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Angel City Brewmaster: 'There's a bit of LA brewing tradition built in me'

By Hayley Fox
Published: Thursday, January 10, 2013, at 09:18AM
Hayley Fox/blogdowntown

Eventually the new Angel City will be serving eight beers in their taproom.

With a new look, new beer and a new Brewmaster, Downtown's Angel City Brewery is in the process of re-opening as a taproom and event space, while starting to distribute their brews in limited batches to select DTLA restaurants and bars.

Bought by Alan Newman over a year ago, the Arts District brewery is currently pumping out Angeleno IPA and Eureka!Wit, under the stewardship of Dieter Foerstner; a brewmaster who came to L.A. from Arizona, where he worked for Gordon Biersch.

Foerstner's great -grandfather was a brewer in downtown L.A. decades ago, so the brewer said there's a bit of "L.A. brewing tradition built in me," adding that it's part of his history -- and hopefully, Downtown's future.

"L.A.'s been looking for a craft beer scene, I think, for a long time," he said. "And there’s lots of great beers in and around Los Angeles but to actually be in Downtown, it’s a big responsibility.”

He said of course making beer is fun, but it's also a daunting task to make new brews that are creative and interesting, but still drinkable.

"These are beers that people are actually going to reach in their pockets and spend their hard earned money on," he said.

When the brewery is in full swing they expect to have eight beers on tap in their Art Deco-style taproom, two of which will be put out in circulation and served at local bars and restaurants. As of now their taproom is pouring an IPA, a Belgian-style white ale and a vanilla porter; coming soon is a pilsner.

Some beers take as few as seven days to go "from grain to glass," said Foerstner. Others, like the IPA, can take three to four weeks with aged brews taking as long as six to twelve months. In the beginning, Angel City will be distributing mostly to DTLA restaurants and bars and serving beers only by the keg. Foerstner said eventually they plan to be bottling and selling their brews at grocery stores and other locations, but that is much farther down the line.

For now, there's fewer than 10 employees working in the enormous brewery located off of Alameda, including administrative staff, public relations people, managers and brewers. The first floor alone is almost 24,000-square-feet and although there are many aesthetic changes within the taproom space, anyone who visited the old Angel City may see one familiar sight: A giant, metal twisty slide that curls from the second floor down to the first.

While it is a functioning slide, big enough for humans but used about 100 years ago to send cable materials between floors, it is off limits. Foerstner said although it's a great discussion piece, wayward pieces of metal and its approximately century-old history makes it unsafe for people to use.

Although the brewery will continue to be open on occasion for open houses or special events, Foerstner said it will be at least early spring before they are ready to launch full time. Even that target date may change depending on permitting and construction schedules.


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