The award-winning Solidarity, Eagle Rock Brewery's first craft beer, is about to be relegated to a special seasonal release.
The brewery was the first craft brewery to open in Los Angeles when it started making beer in 2009. And the first beer brewed was Solidarity. Known as the "black mild," the beer is as unique now as it was back in the dark ages of L.A.'s beer scene. But after more than six years of continuously brewing Solidarity, slow sales have prompted the brewery to limit its production.
Solidarity, based on the traditional English mild style, is a sub-4% alcohol ale filled with complex malt flavors, toasty bitterness and a touch of smoke. But it never caught on with the crowds of drinkers discovering craft beer in L.A., where an obsession with hop-driven brews and ever-increasing alcohol content is the norm. The low-alcohol and malt-forward brew seemed to get lost in the shuffle of rotating IPA handles and all the excitement over the next new brew.
“For brewers, homebrewers, beer judges, restaurant people, industry people, [Solidarity] is their go-to, but unfortunately it doesn’t pay the bills like it once did," Raub said. “Solidarity was taking up [fermentation] tank space and kegs — the resources that some of the other beers that are selling could take up.”
“Solidarity is just not a very sexy beer,” Raub said. “From the very beginning I thought we’d just brew the beers that we like to drink. Now there’s all these other breweries and these other options. We could keep brewing Solidarity, and people love that beer, but it’s not enough.”
Raub isn’t sure when Solidarity will make its return after this last batch is sold. “Maybe it will be spring, maybe summer, but it’s coming back."