Beer Notes: Library Alehouse brings HopHead Heaven to earth

Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be followed by bitterness — unless, of course, you’re visiting Santa Monica’s Library Alehouse beginning Feb. 15. That’s when the Westside’s craft beer destination will launch its 11-day HopHead Heaven festival, which is specializing in hoppy beers.

Things will be kept close to home on opening day, which the bar has dubbed “local bitterness” night, featuring India pale ales from nearby brewers such as Eagle Rock, Bootlegger, Smog City, Cismontane and Ladyface. Alex P. Davis helps oversee the bar’s beer roster and said he’ll be tapping a cask of Ladyface’s Chesebro IPA on Feb. 15. Though it has a high alcohol content, the cask presentation should showcase the beer’s sweeter side.

While IPAs will dominate, Library Alehouse will mix in bitter reds, black IPAs and Belgium-inspired takes on the style. In the interest of helping folks drink and sample responsibly, all HopHead beers will be available in 6-ounce pours in addition to full pints. The bar expects to showcase about 40 beers during the event.

Beer for a good cause: For West Coast beer aficionados, there are three words that can annually cause a mix of excitement and stress: Pliny the Younger. Available for two winter weeks, the beer from Santa Rosa’s Russian River has achieved near-mythic status, known for its intense bitterness and tropical fruit aroma. Distribution outside the brewery’s tap room is limited, and beer fans line up for hours for a taste.

There will be no lines at Beachwood BBQ’s Seal Beach and Long Beach outposts, however, because the company is instead raffling off its Pliny the Younger supply. Through Feb. 18, patrons can buy as many $5 raffle tickets as they’d like in the hopes of scoring one of Beachwood’s 130 total available pints. The raffle will be live streamed Feb. 20, and those who win the chance to purchase a pint (for a nickel) will have 10 days to do so. Proceeds will benefit the Melanoma Research Foundation.

The aforementioned Library Alehouse is following Beachwood’s lead and raffling off its 50 Pliny the Younger pints — same ticket price and same cause (winners’ pints will be a quarter).

Join the club: Beer-of-the-month clubs are generally for enjoying the beverage at home, but Echo Park’s Sunset Beer Co. has added a social aspect. In January the store began offering two tiers of its newly launched club, one for $30/month and one for $60/month. The latter not only brings double the beer as well as some more exclusive bottles but gets members a pour at Sunset’s tap room.