Look who’s joining the craft beer scene in L.A.'s Arts District: Boomtown Brewery

Boomtown Brewery's signature Personal Assistant is a Belgian/American hybrid pale ale.

Boomtown Brewery’s signature Personal Assistant is a Belgian/American hybrid pale ale.

(Julie Verive)

Downtown’s Arts District is continuing to develop as the new hotbed of craft brewing activity in the city, and Boomtown Brewery is an exciting addition to the neighborhood. You’ll have a chance to sample its work at an open house Friday.

Angel City Brewery already anchors the beer scene in the area, and the expansive tasting room, art gallery, and performance space is a great spot to hang out while enjoying a pint or two. Just blocks away, newcomer Mumford Brewing is building steam as it perfect its core offerings served in the airy tasting room. Meanwhile, on Traction Avenue, the long anticipated Arts District Brewing gets closer to its debut.

Boomtown Brewery is now making beer just about a half-mile north of Angel City, and while its tasting room space is still under construction, the brews are pouring in bars around town.

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It’s been a long road to opening for head brewer and partner Samuel “Chewy” Chawinga, who’s been trying to get a brewery off the ground for the better part of a decade. There were myriad delays in finding the right space (Chawinga spent more than a year trying to open a space in Hollywood), dealing with city officials, and building the actual brewery, but all the time was put to good use as the brewer worked on perfecting his recipes.

You may have sampled Boomtown’s Ingenue Belgian white ale at the L.A. Beer Week kickoff festival in June, and the beer is a good representation of the brewer’s approach. It finds a balance between density provided by oats and wheat, and a light and refreshing crispness that keeps it drinkable.

“We make robust, old world styles with a clean flavor,” Chawinga said during a recent visit to the 1912 double-truss building off Vignes Street. “I like a dry finish, but with substance and structure.”

There is also a Belgian/American hybrid pale ale (Personal Assistant) that marries the zesty herbal European hops and spicy Belgian yeast with familiar American hop aromas, and a Belgian golden ale (Submission) that uses carrot blossom honey and jasmine flower but remains dry and extremely drinkable even though it’s nearly 9% alcohol.

Hop heads need not fear: there’s a pair of IPAs on the docket. Nose Job is the year-round offering with the classic West Coast citrus and tropical hop aromas, and the seasonal Limelight ups the bitterness, the alcohol and the tropical hop punch even further. B-Side is an Irish red ale with a California twist (read: lots of hops). This latter brew could be called a red IPA and no one would bat an eye — it’s dense with citrus and stone fruit aromas layered over a complex malt body that still finishes dry. It could be the sleeper hit of the initial Boomtown lineup.

Boomtown hopes to open the tasting room this fall, including a long narrow patio space between two of the property’s buildings that should help remedy the dearth of outdoor drinking spots in the neighborhood.

The brewery will also add a bottling line in the coming months, and a barrel program is in the works along with a membership club for special releases.

Plans for the tasting room include a long bar wrapped around communal trestle tables, more lounge seating and billiards tables, but until the construction is complete you’ll need to head to your local beer bar to find Boomtown brews. Wine Warehouse is handling distribution, and kegs have been spotted regularly at Far Bar in Little Tokyo and occasionally at Timmy Nolan’s in Toluca Lake.

You do have a chance to drink from the source this week as the brewery is hosting its first event Friday. Beginning at 4 p.m. you can tour the brewery and sample the lineup. From 6 until 10 p.m., Little Tokyo’s Far Bar will be grilling burgers at the brewery.

Boomtown Brewery, 700 Jackson St., Los Angeles, (213) 687-6548,

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