night Celebration
Melissa Etheridge performed at the opening night celebration at LA Live, and Fat Tire and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale were the perfect session beers to quench my thirst during the show.

ASAE 2010 Expo Hall
Favorite exhibit booths in the ASAE 2010 Expo Hall: the Canada Pavilion and Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau. Why? They served beer!

The Canada Pavilion reeled me in with an e-mail before the show that encouraged me to “Find out What’s Brewing in Canada.”

So when the exhibit hall opened, I dutifully visited with a couple of my vendors and investigated some technology solutions before meandering to the Canada Pavilion (yeah, right). Dodging a couple of hotel reps, I walked into the Canada booth and settled in at the small bar in the center of the exhibit space. What’s this, Moosehead Lager and LaBatt Blue?  Not exactly craft beer, but hey, it was beer. They saved themselves with a Blanche De Chambly from Unibroue, a delicious Wit beer.  I visited the Canada booth on both days of the Expo, and enjoyed meeting and talking beer with the special beer hosts, especially Roger Mittag, the founder of Thirst For Knowledge, Inc., a beer education company. Mittag, a “Professor of Beer” according to his business card, promised a more interesting selection of beer at the Canada Ale Trail at the Food & Wine Classic. And as I describe below, he delivered!

Later, as I was walking the exhibit hall, I got a tweet from @brucehammond:

Attn: @boabeerblog & @deirdrereid: Salt Lake City has local beers that you can try. They’re in the 1700 aisle. (Pretend it’s EDT) #asae10.`

Nice! The Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau was pouring two beers from Squatters: an IPA and Provo Girl Pilsner! Thanks for the tip @brucehammond!

The LA Beer Garden

ASAE & The Center’s Food & Wine Classic
The Food & Wine Classic should be renamed the Food, Beer, & Wine Classic. The event featured two special beer experiences: the LA Beer Garden and the Canada Ale Trail.

For a few minutes at the Food & Wine Classic, I had the LA Beer Garden all to myself. The Classic was held at the California Science Center, and the Beer Garden was on the back lawn. You had to walk through the Science Center to get back there, through a bunch of exhibits, and for an instant I felt like a mouse in a maze looking for his cheese. But a far greater reward awaited me: a Beer Garden featuring southern California breweries!

I was the first to stroll into the LA Beer Garden and eventually, others followed.  Beating the crowd gave me a chance to converse with the brewery reps, and I especially enjoyed learning about the two-man operation that is Strand Brewing Company.

Five breweries were pouring beer, and I tasted all the offerings:

Ballast Point Brewing Company

  • Sculpin, a double IPA
  • Black Marlin Porter

The Bruery

  • Tradewinds, a Belgian-style golden ale brewed with rice and Thai basil

Eagle Rock Brewery

  • Populist, an IPA
  • Solidarity, a sessionable Black Mild at 3.9% ABV

Firestone Walker Brewing Company

  • Union Jack, an award-winning IPA
  • Solace, an unfiltered wheat beer

Strand Brewing Company

  • 24th Street Pale Ale, a traditional west coast Pale Ale

Because this post is growing long, I didn’t include my beer notes, but there are details about the beers on the ASAE Annual Meeting website. Joshua Lurie of FoodGPS did a great job organizing the Beer Garden and I didn’t want to leave the lawn of the Science Center. But I wanted to find the Canada Ale Trail and hear 50 Amp Fuse, so I headed inside.

The Canada Ale Trail offered four food and beer pairings:

  • Beer-Cured Salmon Tartare with Toasted Pumpernickel and Dill Crème Fraiche, with Blanche De Chambly
  • Miniature Three-Cheese Panini with Dijon Mustard and Smoked Paprika, with Moosehead Lager
  • Spicy Lamb Meatballs with Perfumes of Morocco and Harissa Glaze, with Howe Sound Devils’ Elbow IPA
  • Miniature Chocolate Cupcakes with Beer Ganache, with Howe Sound Diamond Head Oatmeal Stout

All of the pairings were delicious; my favorite was the spicy lamb meatball and IPA. Great job by Roger Mittag and Thirst for Knowledge, Inc. on the pairings.

Closing Night Celebration
OK, so there wasn’t great beer at the Closing Night Celebration. But there was an entertaining performance by Cyndi Lauper, who sang the blues along with her 80’s hits. I was feeling a bit beer-fatigued anyway. Though that didn’t stop me from drinking a couple of Widmer Hefeweizens at the YAP after-party at the Suede Bar in the Westin.

I was dreading my early morning flight the next day. ASAE 2010 was over, and I was off to a meeting in Ottawa before I could go home to Maryland. But I left LA with a lot of fun memories and new friends.

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