California has been leading the craft-beer revival in America since Jack McAuliffe launched New Albion, the first modern microbrewery, in Sonoma back in 1976. Trailblazers like Sierra Nevada and the revived Anchor Steam carried the torch from there, giving way to Stone, Lagunitas, and a whole host of top-notch breweries that helped to turn the West Coast IPA into one of the defining styles of the craft movement.
Notably absent from all this excitement has been Los Angeles, which garned a reputation as a craft-beer desert while cities like San Diego and San Francisco established themselves as powerhouse American beer meccas. But finally, the City of Angels is making its mark, in no small part due to the pioneering efforts of Eagle Rock Brewery.
Since 2009, the Eagle Rock been leading the charge to help L.A. realize its potential as craft beer-paradise. Jeremy Raub, along with his wife Ting Su and father Steven Raub, opened Eagle Rock Brewery and taproom after spending more than a decade as serious home brewers. From the outset, their mission was two-fold: to make approachable beers that defied customers’ expectations, and to help foster the L.A. beer community.
A lot has happened in the three years since the brewery opened its doors. Eagle Rock has begun bottling four of its beers year round: Solidarity black mild ale, Manifesto witbier, Revolution pale ale, and Populist IPA. Its distribution has reached as far as San Diego, and they are now distributing through the acclaimed Stone Brewing Co.
Jeremy, Ting, and Steve can be seen behind the taproom counter coaxing novice beer drinkers trying new brews and figuring out the styles that best suit their tastes. These future hopheads sit beside craft beer junkies who sip American sours, talk fluently about yeast strains, and wax poetic about L.A.’s burgeoning craft-beer scene.
The beer enlightenment doesn’t stop there: Apart from the quarterly brewing demos and monthly educational series held at the brewery, Ting Su hosts themed Women’s Beer Forums, where women come to taste, learn about, and discuss beer. Put down the “chick beers” that you’ve been convinced you want, she pleads, and drink what you actually like.
In our interview, Jeremy and Ting demonstrate that while their brewery may be young, in just three years they have ignited a craft-beer conversation that may turn the City of Angels into a beer destination worthy of the state's impressive pedigree.
Interview by Erin Mosbaugh (@JayBlague)Click to start the list