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LABW9: So You Want to Open a Brewery in LA?

These photos were taken Tuesday evening at Los Angeles Ale Works, in Hawthorne, at the sixth edition of “So You Want to Open a Brewery in LA?” an LA Beer Week panel discussion moderated by Celebrator Beer News writer Tomm Carroll. If you have attended any of the previous five seminars hosted by Carroll, you know that he typically puts together a great group of panelists and last night was no exception.

The panelists included Laurie Porter of Smog City Brewing, Greg Bechtel of Simmzy’s Burbank, Gary Croft of Yorkshire Square, Bill Baker of Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room, Rick Blankemeier of Modern Times, Will Shelton of Concrete Jungle Brewing Project, Brent Knapp of Common Space Brewery, Kip Barnes of LA Ale Works, and Brendan Lake of Burnin’ Daylight Brewing Company. Continue reading

Chad’s Beer Cellar IV Photos

These photos were taken Saturday at the Chad’s Beer Cellar IV bottle share which was held at King Harbor Brewing Company in Redondo Beach. This event was the fourth and possibly final bottle share put on by local beer hoarder and King Harbor Brewing investor, Chad Hazen. All the funds from the event went to benefit the Richstone Family Center which is located in Hawthorne. The Richstone Family Center is dedicated to preventing and treating child abuse.

First off, I would like to personally thank everyone that showed up. While my involvement with the event was limited to getting the word out, the previous events never sold out, which I found incredulous considering the quality of the beers that were made available. I made it a personal goal to see that they did sell all 100 tickets this year, and it happened. While all the monies have not been tabulated yet, with ticket sales, raffles and the silent auction, over $8,000 was raised for Richstone. Of course, none of this would have been possible without Chad.

The first of these bottle shares was held in December of 2014 when Hazen decided he wanted to quit drinking beer for a year while he trained for a marathon as he felt his collection of beer was just a little too much temptation. He got together with King Harbor Brewing Company and they decided they would have a bottle share benefiting Richstone Family Center. Continue reading

Tap It for 10 Fundraiser for Jesse Esphorst at Smog City

South Bay residents may recall hearing about a terrible crash that happened in Torrance on March 7 that resulted in the death of 16 year old South High School student, Jesse Esphorst, Jr. The circumstances surrounding the accident and Jesse’s death were bad enough; but Jesse’s father, who was driving when they were hit by two cars that blew through a red light, was also seriously injured. The family, who had numerous other obstacles draining their bank account at the time of the accident, now had to deal with funeral expenses for Jesse and medical expenses for his father who is currently unable to work due to his injuries.

If I have my facts right, Jonathan and Laurie Porter of Smog City Brewing live next door to a family whose mother went to school with Jesse’s mother. Being the community involved people that they are, Smog City Brewing held a fundraiser Thursday evening to assist the Esphorst family with their financial burden. Continue reading

Guinness Beer Dinner Debuts Guinness Irish Wheat

On Tuesday evening, a couple dozen craft beer fans, social influencers and Guinness beer ambassadors met in Los Angeles at the Salt’s Cure restaurant to participate in the debut of the latest creation coming from Open Gate Brewery at St. James’s Gate, Guinness Irish Wheat.

Anyone that really knows me knows that my desert island beer is Guinness Stout, so whenever I am invited to try anything new from Guinness, you can be sure I will do my best to be there.

Guinness Irish Wheat is probably best described as a hefeweizen created with 100% wheat grown in Ireland and the same Guinness yeast found in every pint of Guinness Draught. My initial sip of Irish Wheat was crisp and seemed slightly lemony/citrusy flavor which was followed by subtle clove with a banana finish. My immediate thought was that this was the perfect time of year to release this beer as it comes across as very light compared to your standard creamy pint of Guinness; I was not the only one to suggest that this would be a very good beer to drink after mowing the yard or while grilling burgers and steaks in the back yard. I would go so far as to suggest that this might be one of the few beers I would consider drinking from a bottle at a barbecue. Continue reading

Select Beer Store Celebrates 5 Years of Craft Beer

On Saturday afternoon, Select Beer Store, in Redondo Beach celebrated their 5th Anniversary by bringing in craft beer from some of their favorite local craft breweries. Barley Hops Grill was also there with their special style of barbecue.

As I was going through my notes I noticed that it was five years ago, during the 7th Annual American Craft Beer Week that I first visited Select Beer Store for their South Bay Tap Takeover which featured all four of the South Bay’s breweries; El Segundo Brewing, Monkish Brewing, Strand Brewing and Smog City Brewing.

Today the South Bay alone has more than 20 breweries; things have really grown in the last five years and Select Beer is not only selling craft beer but they have also been involved with a few collaborations, at least a couple of which were available at their anniversary celebration. Continue reading

6th Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle Results

These photos were taken Monday afternoon at the Beachwood Blendery in Long Beach, where employees, friends, and family gathered for the drawing of the raffle tickets sold for Beachwood’s 6th Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle.

To enter the raffle, you could buy a $5.00 raffle ticket at the Seal Beach or Long Beach restaurant locations. Winners will receive a full pint of the 2017 Pliny the Younger; those that were not picked can feel better knowing that their donation is going to a good cause, the Melanoma Research Foundation. Beachwood founder and co-owner Gabe Gordon stated that this year’s raffle brought the total raised over the past six years to almost $75,000. Continue reading

Smog City – Steelcraft to Begin Selling Beer To-Go

smog city steelcraft

Laurie & Jonathan Porter at Smog City- SteelCraft

As I mentioned three weeks ago, Smog City Brewing’s satellite tasting room at SteelCraft has begun their soft open providing the ability for Long Beach area residents, and those further south, the ability to sample most Smog City beers that are served on tap. Unfortunately Smog City was not allowed to sell growlers or bottles to-go under their permit with the City of Long Beach; that changed last night when Smog City appeared before the City of Long Beach Planning Commission; the Planning Commission approved Smog City’s Conditional Use Permit Application 1611-19.

Laurie Porter, co-owner/founder of Smog City Brewing informed me that the decision was unanimous and they will begin offering growlers and bottles to-go beginning January 31, 2017.

I was unable to attend last night, but I did submit a written letter to the Planning Commission in support of the application. I have decided to post the letter I sent, not for any kind of “atta boy” but rather so others can use my letter as a template; trust me; I have used all my previos letters of support as a template for the next one I write. Feel free to use this to support your local craft brewery. Continue reading

Smog City Brewing – SteelCraft Soft Open Begins

The long anticipated opening of Smog City Brewing Company’s SteelCraft location has arrived. These photos were taken late Wednesday afternoon at the “friends and family” soft open that was held primarily for the friends and family of the people that assembled the SteelCraft enclave. After talking to a few attendees, it seemed like the news spread around the Bixby Knolls neighborhood quickly as the SteelCraft park began filling up with locals that expressed that they were happy to save the Uber expense of traveling to Torrance as the SteelCraft location was walking distance from their homes.

For those unfamiliar with the SteelCraft concept, essentially, a vacant 14,500 square-foot lot of the corner of Long Beach Boulevard and Bixby Road has been set up with about a dozen shipping containers that will house businesses selling various foods; such as hamburgers, ramen, and shaved ice, there is also a coffee shop, and of course, Smog City’s beer. Continue reading

An Accurate List of All the South Bay Breweries

Recently there have been a couple articles circulating around social media claiming to list all of the South Bay breweries; one that went around yesterday missed four or five of them, depending on whether or not a tasting room was required. As the Craft Beer Guy I have been fortunate to have this craft beer boom explode all around my home; I also feel obligated to provide an accurate list of all the breweries currently brewing in the South Bay as well as the next two scheduled to open.

In order to not show favoritism, and to give credit where credit is due, I will list all the South Bay breweries by the date they opened. As I have visited each brewery, I will provide a link to each so you can look at my articles to determine if you want to visit them. The photos are in order as well. Continue reading

Photos from the Zymurgy Brew Works Ribbon Cutting

These photos were taken Friday afternoon at the Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room Grand Opening and ribbon cutting. The event was attended by friends and family, as well as Torrance Mayor Pat Furey and council members Mike Griffith and Heidi Ashcraft, several representatives of the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce and several craft beer aficionados.

Attendees were able to sample beers that have already been brewed at Zymurgy and those that got there early enough were treated to some tasty, gourmet, bacon wrapped hotdogs. If you can get there before 10:00 PM Friday you can take advantage of the $1.00 off pints and flights; and you can book your future brew session for 15% off the regular price.

Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room is located at 22755 Hawthorne Boulevard in Torrance. If you have ever been interested in homebrewing but did not have the space or equipment to do it, this is a great way to try it out. Visit ZymurgyBrewWorks.com to get more information and reserve your kettle. Cheers! Continue reading

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