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El Segundo Brewing’s Standard Crude Tapping / Bad Sweater Party

On Saturday, December 14, El Segundo Brewing Company (ESBC) held their Standard Crude Tapping and Bad Sweater Contest at their brewery and taproom. The craft beer event was held to acknowledge the bottling of the 2013 Standard Crude and to introduce ESBC’s latest offering, Mayberry IPA which will be available throughout the winter, at least. To mark the release and tapping, they opened up the back and middle bars and brought in Larry’s Tacos who provided tacos and quesadillas. To say there was a brew for every palate would be an understatement as El Segundo Brewing pulled all the stops. The front bar offered Standard Crude 2013, Hyperion’s Vanilla Stout, Two 5 Left DIPA, Hop Tanker DIPA, White Dog IPA, Blue House IPA and a cask of Standard Crude on bourbon soaked oak.

The back bar offered Blue House Pale, Blue House Citra Pale, Blue House Amarillo Pale, Blue House Simcoe Pale, Schot in Het Donker, Smoky Hollow Scotch Ale and bottle pours of the 2012 Standard Crude. Getting a flight of all three Standard Crude options provided an excellent means of seeing what difference a year of aging can do for a big beer like Standard Crude. The middle bar provided the Mayberry IPA; a Mosaic™ hopped brew. I have to say, I am quickly becoming a fan of Mosaic hops.

Since it is only a couple weeks until Christmas and it was the warmest day of the month, it only made sense to hold a Bad Sweater Contest. Visitors to the taproom that wore Christmas sweaters had their photos taken by the ESBC staff which were immediately posted on the El Segundo Brewing Company Facebook page. The photos that get the most likes will be declared the winners. The grand prize is a new growler with 10 fills, with the runner up receiving a tasting for four people. Voting will continue until 5:00 PM on Sunday December 15; there are 14 contestants so feel free to head over to the ESBC Facebook page and vote for your favorite “bad sweater.” Cheers! Continue reading

Strand Brewing Company 4 Year Celebration Photos

As Rich Marcello, co-owner of Strand Brewing Company, describes it, he was sitting on his surfboard Saturday morning, not sure if anyone would show up for the scheduled 4 year Celebration that was to begin at noon. “Even at 11:55, I was ready to open the doors and was still not sure if anyone was going to show up.” Well, show up they did; and in throngs. Friends, family and fans of Strand Brewing’s handcrafted ales showed up at noon and they kept coming in. I could only stay for the first half and in addition to the nine beers on tap there were four special beers on cask that had all been drained by 3:00 PM. Personally, I never doubted that there would be a great turnout, but Rich is a pretty modest guy.

Equally modest is the other owner and head brewer, Joel Elliott. One must admire what he has done considering he had no intentions of being the brewer at Strand; things happened and he stepped up to the plate. When I think back to my first visit to the Strand Brewing tasting room in May 2012 they had four beers available; Beach House Amber, 24th Street Pale Ale, Atticus IPA and Batch 100 Stout. Today, in addition to the original four they offered Harvest Ball Witbier (4th Anniversary Ale), White Sand Imperial IPA, Black Sand Imperial IPA, Expression Session Pale Ale and Musashi Black IPA on tap. They had two casks going at a time for as long as they lasted, beginning with their Atticus IPA with Citra hops and their Harvest Ball Witbier with blood oranges. When those were emptied a cask of White Sand Imperial IPA with Mosaic hops and a cask of Batch 100 on coffee were brought out. As you can see, for someone that never intended to be a brewer, Joel has been really spreading his wings.

In addition to the great beer and celebrity appearances, four-time reigning Tetris World Champion Jonas Neubauer poured beer much of the day, Villegas Tacos was there providing food for those in need. Some of the guests even brought in a few tasty treats, making it a fun afternoon. Congratulations to Joel and Rich and we all look forward to your 5th Anniversary celebration. Cheers! Continue reading

Just in time for Christmas: The ABC MUG Club

ABC growlers

Absolution Brewing Company Growlers & Glassware

If you will recall, two weeks ago I announced that Torrance is getting another craft brewery, Absolution Brewing Company (ABC). Now, just in time for Christmas, Absolution Brewing Company has announced their ABC MUG Club.

The ABC MUG Club is an exclusive membership for fans of Absolution Brewing Company and if you are looking for a one-of-a-kind Christmas present to give the craft beer aficionado in your family, this might be exactly what you are looking for. Membership is limited to just 125 people the first year, so it is definitely exclusive. As a member of the ABC MUG Club you will be invited to the ABC exclusive soft opening at the brewery/tasting room and get to experience all of Absolution’s new beers before they are released to the general public. In addition, you will also be invited to their exclusive MUG events and cask nights. As if this was not enough, in addition to the above you will receive an Absolution Brewing t-shirt, cap and a custom 64 ounce growler with a free first fill! I hate to sound like the ShamWow guy, but that’s not all. You will also receive $1 off every full pour at the tasting room as well as $1 off every subsequent growler fill and you will receive 20% off any additional ABC gear. You get all of this for a guilt free $125 plus tax, the shipping is free. Heck, this is a great Christmas gift to give yourself. Remember, there are only 125 openings this first year and some of those openings are already taken; yes, I got one of them.

You can read all the details, including the fine print on the Absolution Brewing website or call them at (310) 490-4860. You know you are going to end up buying a growler anyway, so you might as well get it now and get one of the custom growlers. They are pretty cool and I cannot wait to get mine filled. Those of you that have been following along on Facebook know that I have been following the progress as the ABC team readies their tasting room and as I watch their attention to detail in the construction phase of the brewery and tasting room, I am really looking forward to trying their brews. Cheers!

Strand Brewing Company to celebrate 4 years December 7

Batch 100

Celebrate 4 years of Strand Brewing Company

Strand Brewing Company is Torrance’s oldest production brewery and they are preparing to celebrate four years of craft brewing excellence. Saturday, December 7, Strand Brewing Company will open their doors from 12:00-8:00 PM with an extravaganza of beers never before seen in one location.

The craft beers scheduled to appear on tap will be their Harvest Ball Belgian Style Orange Witbier (4th Anniversary Ale), White Sand Imperial IPA, Black Sand Imperial IPA, Beach House Amber Ale, 24th Street Pale Ale, Atticus India Pale Ale and Expression Session Pale Ale. There will be numerous casks tapped throughout the day, with Harvest Ball starting things off. I have also heard that their Batch 100 on coffee will be made available.

White Sand

Torrance’s original production brewery

As no celebration would be complete without at least some celebrity appearances, be sure to bring your autograph books as rumor has it that the four-time reigning Tetris World Champion Jonas Neubauer will be there pouring beers. For the first time that I can recall, Strand Brewing Company will also have a food truck there; Taco Man. We all know how well tacos pair with craft beer.

Strand Brewing Company is located at 23520 Telo Avenue in Torrance. This is in an industrial park north of Lomita Boulevard and west of Crenshaw. In the interest of being good neighbors, attendees are requested to park in the street. Do not worry, there is plenty of street parking and there are no parking meters in Torrance. This will be a great time, I assure you. I hope to see you there; cheers!

Timeless Pints: Lakewood’s first craft brewery

I guess it was early September when I was covering an event out in the Bixby Knolls area of Long Beach when I first heard that there was a new craft brewery opening in the area. Unfortunately, I was not familiar enough with Long Beach to know that this new microbrewery, Timeless Pints Brewing Company, was less than two miles from me. This lost opportunity was made up for Sunday afternoon when I met up with some friends at a gathering they were having at Timeless Pints.

When I walked in the tasting room the first thing that caught my eye was the brewing equipment; it was a smaller operation than what I have become accustomed to seeing around here. The second thing I noticed was that they had nine taps and 10 different brews available (one of the brews was a blend of two of their beers). As I recalled that Timeless Pints had only been open for about three months I was impressed that a brewery of this size with only a couple of months of history could have such a wide variety of brews available. I am not talking about a bunch of IPAs with different names; they legitimately have nine different styles of beer. They have a witbier, blonde ale, oatmeal stout, porter, pale ale, amber ale, and a couple of IPAs. The names owner and head brewer, Chris Sparacio came up with are interesting as well; The Expeditious Guest, an American IPA; A Swarm and a Hatter, a Blonde Ale; and A Precarious Proposal, an Amber Ale are just a few examples. I suspect the biggest challenge besides continuing to come up with tasty brews will be continuing to come up with interesting names to go along with it.

Timeless Pints Brewing Company is located at 3671 Industry Avenue in Lakewood, California. While I do not use this site to review individual beers I will suggest getting a flight to try them all. Their Winter Festivale porter was one of the more interesting brews I have tried in recent memory. If it is available, give it a try; I think you will enjoy it. Cheers! Continue reading

El Segundo Brewing Company Dueling DIPAs

El Segundo Brewing Company (ESBC), a hopcentric microbrewery nestled between the noise of LAX and the aromas of Standard Oil’s refinery, provides relief from the din and pollution with some of the South Bay’s most popular IPAs and ales. Last year at their one year anniversary, ESBC released their first Double IPA; Two 5 Left. With Simcoe, Citra, Cascade and Chinook hops combined with Two Row, Vienna, Crystal 15 and Crystal 40 malts it is easy to understand why it was so well received. It is delicious.

During LA Beer Week last September, El Segundo released their second DIPA, Hop Tanker. Using Two Row and Vienna malts with Nelson Sauvin and Citra hops this Double IPA was light in color and maybe a little smoother tasting, but the ABV jumped from the 8.2 Two 5 Left to a tasty 9.5 on the Hop Tanker. Once again, it was very well received and discussions around the taproom started being held over which DIPA was the best. It was actually a very valid question because El Segundo can only brew so much beer at a time, and it was time to brew a DIPA again; but which one?

On Saturday, November 16, El Segundo Brewing Company held a Dueling Double IPAs event at their taproom. Flights of Two 5 Left and Hop Tanker were sold and the drinker was given a vote which had a value of 50 points. They also used the volume of beer sold during business that day. All sales of pints, growlers, bottles and tasters of the DIPAs were tabulated with the winning brew to be started December 2 and would be ready after Christmas. Continue reading

A visit to The Bruery

I know there are many that would consider it heresy for a craft beer fan to say this; but when it comes to sours, I have never been a huge fan. Truth be told, I was never much of a fan at any level. The first sour I recall trying was at a bottle share at Sophie’s Place I attended a couple years ago. I took one sip and immediately poured the rest of the taster into the spit bucket. Other attendees looked at me with shock and informed me that I had dumped the most expensive brew at the event. What can I say; obviously my palate was not refined enough to enjoy an expensive sour.

Probably a year later, Smog City Brewing introduced me to their Quercus Circus; I found that to be a very nice entry level sour. I even ventured away from my standard taster pours and ordered a couple full pours. I felt more comfortable with sours and I was going to do my best to develop my palate to the point that I could enjoy them. It wasn’t too much after this that I went back to Sophie’s and the bartender offered me something from a growler he had bought at The Bruery; I discovered that my palate was not quite as developed as I had hoped.

As I attended more beer festivals I started getting a sour or two; some I liked, others not so much. Eventually I got to the point that I got bottles from Three Floyds and Russian River. I could see that I was learning to appreciate sours a little more each time. I even found myself enjoying the pours I got from The Bruery, no longer was it too much for me. Continue reading

LA Beer Week comes to a close

Sunday, day 11 of LA Beer Week (LABW5) and congratulations to those of you that survived. While I did not attend the event at Union Station a week ago, I cannot imagine trying to do it at the end of an 11 day week. I started the day by heading over to King Harbor Brewing Company where I got the opportunity to meet their head brewer as he christened the location by brewing a small batch saison. A little later in the day I was informed that Smog City Brewing was hosting a panel, School of BJ’s Brewer Panel Discussion featuring Jonathan Porter of Smog City, Tyler King of The Bruery, David Griffiths of Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie, Evan Price of Noble Ale Works and Owen Williams of Ritual Brewing Company. It turns out that the common denominator between the five of them is that they all brewed at BJ’s; who would have guessed? We decided to begin by going to Monkish Brewing to try their LABW5 entry, End of Summer, a Belgian Honey Ale. We then headed around the corner to Smog City.

As it turned out the event was not really supposed to be public as Beer Paper LA was using the opportunity to interview the brewers for an upcoming issue and they were concerned I would scoop them; so I bailed. You should be able to read about it and see any photos in their upcoming issue.

It really was a fun week and I had a great time. I would like to extend special thanks to The Brewery at Abigaile, Naja’s Place, Rock & Brews PCH, Monkish Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, San Pedro Brewing Company, Alpine Village and El Segundo Brewing Company for their hospitality and generosity over the past week. It was truly appreciated. Cheers! Continue reading

Beer, beer and more beer for day 10 of LA Beer Week

It may have been day 10 of LA Beer Week (LABW5) but the list of available events to attend gave no indication that we were wrapping things up as far as “beer week” was concerned. I could not help but think back to an article I read while researching American Craft beer Week; at one point it was actually American Craft Beer Month! I can understand why they decided to cut back to a week, but I had to wonder how long an LA Beer Month would last. Luckily, there were lots of great events in my own backyard, so I kept it local.

I started Saturday off at Smog City Brewing in Torrance and their Rarest of the Rare and event that pulled in beer geeks from all over the LA and Orange Counties. Their owner, Porter, has a reputation for “hoarding” beers and he brought out a good number of them Saturday. There were barrel aged, sours, and collaboratives; there were 19 or 20 different brews in total. As I knew I had a long day ahead of me, I stuck to taking photos knowing I would return later.

A little later I headed over to El Segundo Brewing Company (ESBC) for their Hop Tanker DIPA Release Party. To celebrate LABW5 and the addition of Hop Tanker to their tap list, they brought out many of the different beers head brewer Rob Croxall has produced over the years. As expected, they had a great turnout so they opened up the entire brewery, utilizing taps in the front and rear as well as a separate filling station for growlers. Making special on cask appearances were Melon Collie, White Dog on Ogen heirloom melons; Blue Cubed, Blue House IPA with Sugar Cube heirloom melons; and Blue House IPA on peaches. Continue reading

LA Beer Blogger Summit #7 at Angel City Brewery

Saturday afternoon I headed out to Los Angeles and visited Angel City Brewery as they were hosting the LA Beer Bloggers Summit #7; a networking event made up of beer bloggers from all over LA and Orange County. This is the third one I have attended and each gathering seems to be larger than the last. This particular event we were treated to a short talk by head brewer Dieter Foerstner who told us a little about his LA Beer Week (LABW5) release, Honey Chrysanthemum Ale, and how he was able to purchase the tea at the Japanese market across the street from the brewery and how he got his honey from a local source that never considered using honey in beer. After Dieter’s talk and some samples of their Scrumdiddlyumptious Brown Ale they had a panel moderated by John Verive of Beer of Tomorrow with panelists Tomm Carroll, LA correspondent for The Celebrator; Sarah Bennett, a writer for LA Weekly and Beer Paper LA; and Whitson Gordon, the Editor in Chief of Lifehacker.com. It was interesting and I know I got some ideas on the direction I should take with this craft beer adventure.

It was my first time visiting Angel City Brewery and I must admit I was not expecting what I discovered. The place is huge and quite photogenic, I could spend some time wandering around and catching interesting sights. My one disappointment was self inflicted; for some reason I did not even ask about flights until after I ordered a pint, so I only got to try two of the eight they had on tap. I guess I have no choice but to go back there and try again. Angel City Brewery is located at 216 South Alameda in Los Angeles. They do not serve food, but they have food trucks that stop by; you might want to look around at one of the nearby restaurants though as they allow you to bring food in and have plenty of tables to enjoy your food and beer at.

On the way home we stopped by to check out the crowd at Smog City Brewing. Cheers! Continue reading

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