Gene Simmons to throw beer festival in downtown L.A.

Gene Simmons, center, with his Rock & Brews partners Michael Zislis, left, and Dave Furano.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Rock star/opportunist Gene Simmons is bringing his growing beer empire to downtown Los Angeles, at least for a week. The Kiss leader, with celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck and restaurant impresario Michael Zislis, will stage a seven-day Octoberfest celebration at downtown’s L.A. Live.

Full details about what beer will be available hasn’t been made public yet, but Simmons is no stranger to craft beer. He’s a partner in the budding Rock & Brews chain, which has its flagship location in El Segundo.

Just don’t try to pin Simmons down on what kind of beer he favors. In an interview about his beer ambitions with Pop & Hiss, Simmons dodged a question about L.A.'s fast-rising craft beer scene and instead said he simply favors customer choice.

American beer drinkers also can’t sample the Kiss-branded Destroyer lager, which is brewed in Sweden and has limited availability outside the country. That’s probably for the best, at least judging from the few reviews available on BeerAdvocate.

“The only thing it destroys is good taste,” wrote one reviewer.


As far as the week-long Octoberfest celebration, which is set to begin on Oct. 15, it marks the first major beer event to be held at downtown’s concrete commerce park that is L.A. Live. The latter is home to one of Puck’s namesake restaurants, as well as Zislis’ Rock’n Fish.

Puck has dipped into the L.A. beer scene in the past. Back in 1990 Puck launched the brewery/restaurant concept Eureka in the city. Eureka folded within two years, drowning in more than $1 million in dept, according to the Times’ archives.

Can’t wait until October for some beer and music events? No matter, as Sept. 15 brings two major outdoor beer celebrations with music offerings.

Up in Ventura the two-day California Beer Festival will play host to the Fabulous Thunderbirds and a Michael Jackson tribute act, among others (the beer, from Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., the Lab and Lagunitas Brewing and more, is clearly the draw).

A little closer to home -- Glendale, to be more exact -- Golden Road Brewing will stage its Better Weather Fest, essentially Golden Road’s one year anniversary. Music and DJs are promised, but again, the beverage is the star, as the lineup includes the likes of Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Cismontane Brewing and Ladyface Ale Companie, among many others.


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