Art of Craft ~ brews and reviews
By Greg Richardson

I had a craft beer adventure to culminate of Beer Week in Los Angeles. It included a train trip, visiting new places and meeting new people, and exploring new craft brew experiences.

The Gold Line Pub Crawl included stops at eight craft breweries and beer bars, all within easy walking distance of the Los Angeles Metro Gold Line. My total cost for transportation, without any risk of driving while under the influence, was a day pass for $ 7.

People began their crawls at different points along the route. Some people chose specific locations to visit, while others set time limits. My approach was to visit as many of the eight locations as possible, enjoying as much quality beer as I could.

I began my crawl in the Arts District at Angel City Brewing. I had been there before, and wrote about my conversation with Dieter, their head brewer.

As we got off the train in the Arts District, a man with one of the pub crawl maps walked up and asked if we knew where Angel City was. It turned out he had arrived from New Zealand less than an hour before meeting us. We went to Angel City together, where we shared our stories and a Social IPA.

Angel City’s Social IPA was a great way to start. I hoped to move toward darker beer as the pub crawl continued, and hoppy IPA was an excellent beginning.

From Angel City we walked to Far Bar, which was featuring beers from El Segundo Brewing. Jet lag and exhaustion was starting to affect our new friend from New Zealand, and he decided to go back to his hotel. We met more people on their pub crawls, and I tried an El Segundo Passionate Dog.

Passionate Dog is a White Dog IPA brewed with passion fruit. It was hoppy and fresh, an excellent second step on an eight part pub crawl.

We took the Gold Line two stops, through Union Station, to Chinatown. There we walked a couple of blocks to Melody Lounge, which was the first stop I had not visited before.

Melody Lounge is more of what I was raised to understand as a “bar.” It is fairly small, dark, and filled with people. They featured beers from Three Weavers Brewing in Inglewood, and I did not resist the temptation to jump several notches on the darkness range. I enjoyed a Midnight Flight Imperial Stout. I look forward to tasting more from Three Weavers.

We went back to the Gold Line and continued to the Lincoln/Cypress station. A few blocks, including crossing over the 110 Freeway, took us to Footsie’s, the fourth stop on the crawl.

Footsie’s is a larger space than Melody Lounge and has a real “bar” feel, as well as a great juke box. Footsie’s featured Eagle Rock Brewing beers, and I continued my trend with a Solidarity. I am looking forward to my return visit to Footsie’s.

After four beers in four different locations, my pub crawl was at least half over. We returned to the Gold Line and rode to the Highland Park station. The next stop was the Greyhound Bar & Grill. I was looking forward to tasting beer from the Highland Park Brewery, and eating something. The unfortunate thing was that the Greyhound was completely full. There was not even a place to sit at the bar. I am eager to go back and sample what they offer, but it was the first place I did not have a beer on my crawl.

We walked back to the Gold Line for the final rail leg of the crawl to Memorial Park station in Pasadena.

Our first stop in Pasadena was the Dog Haus Biergarten, which was featuring beers from Ritual Brewing in Redlands. I asked for the darkest beer they had from Ritual, and had an Extra Red Ale along with a Kung Pao Cajun dog and tater tots. Ritual’s Extra Red has notes of caramel and toffee, along with plenty of hoppy goodness. Though not particularly dark, it was delicious with my meal.

From Dog Haus we walked to Kings Row Gastropub which was featuring beer from Wolf Creek Brewing. I have been to Wolf Creek’s tasting room in Valencia, and was looking forward to renewing my acquaintance. I am not sure whether it was the cumulative effect of five beers, or I was just in a particularly picky mood, but nothing really grabbed my attention. I was looking for something dark and did not see it. I decided to come back to Kings Row another day.

From Kings Row we walked down an alley to Lucky Baldwin’s. Lucky’s was featuring beer from two breweries, Craftsman Brewing in Pasadena and Macleod Ale Brewing in Van Nuys. I know and love Craftsman, so opted for a Yankee Mick’s American Brown Ale with apple pie for desert.

As the sixth beer of the day, Macleod’s brown ale was a great way to complete my pub crawl. I am a fan of English beer, and looking forward to tasting more of Macleod’s menu.

My Gold Line Pub Crawl was a great way to spend an afternoon. If you are interested, let me know. I would be glad to go with you . . .

Greg Richardson is a spiritual mentor, and leadership and organizational coach, in Pasadena. Greg writes about Leadership, Pilgrimage & Revelry on his website at StrategicMonk.com and he is on Twitter @StrategicMonk. Greg hosts a Craft Brewery Pilgrimage which visits a new craft brewery each month.

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