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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

Clown Shoes Tap Takeover at Tortilla Cantina

These photos were taken Monday night at the Clown Shoes Beer tap takeover which was held at the Tortilla Cantina Mexican restaurant in Torrance. Clown Shoes Beer west coast ambassador “Filthy” Phil Thomas brought three Clown Shoes offerings; Space Cake DIPA, Clementine Belgian style White Ale, and of course, Photosphere Phil – the IPA named after Thomas and bearing his likeness on the label. Attendees of the tap takeover were able to “steal the glass” for the first Clown Shoes pint they purchased. A few attendees took the opportunity to grab a photo with Photosphere Phil with their pints of Photosphere.

While I have know of Clown Shoes and Thomas for a couple years now, I never really knew much about Clown Shoes so I took opportunity to find out a little more about Clown Shoes Beer last night. Clown Shoes Beer opened in 2010 and is gypsy brewing out of Ipswich, Massachusetts. They are entering their sixth year of brewing and their list of brews, past and present, is pretty impressive. If you have noticed their bombers at your local bottle shop, you had to notice their distinctive labeling as well. They do some pretty solid stuff. By the way, they will be pouring at the upcoming Alpine Kraft Bierfest, so if you have not tried them yet you know where to find them.

Tortilla Cantina is located at 1225 El Prado Avenue in Old Torrance. They have an excellent selection of craft beer at excellent prices and have a happy hour seven days a week from 3:00 – 6:00 PM. Recently; Tortilla Cantina has been holding “steal the glass” tap takeovers on pretty much a weekly basis. I know that in the past few weeks, besides Clown Shoes last night, Mission, Bell’s and Kinetic have been featured. Check out the Tortilla Cantina website for more information on upcoming events. Cheers! Continue reading

Coming Soon: Bourbon County Brand Varietals

Friday afternoon I was in the back room watching TV when I heard the dogs going off; a minute later Tanya poked her head in and said there was someone at the door for me. That was a little unnerving as solicitors do not usually ask for someone by name; when I came to the door there was a gentleman holding a black gift bag. He handed me his iPhone and asked me to sign the screen; when I did he handed me the bag. As soon as I held the bag I knew it had to be beer; when I pushed the decorative paper aside I saw I had received three bottles of the 2015 Bourbon County Brand Stout varietals. So, how did that happen?

Last month I was invited to a private Goose Island tasting of the new Bourbon County releases, which was to be held at the Surly Goat. Since I really enjoy the entire Bourbon County series and I have yet to go to Surly Goat, I jumped at the opportunity. Now, I have to admit, they were doing 45 minute sessions and I was not sure how anyone could drink six variations of Bourbon County in 45 minutes but I was up for the challenge. As the date approached I read what I could since we were supposed to get a chance to meet and speak with some of their brewers and I wanted to have a clue ahead of time. Unfortunately, there ended up being a scheduling conflict so the event was canceled. To make up for the inconvenience they sent me a few bottles; I got the Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, Bourbon County Brand Stout and Proprietor’s Bourbon County Brand Stout. Continue reading

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