Southland residents may not know when fire season begins or ends anymore, but one thing they do know is that the LAFD can’t be praised enough for all they do to keep our homes and lives safe all year round. Well now you can enjoy a unique salute to their bravery and dedication in the form of a specially crafted IPA brewed right here inside Downtown L.A.’s Iron Triangle Brewing Company with the help of Fire Hogs LAFD M/C. But the tribute doesn’t stop there. Owner and concept creator Nathan Cole also donated a portion of the red ale’s profits to the Widows & Orphans charity.
What started out as a spark of ingenuity combined with an insatiable need to give back to his community grew into Nathan’s dream of what the LA Times calls the “Arts District’s next big brewery” in a 10,000-square-foot building fed by the L.A. Aqueduct. “I wanted to create a building that would reflect the history of Los Angeles where I could create a beer that reflected the spirit of L.A.,” explains Nathan. And nothing speaks to that remarkable spirit better than the men and women of the LAFD, so he reached out to a friend who put him in touch with John O’Connor, firefighter, paramedic and co-founder of the Fire Hogs, a motorcycle club-meets-volunteer group that works to raise funds for the Widows & Orphans.
Since 1992, the Fire Hogs have raised more than $400,000 for the charity and have never backed down from an opportunity to do more for their fire family. “Nate mentioned that he’d like to do something to help the firefighters in L.A. He explained his concept to me and his excitement blew me away,” John continues. “I loved his passion. I loved his vision. I loved how he tried to maintain the history of the city every step of the way.”
So how does this sophisticated ale named the Land of Fire Red IPA truly reflect the spirit of L.A.? Nathan couldn’t be happier to tell you: “I have an historic building dating back to 1904. The time frame in which it was finished fits our concept perfectly because of the Fathers of the L.A. Aqueduct, Joseph Lippincott, Fred Eaton and William Mulholland.” Nathan is referring to the three developers – who called themselves the Iron Triangle – responsible for bringing water into the growing city just after the turn of the century. When the aqueduct was completed in 1913, it changed the landscape of the Southland financially and culturally. “Beer is 95% water. And we get our water from the aqueduct which connects us to L.A. in more ways than one,” Nathan says enthusiastically.
Available exclusively in the Iron Triangle tap room, the Land of Fire Red IPA appears on the beer menu with a small paragraph about what makes this brew so special and how it benefits the Widows & Orphans charity. John credits Nathan with formulating the IPA, but he was happy to see how Nate and brew master, Darren Moser, listened to the Fire Hogs’ comments and took notes. “We actually got to help, Jack (Wise, Fire Hogs President) and I loaded the hops and barley into the splitter. It was really eye-opening,” John shares.
And the unveiling of the Land of Fire Red IPA is as much of a grand affair as the brew itself. With a special IPA release party, the Iron Triangle Brewing Co. and the LAFD Fire Hogs mark the first taste of the Land of Fire in the same space where beer aficionados and casual drinkers alike can see how the ale is made as they enjoy their first sip. The event highlights the amazing cause of the Widows & Orphans and why the charity’s mission means so much to the Iron Triangle. “I’m all about supporting local and investing in the people who sacrifice and give us so much. I wanted to give back to the community in a special way. And with the help of the Fire Hogs, I think we’ve been able to do that.”
By Candace Nicholson