On May 15, 2013, Angel City brewers began pulling pairs of heavy chains, slowly lifting the industrial roller doors along Traction Avenue. The rusted steel groaned as the doors kept climbing. It seemed a century had elapsed since those pulleys last turned—but turn they did turn, albeit slowly and painfully. Gripping the clanging chains, the brewers quietly cursed until the pulleys ground to a halt and sunlight flooded the concrete floor of the Public House.
Angel City Brewery had officially opened its doors.
2013 was a fitting year for us to do so. That year the 69,000 square foot brick warehouse we now call home turned 100 years old. The warehouse was built by J.A. Roebling and Sons Company, the company’s faded name still clings to the brick walls above the roller doors.
A lot once passed through those doors.
Roebling, in essence, built bridges. He invented the steel cables that once made the largest bridges in the world possible. Back east, Roebling’s suspension cables spanned the Brooklyn Bridge. In the midwest they crossed the Cincinatti-Covington Bridge—at the time the world’s longest suspension bridge. In the west, Roebling and Sons cables built the telegraph lines that kept disparate parts of California in contact. His cables—80,000 miles worth of wire— still span the Golden Gate Bridge. All of it passed through this warehouse.
Roebling was an artist and immigrant, an innovator and idealist. As we tug open our doors each day, it’s hard not to remember our heritage. We like to think that today, at Angel City Brewery, the work of the JA Roebling and Sons continues. We like to think that our beers build bridges between the diverse cultures and communities of Los Angeles and beyond. These bridges are humble, no doubt—they don’t depend on steel but rather the pleasures of a cold craft pint enjoyed in company of friends and fellow fans of real beer.
Even so, they do real work.
When we pulled open our doors in 2013, Los Angeles could boast of no more than a handful of craft breweries—today we have nearly 50. Our own neighborhood, the Arts District—fast becoming known as the “Beer District”— has seen five breweries open in the past year. When we first moved in, the only brewery at the time, people thought we were crazy. The Arts District was then considered a lawless land of derelict warehouses and renegade artists. But in a sense, as brewery, we were only returning to our proper roots. Since the earliest days, brewing was considered an artform, an essential if mysterious craft. And Downtown Los Angeles—in an area we now call the Arts District—with it’s access to train tracks, loading docks, and industrial roller doors, was once the center of brewing in Southern California.
And let’s not forget, in our own city of angels, the most diverse metropolis in America—the pleasures of a properly brewed beer, which since the most ancient of times transcended mountains, rivers, deserts, and oceans, building bridges between different peoples and cultures… because everyone can agree at the end of the day: beer is good.
Come join us Sunday, May 15 as we celebrate our roots and ACB’s birthday.
The 4th annual Angel City Brewery Heritage Festival is a celebration not only of the beauty of craft beer and its rebirth throughout Los Angeles, but also the artists and innovators who preceded us and still continue to inspire us throughout Los Angeles, and especially in our home—the Arts District.
Get all the details on the artists, musicians, performers, food and beer that will be featured at Heritage Fest HERE!