Turning four years old this month, Strand Brewing Co. is a veteran among Los Angeles craft breweries, and its flagship 24th Street pale ale has deservedly become one of L.A.'s signature craft brews.
In a refined example of the American pale ale, 24th Street amps up both the hop and the malt intensity and pushes the alcohol to the high end (6.1%) of what's expected in the style. It's an attractive beer that pours a rich, gem-clear amber topped with a dense off-white foam. A whiff of toast and toffee is present when poured, before the hoppy kick of citrus and pine resin takes over. The flavors match the aroma perfectly, with each distinct layer of flavor hitting in succession, and the finish is clean with a slight astringency that spotlights a lingering resinous bitterness.
American pale ales are often seen as unexciting, workaday brews, but Strand Brewing's 24th Street is a shining example of the balance and clarity of flavor that the style is prized for. The beer stands not only as one of L.A.'s finest (and most understated) craft brews, but I contend that it is also one of the best pale ales being brewed in the style's native state of California.
Style: Pale ale
Price: About $5 for a 500-milliliter bottle
Where to find it: The brewery tap room in Torrance at 23520 Telo Ave., http://www.strandbrewing.com; BevMo locations, http://www.bevmo.com; Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach, http://www.selectbeerstore.com; and bottle shops throughout L.A. and Orange counties.