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Old Tankard Ale: The First Canned Craft Beer Returns

As it is American Craft Beer Week and I really have not done any articles to acknowledge it, I thought this might be a good time to talk about re-release of the first canned American craft beer.

A couple months ago I got an email asking if I would like to try a new beer that was being released nationally by the Pabst Brewing Company, Old Tankard Ale, an English Mild Ale. Now let there be no mistake, I am not a fan of Pabst Blue Ribbon in any way but when I read that the re-release of Old Tankard Ale was using a 1937 brewer’s log recipe I was intrigued as it was the number two nationwide seller in the 1930’s through the 1950’s. I wondered what was killing it back in the day.

Since Old Tankard Ale was the first craft beer brewed by Pabst, and Pabst was the first brewery to utilize Keglined Cans [in 1935], it was the first craft beer to be put in a can and be distributed nationwide. Continue reading

A Class of Beer at Select Beer Store

For those that think I made a typo in the title, I didn’t. A Class of Beer: An Overview of the Craft Brewing Renaissance is a class that was offered this spring through UCLA’s continuing education program; UCLA Extension. The class, taught by local beerlebrity, beer hoarder and writer for Celebrator Beer News and Beer Paper L.A. Tomm Carroll, explored the history of beer from ancient times to today’s craft beer explosion. With Carroll leading the class, students learned about different styles of beers as well as how to differentiate between a flawed beer and a good one. Essentially, by the time they completed the eight week class, attendees should be well on their way to being capable of pursuing a rank from the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) or to begin the Brewers Association’s program to be certified as a Cicerone.

As we all know, sitting in a classroom listening to beer experts like Carroll, John Palmer, author of Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers; Devon Randall of Arts District Brewing; Rob Croxall of El Segundo Brewing, as well as various craft beer bar owners, homebrewers and judges is all well and good but until you can see, smell and taste the beer the talking can only go so far. To remedy this, Carroll has beer tastings of four different beers for each classroom session and arranged a few field trips to locations like Monkish Brewing to discuss brewing styles and yeasts; Mohawk Bend to learn about running a craft beer bar or brewpub; and this past Monday they visited Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach, where I caught up to them. Continue reading

Chad’s Beer Cellar Fundraiser May 7, 2016

craft beer

Hundreds of rare beers at Chad’s Beer Cellar Fundraiser

Regular readers of this site have probably noticed that I promote quite a few craft beer events, with an emphasis on those that are fundraisers. Whatever the event the primary factor in determining whether or not I will promote the event is value. I do not want anyone to attend an event and not be glad they did. On May 7, Chad Hazen and King Harbor Brewing Company are holding their third in a series of rare bottle shares with the proceeds going to the Richstone Family Center in Hawthorne.

Ever since last December, I have been telling anyone that would listen that this event was coming up and it is not one to be missed. Actually, what I have been telling people is that this bottle share is better than the Firestone Invitational when it comes to the number of available beers and there are no lines since ticket sales are limited to 100 attendees!

The first of the bottle shares was in December of 2014 when local craft beer aficionado and beer hoarder Chad Hazen decided he wanted to quit drinking beer for a year while he trained for a marathon. As he travels a lot for work he had built up quite a collection of craft beer and he felt it would be too much temptation to have all that beer around while he trained. He got together with King Harbor Brewing Company, he is one of the investors, and they decided they would have a bottle share benefiting Richstone Family Center. Instead of attendees bringing their own bottles, Hazen provided about 80 from his collection to be shared with the 50 attendees that purchased tickets. As you can see from the list of beers, it was an amazing time. Continue reading

California Craft Brewers Conference After-Party at Absolution Brewing

This past weekend the California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA) held their CCBA Spring Conference in Long Beach, California. I was out of town for the event so was unable to attend, however, Absolution Brewing Company in Torrance held an after-party on Tuesday evening which I was home in time for.

Judging by the turnout at the after-party I can only imagine that it must have been a well-attended event as I saw representatives and owners from Escape Craft Brewery, Rok House Brewing, Old Stump Brewing, Faction Brewing, Scholb Premium Ales and several providers of hops.

Thank you to Nigel Heath of Absolution Brewing for the invitation. Cheers! Continue reading

2016 Parabola Release at Whole Foods Market, Playa Vista

This week, Firestone Walker’s 2016 Parabola hit the streets of Los Angeles, and Whole Foods Market in Playa Vista marked the occasion by offering a dinner and Firestone flight special at their Astro Pub. In addition, Firestone Walker’s own David Walker was there to sign bottles of Parabola that were purchased or pretty much anything else Firestone Walker related that was brought in. The dinner special consisted of fish and chips and a flight of Firestone brews; 805, Union Jack, Luponic Distortion and Barrelworks Bretta Weisse.

I know everyone was appreciative of David Walker taking his time to talk with everyone individually, especially since he is not only doing the Parabola releases at multiple locations, but he is also really involved with the grand opening of the Venice location, The Propagator. It goes without saying that David was just as appreciative of everyone that attended; you could see that he enjoys interacting with his Firestone Walker fans. Cheers! Continue reading

Local Craft Brewing at the Torrance Library

On Saturday afternoon I moderated a panel at the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library to highlight Torrance’s prominence in the South Bay’s burgeoning craft beer industry. Hosted by the Torrance Public Library, the panel consisted of Rich Marcello from Strand Brewing Company, Laurie Porter from Smog City Brewing, Alex Rabe from The Dudes’ Brewing, and Bart Bullington from Absolution Brewing Company.

The questions ranged from why was Torrance chosen to set up shop, how they got into craft beer and challenges faced by new breweries, to what would you do if AB InBev approached with suitcases full of money (apparently $1 billion is the magic number).

It was a fun discussion and hopefully those that attended learned a little more about the breweries and the craft beer community in general; it was nice having two panelists that are primarily on the sales side of their respective breweries (Marcello and Porter); and two panelists that are the brewers for their brewery (Rabe and Bullington). Continue reading

Guinness: My First Love

For those that have not take the time to read everything I have written on my beer experience growing up, suffice it to say that nothing my dad was drinking was worth swiping from the fridge. Being proud of my Irish heritage I loved the time I spent in San Francisco as it was so very Irish. As I spent my summers roaming the streets of The City I always saw signs for fish and chips and for Guinness. In my young mind I just put Guinness together with fish and chips, like peanut butter and jelly. The first time I went to San Francisco after turning 21 I headed over to Edinburgh Castle Pub on Geary Street for my first Guinness, served with fish and chips wrapped in newspaper. A lifelong love affair has existed since.

So, what brought that up? Well, it is St. Patrick’s Day and since I stumbled upon a couple samples of Guinness’s “newest” brews, I thought today would be a good day to share the experience.

I am sure someone is thinking, “But it’s not craft!” well, it tastes like craft to me. Besides, when you have been around 250+ years it is likely you are going to exceed whatever production limit the Brewers Association sets for being called craft. Besides, it is St. Patrick’s Day and even if you are not drinking a Guinness you are probably going to have a beer that is an Irish Stout or on nitrogen; and you can thank Guinness for those. Continue reading

5th Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle Results

These photos were taken Monday afternoon at the Beachwood Blendery in Long Beach, where employees and friends gathered for the drawing of the raffle tickets for Beachwood’s 5th 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 location; winners get a pint of Pliny, those that did not win a pint of Pliny at least knew that their donation was going to a good cause, the Melanoma Research Foundation. This year they raised more than $10,000, bringing the total raised over the past five years to over $50,000!

The event was broadcast live on the Four Brewers podcast; however, if you missed it, you can find the winning numbers at http://beachwoodbbq.com/pdf/pliny_the_younger.pdf. This year they drew 145 winners, up from 140 last year. If you are a winner, pay attention to where you must pick up your pint. 105 must get them in Seal Beach and the other 40 can get them at the Long Beach Location. You must bring your raffle ticket with you and redeem it at the location designated. Continue reading

Torrance Planning Commission: Streamlining of CUP Modifications to Continue

Last night the Torrance Planning Commission met and one of the items on the agenda was to hear a report prepared by the Community Development Department which was to discuss the current state of the craft breweries in Torrance. The report included discussion on what the current procedures are to open a brewery, what the Torrance Municipal Code says about breweries in Torrance, why so many breweries are opting to open in Torrance and what affect the influx of breweries has had on the crime rate in Torrance. In the audience I saw Laurie Porter from Smog City Brewing, Henry Nguyen from Monkish Brewing, and Joel Elliott from Strand Brewing Company.

For a little background, I ask you to recall back in August when I attended the CUP Hearing for Scholb Premium Ales. At that time, the Torrance City Attorney mentioned that there might be a way to streamline the modification process for Conditional Use Permits that would eliminate the need for a hearing every time someone wanted a simple modification of their existing Conditional Use Permit. The Planning Commission agreed that if the modification of an existing CUP was not changing the intent of the permit issued the modification hearing should not be required. What this means is that if Scholb, or Smog City or any of the other Torrance breweries want to modify their Conditional Use Permit as far as their hours of operation they could save time and expense by having the Planning Department modify their permit without having to appear before the Planning Commission. Continue reading

Anthony Games Cicerone Celebration at El Segundo Brewing

According to cicerone.org a Cicerone is defined as:

The word “Cicerone” is a trademarked term used to designate those with a demonstrated expertise in beer service. Because the term is a certification trademark, only individuals who have passed the examination for Certified Cicerone® or Master Cicerone® may call themselves a Cicerone when involved in any aspect of beverage alcohol service or sales and related education activities.

There are multiple levels of being a Cicerone beginning with “Certified Beer Server” which has more than 8,000 people added yearly. To become a Certified Cicerone is significantly more difficult and only about 200 people a year reach this level; one of those that was recently certified was the South Bay’s own, Anthony Games. Continue reading

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