It’s become a yearly tradition.
Every spring, bleary-eyed bartenders, brewers, promo reps, and salespeople come together for a ritual steeped in meaning. They huddle around crates, crouching upon stools and overturned buckets, with paring knives in hand – to pit the ‘quats.
The loquat, the humble fruit at the center of this convention, is a small stone fruit with a tangy, apricot like flavor. Outside of the Southland, you’d be forgiven for confusing it with the Kumquat, the other miniscule orange fruit. But any Angeleno has at least a passing familiarity with these little guys – come April, it seems like every street corner has at least one tree weighed down with big bunches of them.
So why are these poor souls consigned to exorcise thousands of pits every year? Because it wouldn’t be possible for Angel City to make the Lo-Lo without them. The Lo-Lo, a slightly tart, hazily golden wheat beer, has over 20 pounds of loquats per keg. It’s the perfect antidote to LA’s endless summer. And the reason we chose the loquat? Is it because it’s a fruit emblematic of LA’s sunny, bright mentality? Is it because it’s both refreshing and unique, like the streets of DTLA?
Of course not. It’s because we’re idiots. Four years ago, we thought it would be fun to make a beer using our unofficial municipal crop. We just didn’t realize how much of a pain in the ass it would be to make. In groups of 8 or 9 we sat around and cut open these little drupes one by one, manually separating the three or four large seeds inside each. And then, hours later, we’d get the good news – only 400 more pounds to go!
It was only weeks later that we saw the fruits of our fruit labor on tap for the first time. And as we took our first sips of the Lo-Lo in the public house, we noticed a discouraging trend – you liked it. You really liked it.
And so, much to our collective chagrin, we decided we had to make this beer again the following year. And the next spring, the ritual repeated itself. It became a form of hazing for our new hires. “Want to help pit some loquats?” we’d say, like Huck Finn with a pail of whitewash, “it’ll be fun – we promise!”
But the people have spoken. And we didn’t get in this business because we like it – we did it to serve the people. We’ve refined our technique since those early days – made it even better. This year, the brewers personally visited the orchards of Malibu to hand select the crème de la ‘quat. We even got a mechanical pitting machine! (Never mind that these little hell-berries broke it after 50 pounds).
So grab yourself a pint of this year’s Lo-Lo, on tap now at the Public House. And take a moment to pity the miserable, calloused suckers that helped make it for you. That is, unless you want to help out next year.
It’ll be fun – we promise!