As 2014 winds down I faced the question posed to me by a few people; “Will Craft Beer Guy be writing an article about the year?” Initially I thought I would do a Top 10 list and just discuss the Top 10 breweries and brewpubs in the South Bay. I figured it would be easy because there were only 10 craft brewers here, but in the last month so many new locations have opened that we now have 12 if you count Phantom Carriage that has not “officially” opened yet. The South Bay now has the following breweries and brewpubs in its confines; in order of seniority (I think) they are: Red Car Brewery, San Pedro Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, El Segundo Brewing Company, Monkish Brewing Company, The Brewery at Abigaile, Smog City Brewing, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Absolution Brewing Company, King Harbor Brewing Company, Three Weavers Brewing and Phantom Carriage. 2015 should bring us a few more including Hop Saint, Brouwerij West and Port Town Brewing; and those are just the ones that come to mind. There will also be some moves and expansions among those listed above. With that I now present you The 2014 Craft Beer Guy Year in Review.
As I look through my articles from January I see that it was a pretty mellow month or the calm before the storm if you prefer. I would have to say my personal highlight of the month was a Sunday afternoon that we spent visiting several of the Orange County craft brewery tasting rooms and brewpubs. The day included stops at Bootlegger’s Brewery, Taps Fish House & Brewery, Noble Ale Works, Tustin Brewing Company and Brewbakers. Each of these stops were first time visits and I would not have a problem recommending any of them. The thing is, in the past year Orange County has opened so many new tasting rooms and brewpubs that it is getting tough to try and keep up with them all; but I will try. Continue reading
It must have been six or seven months ago when Alpine Village General Manager Otto Radtke first mentioned the idea of a European beer festival to me. While I was not entirely sure how well it would be received, there was one thing I was quite confident of, the Alpine Village in Torrance would be the one logical location in the South Bay, possibly in Southern California that could pull this off. Saturday afternoon they proved me right by holding their first ever Euro Bierfest 2014, featuring more than 50 beers from France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Iceland, England, Czech Republic and Sweden to probably 300 attendees.
I do not know if I have ever attended a beer festival that had so few IPAs; there were three only Belgian IPAs, none of which displayed the hoppiness to which Southern Californians have become accustomed but the ciders, sours, Pilsners, stouts, porters, guezes, tripels, quads and various bocks more than made up for it. For people with Untappd accounts, this was an excellent opportunity to rack up some of those more difficult to achieve badges like Belgian Holiday, Johnny Appleseed and Crisp as Day. Even more important was the opportunity to try beers that are rarely seen in any of the beer bars I frequent. It was really fun trying brews that I really had zero knowledge of only to discover how delicious they were.
In addition to the fine biers, there was a buffet of German and American foods available to help soak up some of the alcohol; and there was a Chicken Dance in which contestants displayed their Oktoberfest dancing skills for a chance to win some Alpine Village t-shirts. All in all, this was a blast and I personally enjoyed meeting those of you that came up to say hello. Meeting you people is part of what makes my covering of these events so enjoyable; I thank you. Continue reading
Alpine Village, located in Torrance at the 405 and 110 freeways was established in 1968 and has been the home of the biggest Oktoberfest celebration in Southern California for more than 40 years. In 2012 they held their first Alpine Bier Fest which had more than 100 beers with almost as many attendees. Believe me when I say, if you did not attend it was your loss; there were amazing brews there. Last year they had their 2nd Annual Alpine Bierfest which many of you did attend and can attest to the fact that this was another great beer event and possibly the best value of any beer festival I attended in 2013. The point is, Alpine Village has been doing beer festivals longer than anyone I can think of on this side of the Mississippi River. When Alpine Village says they are providing some of the most amazing beers from across the Atlantic for your tasting pleasure, they mean it. Belgian Sours, German Bocks, English Porters, French Ciders and more. Continue reading