First off... relax. Fact: Firestone Walker's Wookey Jack is goddamn delicious.

I'm not attacking it, nor putting it down in any way, shape or form. The mere fact that this article mentions it as the standard to which any great Cascade is always going to be compared to, speaks volumes on the brew itself. In fact, if Firestone Walker ever wants to send me free Wookey Jack, I would be more than happy to drink as much as they can ship.

But craft breweries are starting up every day, everywhere, and Southern California is no stranger to the game. In fact, so many are popping up within an hour of my home that I think they've finally put this little podunk town of Los Angles on the map...

So you have to imagine that with all these different beers being brewed by all these different people that there has to be better beers out there than the ones you've already tried, right?

If you answered that no, go ahead and stop reading and continue life in your little sheltered box. For everyone else, here they are-- the best Black IPAs in the Los Angeles area; the ones that actually could rival (ahem) the almighty Wookey Jack...


5. Night Capsicum

Solarc Brewing

The boys at Solarc always march to the beat of their own... uh, thing that also beats that isn't a drum, because you know, drums would be what everyone else was marching to. And Night Capsicum is no different as it's brewed with hatch chiles for a one-of-a-kind taste that compliments the beer's roasted barley goodness. Solarc is a production-only brewery and this is not one of their staples, so it may be hard to hunt Night Capsicum. But if you can, it's totally fucking worth it.


4. Darkened Angel

Absolution Brewing Company

Though it doesn't have the chili peppers and the like that Night Capsicum does, Darkened Angel is a truly unique Black IPA in its own right with strong bites of maple syrup with a malty background. As Absolution tends to lean toward the more British-style IPA, this beer may not quite have the hoppy sensation that you're used to, and in a way, that's good and helps it stand strong in an overcrowded market. If you make the trip to the Torrance tasting room, get it on nitro, as the creamy finish balances the syrup hints nicely.


3. Hop Vader

Beachwood Brewing

"Mnmmm." That's a direct quote from the time I checked in Hop Vader on Untappd during a trip down to Long Beach a year or two back. I don't really know why there's a "n" in there. I guess that just is what you say when drink something as good as fucking Hop Vader. Beachwood just does beers right at practically every level, so it's no surprise that they also make one of the best black IPA's you can find in Southern California. Seriously, try it. See if you don't say mnmmmm. You may even add a "n" or two.


2. The Mortician

Lucky Luke Brewing Co.

This one beer made the whole hour-plus trip to Palmdale worth it.  I mean, sure, there were plenty of other great beers at both Lucky Luke and neighboring Transplants Brewing Company, but I had forgotten just how long it takes to get all the way out there and I was starting to get grumpy, but this little taste of God's vagina was the second in my first flight, and the one that made me stop and go, "Shit. This is destiny." The dark, piney and roasted choco hoppiness made me feel alive again. Go drink some. Now.


1. The Pine Tar Incident

El Segundo Brewing Company

Just like R2D2, this spruce, pine, bitter chocolate (with maybe even hints of oranges?) brew will not let the Wookey win. Brought to you by the people that bring you more IPAs in Los Angeles County than anyone else, The Pine Tar Incident is the King of the Cascade as far as I'm concerned (So sorry, Jack-- I truly am). Pine Tar Incident is the beer that I would drink all the time if it were possible to drink beer all the time. It's a good thing that Pine Tar only comes around seasonally or I would have drowned it already.

--by Dan Sinclair


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