Rants

Smoking Boxed Wine? Competitive Eater Kevin Strahle (a.k.a. L.A. Beast) Does It

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By day, 29-year-old Strahle is a sales rep for a New York beer distributor, and is planning a move back to Los Angeles in March. Online, however, many people know him as the "L.A. Beast" -- an online persona Strahle created for his social media accounts including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Strahle, who moved to Los Angeles in 2008 shortly after graduating college, created the alter-ego after a roommate challenged him to a hamburger eating contest at one of the city's fast food chain restaurants known as Fatburger.

"He dared me to finish their 24-ounce XXXL burger as fast as I could, and I ate it in like five minutes," Strahle told Clean Plate Charlie during a recent interview. "He posted the video of me eating [it] to his YouTube account, and called me 'a beast' [for finishing it so fast]."

A few weeks later, Strahle -- always up for a challenge -- gave it a go pounding a gallon of milk. He got that down in record time, too, and the second video featuring the L.A.-based "beast" was equally popular; seeing the traffic his shenanigans were getting, Strahle decided to start his own YouTube feed, and dubbed himself the L.A. Beast.

Not too long ago, he also embarked on a competitive eating career, starting with his first challenge in 2012, a turkey-eating contest in New York where he downed almost three and a half pounds of turkey in 10 minutes. He came in "dead last," but is currently rated #16 by Major League Eating. Today, Strahle has the honor of being featured on Tosh.0 as a "video breakdown of the week," has received more than 9 million video views on his YouTube account, has over 1,300 Twitter followers, and 6,000 Facebook subscribers.

One of his most recent videos -- an extended clip of him smoking alcohol with nothing more than a plastic bottle, cork and bicycle pump -- began to circulate on Facebook a few days ago. Like many of his videos, Strahle said he wanted to be the "first" to get it up on YouTube.

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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna