In March of 1996, the fledgling Firestone Walker Brewing Company out of Paso Robles, California released their first beer; DBA British Pale Ale. Thursday evening, 30 or 40 Firestone Walker fans met at Firestone Walker’s newest location, The Propagator, in Marina del Rey to celebrate DBA becoming of age, at the DBA Turns 21 beer dinner, hosted by Firestone Walkers first employee, Jeffers Richardson.
While we enjoyed a pour of Schwarzbier, a roasty German style black lager which was brewed at The Propagator by Ben Maushardt, Jeffers told us about the early days at Firestone Walker; go back as far as his initial job interview which involved babysitting a 5 year-old.
DBA, Double Barrel Ale, is often credit to being developed by Jeffers, but he gives full credit to Adam Firestone and David Walker as it was only because of their insistence that the beer be fermented using oak and stainless barrels, then blending them. It was obviously a great idea, and DBA has become not only a flagship brew for them, but it is also the base for several of their other beers. This beer dinner would celebrate the many uses of DBA as well as the beer itself. Continue reading
On Wednesday afternoon Firestone Walker’s Venice location, The Propagator, officially changed from being a gastropub to a brewpub with the release of their first beer from the million dollar brewhouse; aptly named, Generation 1. While the release of a beer may not necessarily be documented here, I know there are a lot of Firestone Walker fans out there and knowing that they are now able to use their beautiful brewhouse for something other than a display is news we have all been waiting for. The fact that Generation 1 is outstanding is icing on the cake.
Generation 1 is an IPA that is hopped with Citra, Mosaic and Mandarina hops; it is really smooth and has great flavors. It is quite drinkable; and it might be [one of] their best IPAs, in my opinion.
When I mentioned to Propagator General Manager Brad Ellis how impressed I was with the first batch from the new system, he immediately gave credit to the work ethic of Propagator brewer, Ben Maushardt. Ellis had first observed Maushardt up in Paso Robles and he apparently made quite the impression as the choice for brewer at Propagator involved input from the rank and file. Continue reading
As our Craft Beer Tour 2016 continued west on I-40 from Big Texan Brewery in Amarillo we entered New Mexico and a few hours later we found ourselves in Albuquerque. As this would be our stop for the evening, I looked around Google for food and craft beer and came upon Quarter Celtic Brewpub.
I was not sure what to expect at an Irish sounding brewpub located in New Mexico, but as soon as we walked in I could not help but notice all the family crests hanging on the wall that seemed to imply that there were at least a few people of Irish descent that lived there.
Finding Quarter Celtic took a little bit of effort and it probably helps to know where to look since apparently they are the only brewery in New Mexico with underground parking. You will not see it from the street, so when you find the Ace Hardware Store, look for the underground parking structure. With the extreme weather they have in New Mexico, I am sure the residents love it. Continue reading
These photos were taken at the Lugosi Bottle Premiere and Halloween Celebration that was held Saturday evening at Phantom Carriage blendery and tasting room in Carson. The event featured the release of a bottled version of Lugosi, a high gravity dark wild sour ale aged in oak with Brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and Pediococcus; featuring sweet cherry, vanilla, and stone fruit.
Since it was also a Halloween party, Phantom Carriage played Universal Studio’s 1931 version of “Dracula” on a large screen in the back parking lot. As Dracula starred Bela Lugosi, and they were releasing the bottled version of Lugosi, it only made sense that this would be a good time to invite Bela Lugosi, Jr. to join the fun, which he accepted and brought along a good portion of his family. Continue reading
If you have driven through the Texas panhandle on I-40 around Amarillo in the last 40 years; you have undoubtedly seen the billboards for the Big Texan Steak Ranch. They are pretty tough to miss with their promise of a free 72oz steak. I have seen them several times over the years, but this time there was a sign next to the steak offering that suggested they had a brewery there. I decided that I would stop at the Big Texan for the first time.
Let there be no mistake, the Big Texan Ranch complex, complete with motels, is a tourist stop; it is meant to break up the monotony of the drive. I got the impression that there were several people that stopped with the intention of eating a 75oz steak dinner within an hour, but there was also a shooting gallery, an ice cream and candy store; and now there was a bar offering 11 beers, crafted on site.
When we ordered our flight I told our beertender about our tour and she immediately nodded over to a gentleman to her right; “You want to talk to him; he is the brewer.” Continue reading
As our Craft Beer Tour 2016 continued west on I-44 from Missouri we entered Oklahoma, which presented its own set of issues; not the least of which was availability.
When we left Missouri I had been informed about a bottle release that was happening at a brewery in Tulsa. Unfortunately, the brewery did not have food and they would have closed within an hour or two of our arrival. While I did not really care about food, Tanya did so we would wait until we could find a brewpub. Tulsa was having its own social issues so we decided to continue west to Oklahoma City where we found Belle Isle Restaurant & Brewery. When I say we “found” Belle Isle, do not take that too lightly as it does seem rather hidden since most of the signage was blocked by trees; at least from the street view. It probably helps to know it is there. Continue reading
All day Saturday, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, the world’s best large brewpub, celebrated five years with hundreds of their fans by providing at least 30 of their beers on tap, four casks, and hourly releases of such favorites as 8 Buffalo, Sadie and Jean-Quad Van Damme along with a special food menu, wandering magicians, balloon artists, and other side show acts turning their Long Beach location into a carnival fit for any adult that enjoys craft beer.
We arrived around 1:00 PM and while there was no line to get in, there was a two hour wait to get a table. We did like many and just opted to stand in the bar until a community table opened up. Getting a beer or ordering food at the bar was quick and easy; and it appeared to me that people were getting seated quicker than two hours. Continue reading
Sometimes it comes down to timing; Wednesday evening is a perfect example of that. Tanya did not feel like cooking and I had just been paid, so she suggested we go to dinner. On the short list of brewpubs and gastropubs was one that we have not visited as much as we would like was Beachwood Brewing & BBQ in Long Beach. Truth be told, because it was the beginning of the rush hour traffic we were hesitant to head there when there were so many other great options that were a lot closer; but we both had a hankering for some barbecue and whatever was new at Beachwood, so we took our chances and headed to Long Beach.
One of the first things I noticed when we arrived at Beachwood was a sign that said something about a shuttle going between the Long Beach and Seal Beach locations. When I asked the hostess about it, I was informed that I got there just in time for Beachwood’s celebration with Noble Ale Works of their victories at the recent World Beer Cup where, among other awards, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing won World Beer Cup Champion Brewery and Brewmaster in the large brewpubs category and Noble Ale Works won World Beer Cup Champion Brewery and Brewmaster in the Small Brewing Company category. Beachwood was providing shuttle rides between their two locations in order that you might be able to try all the beers that Noble Ale Works brought with them. Continue reading
If you asked me a week ago if I would be attending the 5th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival (FWIBF16), I would have hung my head and responded that I would not be there. On Wednesday afternoon a good friend of mine put out an alert on Facebook announcing that he was not going to be able to make it, so he had two tickets available to the first person that contacted him; I was that guy.
We headed out late Friday morning with the intention of visiting as many new [to me] craft breweries as possible. After two hours, in which we covered a mere 70 miles, we stopped for a Starbucks break in Camarillo; it was at this point that I realized that I had left my camera at home! I have to admit, this was a pretty depressing revelation because I knew that traffic was getting worse and it would likely take me five or six hours to get back to Camarillo.
While Tanya was inside the store I recalled the previous evening when I saw Tanya pack her Canon T1i Rebel in case we stopped somewhere that she felt like photographing. I knew she would not have any extraneous equipment, like an external flash or the Sigma lens I like but it would be better than trying to cover the event using my Smartphone … maybe. Continue reading
Okay, I am going to make this short and sweet; the HopSaint Brewing Company brewpub in Torrance has unofficially begun their soft open. I say “unofficially” because they are not really advertising it quite yet; consider it a soft, soft open.
The photos were taken over 14 months, but primarily from their initial opening for investors and family and then again Saturday night. They are open seven (7) days a week, but right now food service will not begin until 4:00 or 5:00 PM and some items may be limited. Tonight was the first time I had an opportunity to look at the food menu and there are a few items that I cannot wait to try.
Currently, Brian Brewer has three of his brews on tap; Cacophony IPA, $1.00 from every pint sold goes to Ales for ALS, Eleven-Eight which is like an ESB and Bubble Butt Blonde which is as tasty as it sounds. They have a very extensive tap list so there are no worries about not finding something you will like. Continue reading