Los Angeles Vegan Beer Fest Recap & Pictures
The second annual LA Vegan Beerfest took place this Saturday at the world-famous Roxy Theater in West Hollywood. The event was presented by The Roxy, vegan blogger extraordinaire Quarry Girl, and craft beer champion Tony Yanow of Tony’s Darts Away and the soon-to-be-opened Mohawk Bend.
The event which drew a great crowd of both vegans and non-vegans was a great way to officially start the summer as there was plenty of sunshine, good eats, and of course, unlimited tastings from over 20 breweries.
But before I go into talking about the event, let’s take a little crash course on what vegan beer actually is. Believe it or not, not all beers are vegan (sorry to burst your bubble). Often times beer is filtered with non-vegan ingredients including bone char, isinglass, and sometimes even gelatin. For those concerned, it’s safer to double check online or by contacting the brewery before you reach for that next brew.
I got there early to see that there was only one line for both ticket sales, will call, and VIP passes. However, the line moved quickly and we were checked-in with commemorative tasting glass in tow in a matter of minutes. The VIP lounge was located upstairs inside On The Rox; a classic Sunset Strip hideout from back in the day known for high-profile regulars including John Lennon. This well-air conditioned lounge was a real treat with their three specialty kegs which included Deschutes’ Green Lakes Organic Ale. Organizers did a great job at making sure that they didn’t over-accomodate keeping the vibe low key.
The real action was out in the beer garden. Since we were there early enough, it was great to see the crowd multiply with every blink of an eye. Of course, I immediately made my way to the first empty beer line I found, which was the absolutely lovely Lagunitas booth. After a lil’ sumpin, sumpin’, we headed over to the highly-buzzed food truck, Seabirds for what could possibly be the best avocado taco known to man.
When I heard there was a food truck dishing out beer-battered avocado tacos, I knew I had to have them. After several trips to booths doling out beers from Stone’s Ruination and Levitation ales to up and comers like Eel River and Cismontane, I made sure there was plenty of snacking to keep this craft beer drinker from falling over in sheer sudsy delight.
While I myself am not a vegan, I have many vegan friends and this event was an incredible way to get people together in a setting where those who are vegan don’t have to worry about asking every beer producer or food vendor about what the ingredients in their products are. It was also a great way to help introduce those not familiar with vegan food to a world beyond the stereotype of bland tofu and veggie sandwiches. Stand-outs also included the Frankenstand’s vegan hot dogs equipped with a full aresenal of toppings and condiments and my personal favorite, Doomie’s Home Cookin’ from Hollywood (who by the way, made the absolute best use of raspberry lambic with their delectable chocolate cupcakes w/ Lindeman’s framboise frosting).
Live music inside the club provided great entertainment as local bands the Mowgli’s, the Ferocious Few, the Stripminers, and the Silent Comedy rocked out on the historic stage. Festival-goers even got the chance to see a little more of the Mowgli’s as they got the crowed pumped with an impromptu mini-set out in the beer gardens before being called up to join the Silent Comedy for their last song.
Overall, LA Vegan Beerfest was a great event. It was run incredibly efficiently and I was impressed with both the food options and the stellar beer offerings. There was never a line for any of the beer booths and everyone was in good spirits. I noticed no “situations” and surprisingly, there was a pretty even ratio of men to women, which is always a great thing to see at events like these. I am definitely looking forward to paying these folks an annual visit. By Frances M. Lopez