It’s a whole big world of great breweries and fun bars out there, ready to be enjoyed. There’s only one obstacle: where do you even begin? At TapRm, we can vouch for the endless possibilities firsthand, as we get to work with so many breweries and beverage brands at the top of their game--from execution and quality to creativity and innovation--from all across the country.
Conveniently, however, partnering with all these ace brands, delivering to doorsteps in so many cities, and working with our own star team all mean that we are rich in experts. Beer and beverage experts who are ready to tell us all the best spots to hang and what to drink there and why. These beverage geniuses make it oh so easy and oh so fun to navigate that aforementioned whole big world of great breweries and fun bars. So, we decided to share the wealth and start talking to some of these pros and VIPs and tastemakers here on the blog, so you can start making to-do lists, planning trips, and texting friends about where you’re visiting next. Welcome to the third edition of “Where Ya’ Headed?,” a series of Q&A’s in which a different enthusiast + connoisseur points us in the direction of where they go for all different drinks, moods, and occasions.
Of course, it’s not just any ol’ time of year this week, so we’re spinning this edition of “Where Ya’ Headed?” into a snowglobe of holiday possibilities. The ante is upped: to celebrate the season, we want our drinks and the places we head with family and friends to be extra special. For an expert’s take on festive holiday imbibing, we looked to the land of twinkling lights wrapped around palm trees--sunny LA--and arguably the city’s most impactful voice, Ash Eliot.
Ash is a freelance hospitality, music, and non-profit communications, marketing, and event specialist based in LA. If you follow the world of craft beer and beverage, you probably know the platform she founded, Women of the Bevolution, focused on empowering and supporting women, female-identifying and non-binary beverage industry professionals through resources and opportunities. In July of 2021, Ash co-founded the Brave Noise global collaboration brew and initiative with brewer Brienne Allan to advocate for a safe and discrimination-free beer industry. Essentially, Ash is a mover-and-shaker making things happen in beer and beverage and connecting people--with each other, with opportunities, with paths to a brighter future for the industry. For updates on her work and the work of the initiatives and platforms she’s a part of, like grants for people from underrepresented groups to forge their own dream careers in the industry, follow Women of the Bevolution on Instagram.
So now, let’s hear from Ash on all things beer, LA, and festivities!
What was your gateway craft beer?
I honestly don’t think I have one. It wasn’t a particular style or brew that sparked the idea to work in the industry, even though I was a champ (and still am) at beer pong. I think what drew me was this sense of community and the conversations I had when enjoying a brew or at a beer bar or brewery that made it feel different than say going to a bar or club.
What is currently your favorite beer style?
Saison though I’m now trying to learn more about gluten-free brews.
What is your go-to destination when you want to have a quiet beer and read, work, etc.?
My go-to bar and brewery for working on my computer is usually The Hermosillo and Highland Park Brewery, plus I’ve known a lot of the staff for a while now and know they’d have my back if someone was harassing me.
What about when you want to try something new, where do you go where you know you’ll get to do some exploring, like finding a new beer or even new beer style, brewery, etc.?
For bars, Glendale Tap and Tony’s Darts Away. For bottle shops, I have to shout out to my local store Sara’s Market in City Terrace. Also Ramirez Beverage Center in Boyle Heights and The Cellar Bottle Shop in Whittier.
What’s your go-to destination when you want a fun night out with friends?
Well if we aren’t doing karaoke at Max’s in Little Tokyo or The Fable (also a great bar) in Eagle Rock, I’d probably suggest Johnny’s Bar, The Hermosillo, The Roost, LA Cuevita or Arts District Brewing.
What’s a brewery with a really great vibe, where you always feel welcome, it feels really well designed for anyone seeking any kind of experience?
Let’s get into the holiday spirit--where would you take friends or family visiting from out of town?
I would probably take them on a lot of LA walkabouts including a downtown LA walk through Little Tokyo, the Arts District, and Chinatown. We’d hike Griffith Park enjoy the view, see the Hollywood sign and then after get tacos at Best Fish Taco in Ensenada and/or a burrito from Yuca’s, drinks at Drawing Room and Ye Rustic Inn, and dinner at Little Dom’s, plus martinis after at Dresden and maybe hop on the metro to Hollywood and Vine if it’s that kind of night. Another day we’d eat pizza and pasta, enjoy a martini, and dance at Colombo’s Italian Steakhouse in Eagle Rock, then walk over to The Fable bar and make our way to Highland Park stopping at Walt’s, Johnny’s, and The Hermosillo. We’d explore Alhambra and Monterey Park attempting to eat our way through the San Gabriel Valley’s endless and glorious options of Chinese cuisine and stop at a suburban dive bar or two.
For a dance party, you can always count on Xelas in Boyle Heights or the Short Stop in Echo Park. Maybe we’d see a show at The Greek, Hollywood Bowl, Teragram Ballroom, or The Echo. And though it’s not high up on my list, Universal Studios…actually my dad just asked me to go the other day, funny enough.
Where would you go for a night out around the holidays, that maybe feels a little extra special, where maybe you’d even have a party?
Well, a few friends and I are doing a holiday karaoke night at Max’s Karaoke in Little Tokyo but in previous years we’ve put on our favorite ugly sweaters and ventured on a bar hop to The Roost, Bigfoot Lodge East, Tam’O Shanter, and if I’m solo I’d probably be at Johnny’s Bar on Christmas Eve.
Are there any seasonal beers this time of year, even just in general like styles, you look forward to?
In light of the cooler temperatures in Los Angeles, and yes I’m pretty sensitive to cold, I normally would lean into more stouts and porters but I also do enjoy amber ales.
What do you love to drink at holiday gatherings?
Anything with bourbon. A hot toddy or any sort of boozy apple cider as long as it’s not too sweet. I’ve been drinking a lot more wine lately though this season and I love a Tempranillo.
In terms of beverages, what would you love to receive as a gift this year?
I’ve recently been wanting to learn more about aperitifs, digestifs, wine, cider, and gluten-free beer options so anything in those categories are great.
And for gifts you’ll give?
As this is the season of giving, what can people do now to help support Women of the Bevolution, Brave Noise, and overall inclusivity, equity, and safety in beer and beverage?
As both Women of the Bevolution and Brave Noise are not-for-profit initiatives, direct donations or supporting one of our merch fundraisers to help us continue our efforts in offering resources and creating grant opportunities as well as providing mutual aid (Bevolution Brave Voices Fund) to industry staff is vital.
Whether you work in the industry or not, you can easily do your part by following publications and journalists who are actively covering these topics within the industry, look at what breweries/bars are doing to create safe and inclusive spaces at their physical location/s, at events / festivals, through their social media, website and associated platforms, and support the folks who are doing the work, for example: Beer is for Everyone, Beer Kulture, Infinite Ingredient, Crafted for Action, Beer. Diversity., Michael James Jackson Foundation for Brewing & Distilling, Another Round Another Rally, and Crafted for All.
The Women of the Bevolution ongoing Merch fundraiser is here. Here is our ongoing relief fund in partnership with Another Round Another Rally. And, here is our Antisexist Antiracist Proequality Beer Club merch fundraiser--it’s closed at the moment but will reopen, so keep an eye out or follow Brave Noise and / or Women of the Bevolution’s socials for updates.