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Avocado Beer At Angel City Brewery Taps Into California's Gold

Photo courtesy of Angel City Brewing
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Living in California, it's hard to deny the glory of the avocado. The state's fabulous fruit is great when made into a creamy dip, smashed on toast with smoked trout like at Hart & the Hunter, or simply served up with a squeeze of lime and some salt and pepper. But did you ever think about having it in your beer? Brewer Dieter Foerstner of Angel City Brewery did. And now it's on offer at their Arts District tasting room.

Almost as glorious as the idea of Maui Brewing Company's coconut porter, this avocado-infused brew comes from the same dude that brewed Pickle Weisse — a tart, light-bodied, straw-colored ale blended with pickles — and the French Sip — a beer playing off of the long-standing rivalry between Cole's and Philippe's the Original.

Though Foerstner is originally from Arizona, his grandparents were in L.A. natives that owned an avocado ranch in the Valley growing up. He's been eating guac since a young kid and has a great fondness for the green gold.

Foerstner's new beer beer featuring nature's butter will be available at the brewery's Avocado Festival this weekend on August 24, from 1 to 7 p.m. Many food trucks with avo-themed dishes including avocado popsicles will be on hand, and they'll host a guacamole contest for guests and attendees. He took a moment to explain this moment of genius with us.

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LAist: First off, tell us how this whole idea came about. Was it over copious amounts of tequila shots and guac at El Compadre or what?

Dieter Foerstner: Last year, I was showing up to work at 4 a.m. to get started on a brew. I just started piecing the recipe idea in my mind. Then I pitched the idea to Alan Newman, one of our owners, who I expected would say I was out of my mind, but he thought it was great. I put together a recipe, and last year on July 21 we served it at the Bloom Fest. We didn't have our tasting room open yet, so now we're bringing it back so the public can taste it.

How did you go about giving the beer an avocado flavor without making it turn green like the tacky St. Paddy's Day beers?

I added about 100 pounds of avocado directly to our mash, and then added some more to our whirlpool. I also added crushed red pepper, garlic, lime and cilantro to give it a guacamole flavor. It's a kolsch style beer. The reason why I chose that style is because it has light delicate flavors, just like that of the avocado. I really wanted to showcase the avocados, trying to make sure everything was light and delicate and well-balanced... There's not a whole lot of red pepper in there. I ddin't want to overwhelm the flavor of the beer.

It's still a love or hate kind of thing, which is the way a lot of our specialty beers have been. It's not what traditionalists would expect a beer to taste like. It does have a well-pronounced avocado flavor, so people who don't care for the fruit to begin with might not enjoy it. But being an avocado lover, I love it.


Photo courtesy of Angel City Brewery
Were there any challenges getting the right formula down?You can call it dumb luck or skill, but this was only my second batch of this. We have 15 barrels, and I haven't come across any real difficulties at all. It's fermentation was fine, the brewing and runoff was fine; it's really been an easy beer ... It's got a beautiful head retention considering the oil content of avocados. Oils tend to kill head retention, but not with this one.

What would you recommend paring the avocado beer with, aside from tacos of course?

It would pair really well with salty food. Obviously it would go fantastic with chips and guacamole. Yesterday as we tapped the beer we were eating fresh avocado slices and really experiencing the explosion of the avocado flavors. Being light and delicate it could go with salads or some lighter fish dishes. But it's definitely a food beer.

Will this ever be bottled, or is it just an in-house special?

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There are no plans in the foreseeable future to bottle this beer. It's just one of those special treats in the public house for guests to come and try and entice them to check out our space ... We'll keep it on tap as long as it's in inventory. It could be on for 4-6 weeks, but it all depends on how popular it is with our guests. I'm hoping it stays on for a while so I can enjoy it after work.

We hope it stays on long enough for us to get down and have a sip, too.