Michael Bowe, tall and lean with dark hair and Kelly green eyes that hint at his Irish heritage, sits at a swank Westside bistro's bar, a half-drained pint of his Angel City Ale before him. He visits tables of beer lovers quaffing glasses of the amber-colored ale as part of his so-called "meet-the-brewer deal." "I'm really pushing the local angle," says the Culver City-based microbrewer.
Hence the name Angel City and the brew's ultra-cool, Art Deco-inspired logo that sports a stylized rendition of City Hall pierced by lightning bolts. Bowe, a 45-year-old single father of two boys, gave up a lucrative career last year as a general contractor to pursue brewing full time in the country's second-largest beer market. "My idea was to make a beer that was not too bitter and easy to drink--one that people who are not necessarily big 'hopheads' would enjoy," says Bowe, who had limited microbrewing experience. From 275 barrels in its first 10 months to a forecast of 2,000 to 3,000 barrels for this production year, Bowe's brew is rising on tap at such diverse spots as ObaChine , the Biltmore's Grand Avenue, Stepps and the Broadway Deli.