For the last several years, Eagle Rock Brewery has brewed the official beer of L.A. Beer Week. The brew recipe for the beer known as Unity changes every year, but it's brewed with a spirit of collaboration and teamwork as brewers from around Los Angeles join the Eagle Rock Brewery crew to get the beer made and packaged for the annual craft beer celebration in L.A.
Brewers last year created a sour rye ale in the style of a Berliner weisse, with prickly pears added to the brew. Two years ago, Eagle Rock collaborated with Craftsman Brewery for a tamarind saison. This year, the brewery teamed up with a home brewer.
Home brewer Craig Wickham's "red mild," which features hibiscus and honey, won the best in show award this year at the Maltose Falcons' "Doug King Memorial Homebrew Competition" hosted by Eagle Rock Brewery. The prize was a chance to brew a professional batch of his beer at Eagle Rock Brewery for submission to the Great American Beer Festival's Pro/Am competition.
For the last two years, the L.A. Brewers Guild has chosen a theme ingredient that the Southland's breweries are encouraged to utilize in their L.A. Beer Week beers. Last year it was the aforementioned prickly pears, and this year's theme ingredient is honey. When Eagle Rock Brewing co-owner and brew master Jeremy Raub saw that the winning recipe used honey, he decided it would also be a great recipe for this year's Unity.
I stopped by Eagle Rock Brewery as the beer was being bottled, and I was able to sample the new brew fresh off the bottling line. The beer is light and drinkable and topped with a fluffy, and vaguely pink, head. Refreshing, with a distinct fruity flavor from the hibiscus, Unity 2013 is just over 4% ABV, and it should make a wonderful accompaniment to L.A. Beer Week's traditionally balmy days.
Unity is available at the Eagle Rock Brewery tap room Friday, and it will be distributed to bars and bottle shops over the next few days.