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LA Beer Bloggers Summit at Haven Gastropub

Sunday July 14, Haven Gastropub in Pasadena, CA hosted the LA Beer Bloggers Summit #6. This was my second visit to one of these gatherings and I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet more of the people that are behind the scenes in promoting the craft beer scene in Southern California, and specifically Los Angeles and Orange counties. This was my third or fourth visit to Haven Gastropub, but my first couple of visits they were not really brewing yet. When I was there back in May they were just releasing their first batch of Simcoded American Pale Ale. Things have really changed in the last two months.

As our host for the event, Managing Partner and Beverage Director Wil Dee spoke for a while on the growth and mindset of the new Haven Collective, which includes their various restaurant locations and the brewery. He also discussed their future plans and how they chose their new Head Brewer, Brian Thorson. He then turned the floor over to Brian who proceeded to discuss the various beers he is currently brewing. When I was there in May they released the Simcoded Pale Ale; by yesterday they had added More Please, a Kölsch; Jimmy Hafen, their Hefeweizen; Orange Face (O Face), an American Amber / Red Ale; Performance Enhancing Drink (P.E.D.), an American Brown Ale; Disco Pants, a Black Lager and Double Hubble, a Double IPA. They also provided us a sample of their next IPA, Hop Sing. You can tell things are really picking up at Haven with the addition of Brian Thorson.

These photos are from the event at Haven Gastropub with a stop by the Stone Brewing Company Store which is right around the corner. They make some great mustard and it is too cheap to not make the stop since we were in the neighborhood. We had a great time networking with other beer bloggers and I look forward to their next summit. Haven Gastropub is located at 42 S. De Lacey Avenue in Old Pasadena, CA. They have good food and very fine craft beers. Continue reading

New growler rules: Nothing is going to change

beer growler collection

Growlers of all shapes and sizes

I should probably begin this story by explaining that California has very different laws than what I presume must be most other states when it comes to beer growlers. From all the complaining I hear if you walk into a microbrewery in San Antonio, TX with a growler from Portland, OR you are not going to have a problem getting it filled. Reverse the scenario and you have the same result. Apparently, some places will fill plastic jugs if you ask them; not that I have ever seen it done; but from what I read it is not too far from the truth. Now, if you take a growler from a microbrewery in Torrance, CA and try to fill it at another microbrewery anywhere else in the state you will be denied. This was due to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) which basically said that only a container that was printed with the brewery’s own logo and address could be filled with beer. Essentially, it would be the same as putting Coors in a Budweiser bottle; it could not be done.

In February of this year the California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA) held an ABC workshop and the head of the ABC, Jacob Appelsmith made a comment about the interpretation of the ABC’s rules. It was interpreted that breweries could fill non-native growlers and people started getting excited. The LA Brewers Guild issued a statement that there were local brewers getting approval for the new labeling; there were rumors that such heavy hitters as Russian River Brewing, was ready to start filling non-native glassware and then The Bruery said they had a new policy on non-native glass. People started getting excited, finally they would not need to own 10 or 15 or more different growlers. Heck, I even started working on a plan to take full advantage of this new item I could market. Then I started talking to local brewers and actually read the laws instead of the interpretation of someone else. And there are the problems . . . as I see them. Continue reading

2nd Annual Waves of Grain Beerfest at Shade Hotel

Sunday June 30 the Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach, CA hosted the 2nd Annual Waves of Grain Beerfest benefiting the Richstone Family Center in Hawthorne. The Richstone Family Center is dedicated to preventing and treating child abuse. Co-sponsored by Brewco Manhattan Beach, Rock & Brews El Segundo, LA Car Guy and NW Real Estate Brokers approximately 400 people enjoyed food, music and close to 100 beers provided by more than 40 craft brewers.

In addition to the ticket sales for the event, which sold out, there were raffles for dinners, massages, hockey and more. I think it is safe to say that the Richstone Family Center was very happy with the results of this fundraiser. Judging by all the smiles seen in the photos I am not the only one that had a great time and I look forward to attending next year’s event.

The Shade Hotel is located at 1221 N Valley Dr Manhattan Beach, CA 90266. Continue reading

Beachwood BBQ & Brewing 2 Year Anniversary Celebration

These photos are from the Beachwood BBQ & Brewing Two Year Anniversary Celebration which was held Saturday, June 29 at Beachwood’s Long Beach location at 210 E 3rd St. in Long Beach, CA. For those that have yet to experience Beachwood’s craft beers, you really need to do yourself a favor and if possible, head to Long Beach and check them out. On any given day, except Mondays when they are closed, Beachwood will have seven or eight beers brewed on location available for pours. In addition to their own brews, they have a guest tap list that would be pretty tough to beat with 25-30 guest taps also available. For the party yesterday they brought out 27 or 28 of their own brews which a pretty amazing number considering they have only been brewing for two years.

As you can see from the list of Beachwood’s craft beers that they published, there was a wonderful list of options available.

Alpha Bomb – American Pale Ale
Annihilator – American Barleywine
Barrel Aged Full Malted Jacket – Scottish Style
Wee Heavy aged in Bourbon Barrels
Beachwood Six – Smoked Black Saison
Beyond a Reasonable Stout – Imperial Stout
Clear & Present Manger – Winter Warmer (collaboration brew with Pizza Port San Clemente)
Dank Matter – Double India Pale Ale (brewed special for this 2nd Anniversary)
Dubbel in Paradise – Belgian Style Dubbel
Fahrenheit 342 – Rye India Pale Ale
Full Malted Jacket – Scottish Style Wee Heavy Continue reading

Waves of Grain Beerfest coming June 30

Waves of Grain flier

Waves of Grain at Shade Hotel benefiting The Richstone Family Center

The second annual Waves of Grain Beerfest will be held this Sunday, June 30 at the Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach. This is a fundraiser benefiting the Richstone Family Center whose efforts are concentrated on preventing and treating child abuse.

This second annual beer festival will feature more than 40 craft brewers and a barbecue with a whole roasted pig. Among the breweries attending are Anchor Brewing, Beachwood, Ballast Point, Cosmic Ales, El Segundo Brewing, Monkish, Strand Brewing, Smog City, Stone, Dogfish Head and The Dudes’ Brewing. I went to this event last year and had an absolute ball. Considering last year had 25 breweries represented and this year has 40; that sounds like a whole lot more fun. You can find my photos from last year’s event at http://www.gotbaddog.com/waves-of-grain-beerfest-2012/.

Waves of Grain is Sunday, June 30, 2013 from 3-6 PM. You can purchase tickets online ahead of time for $40 each (there is a $3.19 fee per order, not per ticket); or you can buy them at the door for $50. There is no guarantee there will be tickets at the door though, there is limited space so I highly advise buying your tickets ahead of time. The Shade Hotel is located at 1221 N Valley Dr Manhattan Beach, CA 90266. I hope to see you there; be sure to smile if you see my camera pointed at you.

The Dudes’ Brewing at Nelson’s Beer Garden

A pretty major advantage to living in Southern California is that the weather is pretty awesome at any given time; in fact, you can schedule an outdoor event almost any day of the year and there is a good chance it is going to be nice out. Saturday afternoon, June 22, we headed up to Palos Verdes and Nelson’s new beer garden at the Terranea Resort. They are having their annual summer concert series, this time with a beer garden. When we were there, a solo guitarist Wise Katubadrau was performing. The reason I was aware of this event was that Torrance’s newest microbrewery, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, was the guest tap of the week this past weekend. When they put out the notice of this event I knew I would have to go, because the scenery would be great; and as predicted, it was very nice out.

Nelson’s is a restaurant at the end of the Terranea Resort; looking over the cliffs. It is very scenic and pretty kicked back for being at an upscale resort. Parking is kind of a hassle unless you are lucky enough to find some free parking; otherwise they have paid self parking and valet options starting at $10 and going up to $25. You might find value in the $25 parking though because you can catch a ride on their shuttle down to Nelson’s. The walk down might be pleasant but I suspect the walk back up the hill would become tiresome, especially after a few beers.

The Dudes’ Brewing Company just opened about three months ago, but are already making a name for themselves in the South Bay. They have yet to open a tasting room due to growing pains and some unforeseeable circumstances, but they hope to have one open by the end of summer. The Dudes’ had four taps pouring at Nelson’s with their Day One Pale Ale, Grandma’s Pecan Brown Ale, Grinning Face Porter and the most photogenic of them all, their Double Trunk DIPA. As this was my first time to Nelson’s I cannot tell you how the crowd compared to other events but by the time we left there was a pretty long beer line. I guess Dudes’ did abide at nelson’s Beer Garden.

Nelson’s Beer Garden is located at 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA Continue reading

James “Tony Soprano” Gandolfini Dead

James Gandolfini

James Gandolfini
September 18, 1961- June 19, 2013

It was announced this afternoon, June 19, 2013, the actor James Gandolfini suffered a heart attack and died in Italy. While this is not really beer related, I happened to meet Mr. Gandolfini this past October at the 1st Annual Rocktoberfest at LA Live, benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project. I only spoke to him for a short while, but he came across as a very nice guy and posed for the photo with a humorous attitude. Rest in Peace, sir; you were one of my favorite actors. You can see all the photos from the 1st Annual Rocktoberfest at LA Live on GotBaddog.com

LA Beer Blogger Summit #5

When it comes down to it, there is only one reason why American craft beer is taking off the way it is and that is because the people love it. In these days of the Internet (believe it or not, it wasn’t always here) and social media, people write on their Facebook pages or Twitter to talk about their passions; some even start blogs or other websites to promote these passions to others. Craft beer is no different; for as many new microbreweries as there are popping up around the country, it seems that there are at least a dozen people writing about each one. Some of us try to write about all of them.

Today, I went to Schooner at Sunset, a gastropub in Sunset Beach, to attend the LA Beer Blogger Summit #5. As the name implies, it was a gathering of a group of craft beer fans that have decided to promote the American craft beer or local craft beer scene. Due to another obligation I was only able to stay for the first 90 minutes, but by the time I left I would guess that there were 30-40 people there and more arrived after I left. It was a pretty impressive showing with blogs, social media and print formats being represented. Some people had large networks of craft beer related sites while others were there to learn a little more and make some connections. With the motto of Collaborate and Educate the LA Beer Blogger Summit has a lot of potential to do just that.

The networking event featured guests Jerry Kolbly and Evan Price of Nobel Ale Works, from nearby Anaheim, and live music by Aloha Radio. While Schooner at Sunset has a very nice list of guest brews on their taps, they were enhanced by some additions provided by Nobel Ale Works; Rosalita (Hibiscus Lager, 4.5% abv), Breakaway (Pale Ale, 5% abv), Big Whig (IPA, 6.8% abv) and Too Darn Hot (Habanero IPA, 6.8% abv). Since the event I had to go to was a food event I did not eat there this time (yes, I have been there before), but the food smelled great and the couple I was sharing the table with were very complimentary of it. Continue reading

38 Degrees 4th Anniversary Photos

These photos are from the 38 Degrees Ale House and Grill 4th Anniversary Celebration, held today in Alhambra. 38 Degrees Ale House and Grill is a gastropub that I visited for the first time back in February when they had their Pliny the Younger release party. Even though it is a 30 mile ride out there, I knew that I was going to have to return; their guest tap list was pretty impressive and the food looked and smelled good. When I heard they were having their 4th anniversary celebration I knew that this would be an outstanding event.

We got there shortly after the scheduled start time and the 38 Degrees fans were already beginning to fill the place up and I could not help but notice the number of flights that were being purchased. Of course, when you look at the list of beers they had available it is easy to understand why. From their Facebook page, the taps were pouring: Continue reading

Smog City Brewing Ribbon Cutting

These photos are from the Smog City Brewing Company’s induction to the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC). The event, better known as a “ribbon Cutting” was attended by numerous members of the TACC, a Torrance City Councilman representing Mayor Scotto’s office; as well as a representative from Assembly member Al Muratsuchi’s office. There were also many, many customers. As one first time visitor told me, “I think they are going to do pretty well here.” I have to agree; I think they are going to do very well. Continue reading

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