Downtown L.A. brewery releases tribute beer ‘Buggin’ Out’ for Phife Dawg
Mumford Brewing Co. in downtown L.A. has released a beer to toast the life of Malik Isaac Taylor, known as Phife Dawg, co-founder of the group A Tribe Called Quest, who died of complications from diabetes last week. The beer, a new pale ale called Buggin’ Out (named after the A Tribe Called Quest song), is styled after the hoppy “Northeast IPAs” found on the East Coast.
“We’re a very musical family,” said head brewer Peter Mumford, who started the brewery with his brother Todd and his wife, Tien Tran. “We bring that love of music into the brewery. All of our tanks are named after musicians.”
Like the New York-based rap group A Tribe Called Quest, Buggin’ Out is strongly influenced by East Coast culture, including the trendy Northeast IPAs that have been popularized by breweries such as Hill Farmstead in Vermont, and Massachusetts operations Tree House Brewing and Trillium Brewing Co.
In contrast to the more mainstream West Coast-style IPAs (which are very aromatic, dry and bitter) the Northeast IPAs from New England and surrounding areas are more full-bodied and not as dry. They are also visually striking with a distinctly cloudy — almost murky — appearance in the glass from a combination of yeast and proteins suspended in the unfiltered brews.
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Buggin’ Out isn’t the first memorial brew that the brewer has released; Hunky Dory is an IPA tribute to David Bowie, and a beer Mumford calls “a strange and unfortunate coincidence.” Brewed in the weeks before Bowie’s death in January, the IPA was scheduled to be released in the tasting room on the day of the artist’s passing, so the Mumford brothers decided to rename the beer and hold an impromptu memorial in the tasting room.
Likewise, Buggin’ Out wasn’t intended to be a tribute to the hip-hop icon, but when the beer was nearly ready to serve, the brewers discovered both that Phife Dawg had passed, and that the new brew had an alcohol % by volume of 5.3% — a coincidental reference to Phife Dawg’s 5-foot-3 stature.
“I liked Bowie, but I wasn’t a superfan.” said Mumford. “But Tribe [Called Quest] was, like, everything to me in high school.”
The first pints of Buggin’ Out were poured last week while the Tribe Called Quest album “The Low End Theory” played in the Mumford tasting room. The pale ale has some tropical and grassy top notes, then finishes dry with a lingering impression of bergamot and jasmine tea.
Mumford Brewing Co. might be the first Los Angeles brewery to delve into the trendy Northeast-style ales, but expect to see more of these distinctive brews in coming months as local breweries experiment with the style.
416 Boyd St., Los Angeles, (213) 346-9970, www.mumfordbrewing.com.
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