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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

The Craft Beer Guy 2015 Year in Review

HopSaint brewpub

HopSaint Brewing Company Now Soon!

Well, there are still a couple of days left in 2015 but I think it is safe to write my year-end review of 2015. To be honest, there has been so much activity in the craft beer world this past year that I would not be surprised to have something new pop up before Thursday night.(So, this is taking me a while to write, and yes, there have been updates since I started).

There were several beer buyouts that seemed to dominate most other craft beer sites, but the craft world in my immediate domain only seemed to increase. Yeah, Golden Road got bought, but I only went there for special events and I guess that means there will be fewer of them there in the future. In the meantime, the reach of this site seems to be increasing. In the beginning people pretty much pigeonholed this site as covering the South Bay craft beer scene only. This year I covered various local beer events from the Antelope Valley to Orange County. Attendees have come up asking if I am now covering the west side, or wherever we might be. I guess the answer is yes; and I will expand my area as long as it is requested.

2015 in the South Bay ended pretty much as it started, with the soft open of a new brewpub. In January Phantom Carriage officially opened, and at the end of December HopSaint Brewing Company opened their doors. While they are open daily, the official opening of HopSaint will be January 1, 2016 when they will start serving lunch at 11:30 AM. Continue reading

2nd Annual Holiday Bottle Share Benefiting Richstone Family Center

On Saturday afternoon, local craft beer hoarder Chad Hazen put about 150 bottles of his collection of rare craft beer up for his 2nd Annual Holiday Bottle Share Benefiting the Richstone Family Center; the event was held at the King Harbor Brewing Company’s tasting room. All of the monies raised went to the Richstone Family Center which is located in Hawthorne. The Richstone Family Center is dedicated to preventing and treating child abuse.

I tried making sure all of you knew about this event, but a relatively few showed up. There was a cap of 100 tickets being sold, but if they sold 50, I would be surprised. If you meant to go but forgot, you blew it. Take a look at the list of brews we had available to us:
Continue reading

Nineteen & Twenty at Library Alehouse

These photos are from the Nineteen and Twenty Firestone Walker tap takeover which was held at Library Alehouse in Santa Monica on Wednesday evening. The event was to celebrate Library Alehouse turning 20 so they brought in Firestone Walker’s XIX Anniversary Ale, along with an amazing assortment of Firestone brews to make it a real party.

In addition to the XIX Anniversary, they also had XVIII Anniversary, Walker’s Cuvee, Sour Opal, Bretta Weisse, Agrestic, Velvet Merkin, Sucaba, Parabola, Stickee Monkee, Helldorado, Union Jack, DBA and Pivo Pils. They had a few preset flights set up so one could try as many Firestone Walker brews as they might desire.

Because Firestone Walker does have a special relationship with Library Alehouse, David Walker was in attendance and he brought a couple special guests including Duvel Moortgat President, Simon Thorpe, Duvel’s LA Market manager, Ian Hendrickson, and the General Manager of the soon-to-be opened Firestone Walker Venice location, Brad Ellis. Continue reading

Goose Island Bourbon County Black Friday at Surly Goat

These photos are from the Goose Island, Bourbon County, Black Friday tap takeover that was held at The Surly Goat this past “Black Friday” evening. Regular readers may recall that a few weeks ago I wrote about a Bourbon County tasting I was supposed to attend at The Surly Goat that had to be canceled at the last minute. In it I happened to mention that one incentive for driving out to Hollywood was that I had never been to The Surly Goat before and that I was looking forward to checking them out. Well, someone from The Surly Goat read the article and invited me to their Goose Island, Bourbon County Black Friday tap takeover which I accepted.

Unlike the Bourbon County event at Whole Foods that I attended earlier, this was purely a tap takeover that featured several Goose Island brews. Featured were 2013-2015 Bourbon County Brand Stout, 2013-2015 Bourbon County Brand Barleywine, Lolita, Matilda, Sofie, Illinois, Goose IPA and Class of ’88. They also held a few raffles that included a bottle of the 2015 BCBS Rare; with the proceeds going to The Trevor Project.

I have to say that The Surly Goat is a spot worth checking out if you find yourself in West Hollywood. As you can tell from the photos, they have a pretty nice tap list even without the Bourbon County; and the people that work there are very nice. If you have never been there and decide to stop by, be sure to tell them the Craft Beer Guy sent you; thanks. Cheers! Continue reading

Goose Island BCBS Release at Whole Foods Market Playa Vista

These photos are from the Black Friday Goose Island bottle release which was held at the Whole Foods Market in Playa Vista on Friday afternoon. According to Whole Foods beer buyer Raul Moran, this particular location had one of the highest allocations of the new Bourbon County series in the entire Los Angeles area; judging by the number of cases they had I have no doubts. In fact, they had five of the six varietals available for purchase; Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, Bourbon County Brand Stout, Bourbon County Brand Barleywine, Bourbon County Brand Regal Rye Stout and Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout.

In addition to the bottle release, the Astro Pub featured several flight options for those that wanted to compare various releases as well as some pretty tasty food to go along with it. The preset flights included 2013 through 2015 of BCBS with a Sophie, and a 2013 and 2015 Barleywine with a 2015 Coffee Stout and a Matilda.

While there was a pretty good crowd, Whole Foods managed it quite nicely; they were quick and efficient and I think everyone that showed up was able to purchase at least one bottle. Cheers! Continue reading

Christmas Shopping Survival Tips – For the South Bay, anyway

As you probably heard, Thanksgiving is around the corner and based on my server stats that means for most of you the Christmas holiday shopping/spending season will begin Friday. Since I live in Torrance and we are the center of the craft beer explosion in the Greater Los Angeles Area, I figured I should give some tips to those of you that will be coming to our malls; primarily Del Amo Fashion Square and the South Bay Galleria. You are in luck; if you do have to venture to these locations for your Christmas shopping there is quite a bit of good beer available without having to give up your parking spot. Of course, if you can drop the wife off you can take your own mini craft beer tour and avoid the parking situation entirely, but if you have to go inside I have you covered.

I ventured off to the newly remodeled Del Amo Fashion Square and immediately rewrote this article in my head. I had planned one thing but parking was mind blowing and it was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at 1:00 PM. My advice is that if you are shopping at Del Amo, find a central parking spot and stick with it. Trying to drive to the other end would just be silly. I don’t visit the mall often, but when I do I find the parking is best on the east side; so you want to get to the southwest corner of Madrona and Fashion Way. When you see the AMC sign, turn south into the parking lot. You may end up having to use the structures, but they are new and I really have no knowledge of how well they are set up.

On the outside of the mall, on the east side, there is a large courtyard area that features places like Starbucks, PF Chang’s and has the entrance to the theaters. Also in that group are three locations that have pretty decent offerings of craft beer and most carry at least a couple local brews. Continue reading

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