The downtown arts district brewery Angel City held a contest last November that asked fans to submit ideas for the dream beer that they’d brew if they were in charge of the brew house, and the winning “What Would You Brew?” beer is now available in the taproom.
Home brewer Emily Finch’s winning entry is an attempt to translate one of L.A.’s signature beverages -- those ubiquitous bottles of a particular Mexican cola -- into craft beer form, and Angel City brew master Dieter Foerstner immediately got excited about tackling the challenge when he saw Finch’s idea among the entries.
Mexican Cola Beer. It might sound like an April Fools' joke, but it is very real, and it’s surprisingly tasty. The color is spot-on cola-brown, and although the aroma is a bit off-putting at first, the Mexican Cola beer’s flavor is eerily close to that of a frosty bottle of the real thing.
Foerstner used such ingredients as roasted malts, citrus peel and tamarind for the color and depth of flavor that the imaginative brew required, and a small amount of real cola was used as an adjunct during fermentation.
Foerstner says he feared the results would be like the “diesels” -- a mix of Coke and Pilsner beer -- that he learned to loathe in Germany, but the finished beer is remarkably drinkable.
The Mexican Cola brew is just the latest crazy concoction brewed at Angel City Brewery. It follows the infamous French Sip -- the au jus beer inspired by L.A.’s feuding restaurants that each claims to have originated the French dip sandwich -- an avocado kolsch that may be rebrewed for this year’s Avocado Festival at the brewery, and a pickle brine-laced Berliner weisse.
A portion of the Mexican Cola beer was also diverted into the brewery’s young barrel-aging program to fill -- what else -- rum barrels. The rum-and-wood infused version will be ready, hopefully, for L.A. Beer Week in September.
The brewery isn’t all experimental one-offs though, and two new, more straightforward, Angel City Brewery beers are hitting shelves. In addition to six-packs of the Gold Line Pilsner, the brewery’s light and hoppy Summer West Coast Wheat ale is also being bottled. The taproom has also finally opened the mezzanine level of their expansive, and very popular, space that hosts a multitude of events, live music and art shows.
Mexican Cola is available for a (very) limited time at the Angel City Brewery Public House at 216 S. Alameda St.