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A craft beer Paul Revere

May 21, 2009 |  4:20 pm

If you were in a beer bar last week, you may have encountered a fervent revolutionary by the name of Chris Spradley. He was the guy riding in with a 4- by 5-foot poster of the pro-craft-beer Declaration of Beer Independence and asking you (sometimes via megaphone) to sign it.

SPRADLEY Spradley, founder of the Los Angeles Ale Club, was immediately taken with the document when the Brewers Assn. announced it and decided to blow it up and gather signatures. One night at Blue Palms Brewhouse, he asked owner Brian Lenzo if he might bring it by during his signing drive. Lenzo offered to help pay for it. Spradley got a high-resolution copy of the document from the Brewers Assn. and had his mega copy made.

Over the course of American Craft Beer Week (May 11-17), he spent hours at spots around the megalopolis: May 12 at Blue Palms; May 13 at both Lucky Baldwins and the Stuffed Sandwich; May 14 at Red Carpet Wine, Verdugo Bar and Blue Palms; May 15 at the Library Alehouse and the Daily Pint; May 16 at the Bruery's first anniversary party and back at Blue Palms.

Why go to all that trouble? "I believe in what the declaration stands for," Spradley said.

"I wanted to really do it in L.A.," he said. "We have a craft beer scene that goes unnoticed."

He talks of putting Los Angeles on the national map as a craft beer destination. And he's putting time, gas money and horsepower behind making that happen.

The Los Angeles Ale Club, which counts more than 200 members and plans such outings as an upcoming bus tour to and around San Francisco's beer spots (no firm date yet), is on Facebook and Meetup.

-- Blake Hennon

Photo courtesy of Chris Spradley

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