Home brewing is nothing new -- it's been legal in this country since 1978 -- and L.A.'s Maltose Falcons have been teaching the craft for even longer than that. The seminal home brew club turns 40 this year, and it's planning celebrations from January through December including competitions, demos and two commercial collaborations with L.A.'s favorite craft breweries.
The first collaboration beer will be brewed this spring at Eagle Rock Brewery, and the Baltic porter (a seldom-seen historical style) will be available at the ERB taproom as well as bottled and kegged for distribution.
Paso Robles' Firestone Walker Brewing -- long a supporter of the Los Angeles craft beer scene -- will also collaborate with the Maltose Falcons on a beer this year. The results of this team up will be barrel-aged at Firestone Walker and used as a component in the brewery's acclaimed Anniversary Ale.
The club will also hold its first home brew competition of the year this month: the Doug King Memorial Homebrew Competition. The judging takes place Jan. 25 at Eagle Rock Brewery, and the brewer awarded Best in Show will have the opportunity to brew a commercial-scale batch of their recipe with the Eagle Rock Brewery team. The collaboration will be entered into the 2014 Great American Beer Festival's Pro-Am category (which ERB won in 2010 with its crowd-favorite Red Velvet).
Since 1974 the Falcons have been advocating for home- and craft-brewed beer, and the club helped lobby for legalization and has been training some of L.A.'s best brewers ever since. In 2010 the American Homebrewers Assn. honored the Falcons as the California Homebrew Club of the Year, and the monthly meetings at Woodland Hills' Home Beer Wine and Cheesemaking Shop are attended by dozens of home brewers looking to share in the knowledge -- and the brews.