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Photos from the 3rd Annual Local Craft Beer Festival at Rock & Brews

Sunday afternoon, Rock & Brews El Segundo held their 3rd Annual Local Craft Beer Festival which featured many of LA’s finest craft brewers as well as carnival games for the kids and some of the adults. This was my first time attending the Local Craft Beer Festival and I had a blast. While I am readily familiar with many of the beers brewed by our local brewers, a couple of my favorite microbreweries brought out new brews that I had not tried yet and at least one brewer, El Segundo Brewing Company, used the event to introduce their latest addition to their ever expanding list of craft beers.

It was a beautiful sunny day by the beach with families, dogs and craft beer aficionados enjoying each other’s company with lots of delicious food available and since it was held at Rock & Brews, the wafting sounds of rock and roll in the background.

The breweries in attendance included El Segundo Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, Eagle Rock Brewing, Smog City Brewing, Monkish Brewing Company, The Bruery, The Brewery at Abigaile, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Golden Road Brewing, Port Town Brewing, Ohana Brewing Company, Bootlegger’s Brewery, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Cosmic Ales, Tap It Brewing, Cismontane Brewing Company, Nobel Ale Works, Angel City Brewery and Venice Beach Beer Company.

Rock & Brews is located at 145 Main Street in El Segundo, CA. Continue reading

Photos from the 2nd Annual Drink Good Beerfest at The Factory

Saturday afternoon, September 14, The Factory Gastrobar held their 2nd Annual Drink Good Beerfest in Long Beach, CA. Sponsored by The Factory Gastrobar, Cismontane Brewing Company and Beer Paper LA, this beer festival featured close to 30 different craft and microbreweries from around the country as well as live music provided by Doug Means of the Doug Means Project and Project LBC. There was food and games to go along with the beer and sunshine and it appeared that everyone was having a very good time. Unlike some craft beer festivals, the brewers brought out some of their big guns in addition to their flagship beers. Since it was so hot out and I did have to drive, I forced myself to stick with the lower ABV brews, but there was something for everyone with everything from 3.5 session IPA’s to 11.0’s and above barleywines and barrel aged brews available.

The breweries that I saw in attendance included Bootlegger’s Brewery, Cismontane Brewing Company, Congregation Ale House Chapters Brewing, Crazy Mountain Brewing, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Figueroa Mountain, Firestone Walker, Eagle Rock Brewing, Epic Brewing, El Segundo Brewing Company, Golden Road Brewing, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Iron Fist Brewing, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Kinetic Brewing Company, Los Angeles Ale Works, Monkish Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing, Ohana Brewing Company, Ritual Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, Stone Brewing Company, Smog City Brewing, Tenaya Creek Brewery, The Bruery and Triple Voodoo Brewing.

In addition to the flowing beer and musical entertainment, they announced the winners of the Drink Good Beer Mash-Up Homebrew Competition of which I was a judge for the Best of Show. The winners were:

Peter & Kimberly Mynar – Tread Lightly (IPA) – First Place
Jon Silvertooth – Lampo Bianco (Saison) – Second Place
Ray Grace – Flop Guts (American Ale) – Third Place
Peter and Kimberly Mynar – Russian Spy (Imperial Stout) -Supporting Category

It was a very good time and I look forward to next year’s Drink Good Beerfest. The Factory Gastrobar is located at 4020 Atlantic Avenue in Long Beach, CA. Continue reading

17th Annual Pacific Brewers Cup at Smog City Brewing

These photos are from the 17th Annual Pacific Brewers Cup Homebrew Competition which was held Saturday, September 14, 2013 at Smog City Brewing Company in Torrance, CA. The Pacific Brewers Cup competition is hosted on a rotating basis by three local home brewer clubs; Strand Brewers Club from Torrance, Long Beach Homebrewers and Pacific Gravity from Culver City. This year the Long Beach Homebrewers were the hosts. The Pacific Brewers Cup 2013 was an AHA sanctioned homebrew competition and used the beer style guidelines published by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP).

While I have sampled a few beers in my time and acted as a judge recently for a small homebrew competition I have never been to a competition of this magnitude before. I was told that there were over 450 entries so before I got there I wondered how the heck you get enough people to judge that many beers in one sitting. To be honest, as of this writing all indications are that the judging is still going on. As you can see by the photos they broke the beers down by category so the judges only had to rate one style of beer at a time. Of course, I was only there within the first two hours of the event so there is a pretty good likelihood that after one style was finished they had to move on to another. The Best of Show winner gets an opportunity to brew his winning beer at Ohana Brewing Company, so there was a lot of incentive to put out an award winning beer.

I did not get an opportunity to try any of the submissions, but I did not see a lot of beer being poured into the bucket so it looked like judges were not having too much trouble enjoying their Saturday morning. I know it gave me some incentive to look into learning to be a BJCP certified judge. Once I learn who the winner was, I will come update this article. Good luck to all; cheers!

The winners of the Pacific Brewers Cup have been announced. Please visit http://pacificbrewerscup.com/?q=node%2F16 for details.
Continue reading

Business & Beer returns to Smog City Brewing

These photos are from the Business & Beer networking event that was held last night, September 12, at Smog City Brewing Company, a Torrance microbrewery. We had an excellent turnout of more than 20 people with a majority of them being first time attendees. In addition to the wide variety of delicious brews and multiple networking opportunities, Laurie Porter, co-owner of Smog City gave a little talk on the history of Smog City covering everything from how they chose their name and logo to how her husband and head brewer Porter comes up with the interesting tweaks to his base beers to come up with something a little different. After that, Laurie turned us over to assistant brewer Chris Walowski who took us on a tour of the operation. It was quite informative and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.

If you live or work in the South Bay area and networking is part of your job description or it is a vital part of your business’ success, you might want to take a look at Business & Beer. Business & Beer is an informal networking group that meets on the second Thursday of every month at a different microbrewery or brewpub in the local South Bay area. Our geographical boundaries are limited to between El Segundo and Torrance. We have no dues, no rules or mandatory meetings. Since it is held after normal work hours, you are more than welcome to bring your significant other or a friend. No special invitations are required; if you are free, stop on by. You can find the upcoming schedule and sign up for the mailing list on the Business & Beer website at BusinessNBeer.com. Cheers! Continue reading

Rock & Brews 3rd Annual Local Craft Beer Festival – Sunday September 15

Rock & Brews logo

Rock & Brews’ 3rd Annual Local Craft Beer Festival, September 15

This Sunday, September 15, 2013, Rock & Brews El Segundo will hold their 3rd Annual Local Craft Beer Festival from noon to 5:00 PM. Unlike most beer festivals I have attended, this one is family friendly and includes carnival type games such as a dunk tank and high-striker and many others. Win a game and win a prize. In addition to the beer and games, price of admission includes food tickets for tri-tip, pulled pork or barbecue chicken tacos.

Many of the best craft brewers Los Angeles has to offer will be pouring at this event, including El Segundo Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, Eagle Rock Brewing, Smog City Brewing, Monkish Brewing Company, The Bruery, The Brewery at Abigaile, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Golden Road Brewing, Port Town Brewing, Ohana Brewing Company, Bootlegger’s Brewery, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Cosmic Ales, Tap It Brewing, Cismontane Brewing Company, Nobel Ale Works and Venice Beach Brewing. This should be a good time, and you do not even need to get a sitter for the kids.

Great beer, food, music and games all rolled into one great event. The price is $50.00 for adult [drinking] admission and $10 for children and designated drivers. Adult tickets include admission, commemorative glassware, 10-4 oz pours, and unlimited games. Non-drinking admission ticket includes sodas, cotton candy, popcorn, and unlimited games. Both passes come with three food tickets; additional food and drink can be purchased if you need more. You can purchase tickets online at http://www.rockandbrews.eventbrite.com/. I hope to see you there. Cheers!

Drink Good Beer Mash-Up Homebrew Competition – Best of Show

This evening I headed out to The Factory Gastrobar to participate as a judge in the Drink Good Beer Mash-up Homebrew Competition to help decide the Best of Show from the six finalists as determined by the AHA/BJCP judging that was held a couple weeks ago. There were 17 entries, of which six made it as finalists and there were two additional brews added in the Supporting Category. The winner of the competition gets to brew their beer with Evan Weinberg of Cismontane Brewing Company; the winners will be announced Saturday at the 2nd Annual Drink Good Beerfest.

The Best of Show finalists were:

Jon Silvertooth – Lampo Bianco (Saison)
Gabriel Gonzales – Chocolante (Chocolate Pepper Porter)
Peter & Kimberly Mynar – Tread Lightly (IPA)
Ray Grace – Flop Guts (American Ale)
Sarah and Mathew Luker -Citra (IPA)
Peter & Kimberly Mynar – Black Eye (Black IPA)

The runner ups (Supporting Category) were:

Josh Keliner and Rick White – Dr Strangelove (Belgian Strong)
Peter and Kimberly Mynar – Russian Spy (Imperial Stout)

Congratulations to the finalists and thank you for the opportunity to try your homebrews. I am looking forward to meeting you at the 2nd Annual Drink Good Beerfest. Continue reading

Galaxy Defender: A great beer for a good cause

Since this is one of my newer websites, I understand that not everyone knows me as well as those that have been following me for a while You may have noticed that I am not in the habit of discussing or rating individual beers, primarily because I feel that is far too difficult a task to be done objectively and I would not want to have a negative influence on a particular brew simply because it was not my thing. That being said, I will make an exception to this self imposed rule when I find out the beer is part of a fundraising campaign and even more so if that fundraising effort has anything to do with kids. I am all about helping kids and have been for more than 30 years.

Anyway, Friday evening I stopped by Monkish Brewing in Torrance and as is my habit, I requested the brew I had never tried before which was Galaxy Defender on Friday. I am a hop head; and for that I make no excuses; I wear the tag proudly. The fact is that I have talked to Henry Nguyen, the owner/brewer of Monkish Brewing Company about the chances of his ever brewing an IPA and the response had always been the same: he is just not interested in brewing an IPA. I just learned to accept that as fact. When I first smelled the Galaxy Defender I could not believe what I was smelling; one taste had me hooked. This is a true Belgian Pale Ale, it borders on being a Belgian IPA; but like I said, I am not about reviewing individual beers. Suffice it to say, it was good enough that I drove home and picked up a growler to be enjoyed later.

Saturday afternoon I was out and about at the local South Bay microbreweries and during my travels I discovered that there was more to the Galaxy Defender than the great taste; it turns out that $1.00 from every pint is donated to the Los Angeles Galaxy South Bay soccer club, of which one of Nguyen’s kids is a member. They are trying to raise money for scholarships and Monkish Brewing is doing their part by donating money from every sale of the Galaxy Defender Belgian Pale Ale. I knew there were Galaxy Hops, so I presumed that the “galaxy” in Galaxy Defender referred to the galaxy hops; it turns out that the Nguyen’s son is a defender on the LA Galaxy’s soccer club, hence the name, Galaxy Defender. Continue reading

The 3rd Annual Taste of Brews, Long Beach, CA

The 3rd Annual Taste of Brews summer beer festival was held Saturday afternoon, August 24, at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach, CA. Featuring more than 40 craft and micro breweries from around the country along with a couple wineries, several gourmet food trucks and live music by Journey tribute band “The Journey Experience” and 80s cover band “The Pac Men” it was a beautiful day to hang out in the sun with the cool ocean breeze. The Taste of Brews is a fundraiser for the Long Beach Marine Institute and the AIDS Food Store of Long Beach.

Among the many breweries participating were Firestone Walker, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Sierra Nevada, Packinghouse Brewing, Woodchuck Hard Cider, Legends, Grand Teton Brewing, Belmont Brewing, Strand Brewing, Black Market Brewing, Big Sky Brewing, Ninkasi, Mendocino Brewing, Brewbakers and the Brewluminati Homebrew Club. The food trucks included Urban Pie, Dogzilla and Viking Truck.

While there were several hundred attendees, the number of breweries pouring made it so that none of the lines were too long and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves too much to worry about a little wait in between pours.

Lighthouse Park is located at 200 Aquarium Way in Long Beach. I would like to thank Firestone Walker for the pass to a very entertaining event. Continue reading

El Segundo Brewing Company okays blank growlers

blank growler

Blank growlers now accepted at El Segundo Brewing Company

The other day I was in El Segundo Brewing Company and as I was leaving I happened to notice something I have not seen in a California microbrewery tasting room, other than as a display; that was a stainless steel blank growler. Naturally, I had to do some investigating, especially since I had recently written an article with some facts and my opinion about the state of growlers in the State of California. Besides, I had a lot of people asking me about the growler pictured in the photo above.

Today I am happy to inform you that El Segundo Brewing Company (ESBC) is now accepting blank growlers. My unnamed, but reliable sources have informed me that El Segundo Brewing is indeed accepting blank growlers; but they do not currently have the ability to obscure the labels of existing growlers. There are plans to provide a wrap of some sort, but I am not at liberty to say much about it, plus I know very little about it. It is my understanding that there are qualifications for the growlers, but they have not been posted yet. Again, this is breaking news, so if you want to bring in a blank growler to El Segundo Brewing, make sure it is a quality vessel that is clean. You might even call them first to see if your growler qualifies.

Congratulations to El Segundo Brewing Company and their patrons. ESBC is located at 140 Main Street in El Segundo. They are open Wednesday through Sunday, normal tasting room hours. Cheers!

18th Street Arts Center’s 4th Annual Beer Art & Music Festival October 5

BAM Fest 2012

Good times guaranteed at BAM Fest

On October 5, 2013, the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica will hold their 4th Annual Beer, Art & Music Festival, fondly known as BAM Fest 2013 and it is destined to be better than ever. I went to BAM Fest last year and every person I spoke to that had attended one or both of the prior events told me it was the best ever. Well, last year they had about 30 brewers with taps; this year they have 42 scheduled so far. The reason I say “so far” is that a couple weeks ago I wrote an article about this event and they were talking 30+. At this rate, they could have more than 50; I think space may be their only enemy; everyone wants to pour at BAM Fest.

In addition to the beer there will be three bands, wine and homemade soda tastings and lots of gourmet food trucks. BAM Fest is a fundraiser for the 18th Street Art Center, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, so while you are sipping beer and listening to tunes waft through the air you can visit the studios of most of the artists as they leave them open as a way of showing what you are supporting. Culture and beer with all proceeds going to the 18th Street Arts Center, and you can probably bet the farm that it will be a nice day in Santa Monica. Tickets can be purchased online for $45 each; they will be $50 at the door if there are still tickets available on October 5.

BAM Fest 2012

Come join the fun at BAM Fest 2013

The current list of participating craft breweries is: Continue reading

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