The brewers at Downtown's Angel City Brewery have been hard at work building a catalog of recipes and fine-tuning their brewhouse and processes while the final touches are made to the building prior to the official grand opening. Not content to simply offer his take on classic styles like the brewery's flagship Eureka Wit and Angeleno IPA, head brewer Dieter Forstner has turned to Los Angeles' culinary history for the inspiration for his most experimental brew: the French Sip.
Playing off of the long-standing rivalry between Cole's and Philippe's the Original - the two Downtown institutions that both claim to have invented the French dip sandwich -- Angel City's French Sip is an au jus-inspired brew. It may sound like a gimmick, but the brown ale is not only unique and creative, it is surprisingly drinkable and really tasty. The beer contains a bevy of uncommon brewing ingredients -- including rosemary, peppercorns, pink sea salt, and even umami-rich seaweed -- to capture the savory essence of the French dip sandwich.
I recently tried the French Sip as part of the five-beer sampler flight offered at the tasting room, and it was certainly one of the standout beers of the flight. The herbal editions were distinct but not overwhelming, there was enough toasted malt flavor to balance the savory herbs, and the beer finishes with a nice peppery zing. With its unique, umami-rich flavor and subtle herbal notes the French Sip would not only be a perfect accompaniment to a French dip sandwich, it would go well with a wide range of foods.
Angel City's beer continues to improve as the brewers perfect their processes and equipment, and the French Sip is an intriguing showcase for the creative minds behind the beers. You'll have to act fast if you want to taste one of the more outlandish brewed-in-LA beers; the beer was an experimental batch, and there's been no word on when (or indeed, if) they will brew it again.
Head down to the Angel City Brewery during their tap room hours to get a taste and take a tour - just stop by Philippe's or Cole's first and grab a dip to go.
Angel City Brewery, 216 S. Alameda St., (213) 622-126.