I haven’t been to Mohawk Bend as often this year as in the last couple, so Christina’s farewell party was a great excuse to revisit one of the best tap selections in LA. In fact, the tap list is so good it’s easy to miss hidden gems, so I did some homework beforehand and made a short list of beers that I hadn’t tried that I wanted to: Hangar 24’s 2013 iteration of Vinaceous, GRB’s Aunt Sally, Rubicon 25th Anniversary IPA and TAPS California Gold XPA (I also wanted to re-try and rate Bear Republic’s Hop Rod Rye). Now Mohawk only do pre-set flights (boo!) but I thought I spotted a flight that would help with my list but when it arrived it was clearly not what I had ordered. I was about to complain to the bartender when I realised the classic Mohawk Bend error: they don’t cycle out old menus well enough and I had been looking at an old version.
Fortunately, that error led me to my first pick of the weekend, Best Flight That Destroyed My Ability To Smell Anything But Spruce. That went to the Stone flight: Self Righteous, Enjoy By 7/4, RuinTen and RuinTen on Cask. Boy oh boy was that an arboreal assault. All good beers, but I did feel like the figurative pine tree that they inserted into my sinuses detracted from my ability to really enjoy distinct subtleties of the beers; in particular the Enjoy By 7/4.
Mohawk bend also brought my second pick: Best New Beer I Thought I’d Tried Before. I’d seen Smog City’s Amarilla Gorilla IPA all over the place and for some reason I thought I’d tried it and not thought that much of it. Nope. It has a great tropical passionfruit nose for which alone I would considering ordering a pint. The palate doesn’t quite live up to the nose, but provides a solid base for the aromatic notes.
(As for my pre-made wish list, I didn’t get tothe TAPS California Gold XPA or Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye and Mohawk had tapped out of GRB’s Aunt Sally. Hangar 24’s Vinaceous (2013), was better integrated than the 2012 brew, but without the weird/awesome winery nose and, Rubicon 25th Anniversary IPA was unremarkable.)
Finally, Sunday was the monthly Nerd SoCal game day at Game Empire in Pasadena, conveniently opposite Lucky Baldwins‘ second location (Trappiste) so over a ridiculous looking Steak and Mushroom pie (i.e. bowl of stew with an enormous poofy hat), I sampled a few of the IPAs on tap as part of their IPA “festival. I’d seen this month long event advertised when we assembled here after last month’s game day and was excited that I’d catch the end of it, but I have to say it was a bit disappointing. First because it didn’t seem like they had any more IPAs on tap than they usually do (10 or so, including Doubles, Imperials and Belgians) and second because few of those were very interesting or unusual. But it did lead me to the Best Beer I’d Forgotten I Liked, Rogue’s Brutal IPA, again with some passionfruit on the nose.