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Sunday is National Beer Day -- raise a glass to L.A.'s history

April 06, 2013|By John Verive
  • The Brewery Complex was once actually a brewery (and today is the home of one of L.A.'s best-kept beer-bar secrets).
The Brewery Complex was once actually a brewery (and today is the home of… (John Verive )

There are a lot of beer-centric holidays on the brew lover's calendar. From the widely celebrated holidays of Saint Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo to the younger, more obscure days dedicated to IPAs or stouts, there seems to be a day every month to celebrate with a glass of suds. April is no different, and Sunday is (evidently) National Beer Day!

The deep scar left on our nation by the ruinous Volstead Act is still apparent on the face of American brewing, and the consolidation and homogenization of breweries during Prohibition took decades to undo. The first step in the repeal of the 18th Amendment was the signing of the Cullen-Harrison Act on March 22, 1933. The law made the sale of low-alcohol beer (below 4% alochol by volume) legal once again and took effect on April 7, 1933. In 2009 a group of beer lovers, with the support of the Brewers Assn., took to social media to drum up support for celebrating a National Beer Day.

Arbitrary? Perhaps, but the beer lovers of Los Angeles have plenty to celebrate. Los Angeles has a long --  and sometimes sordid -- brewing history.  Legend claims that Hollywood bombshell Jean Harlow was present at the Eastside Brewery on April 7, 1933, to christen the first delivery truck to carry real beer from the brewery in over a decade.

While the Eastside Brewery was bought by Pabst in the '50s and shuttered in the '70s, the buildings still stand, housing the Brewery Arts complex, which is also home to Barbara's at the Brewery, one of L.A.'s best-kept beer-bar secrets and a perfect place to celebrate the "holiday."

Beer is returning to Los Angeles in a big way, and the opening of Eagle Rock Brewery in 2009 paved the way for more start-up breweries to call the city home. The local scene is growing, the beer is getting better, and the general level of knowledge among beer drinkers is expanding.

We're not ones to require an excuse to crack open our favorite bottles, but if you're looking for an excuse on Sunday you could do worse than National Beer Day. If you mix your brews and your social networks there is even an Untappd badge to reward your efforts!

It's the best excuse to enjoy a beer until, well until the birthday of King Gambrinus on April 11.

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