As the year draws to a close, it is time to think back on what 2017 has brought to the craft beer world; more specifically what has happened in the Craft Beer Guy world. As 2016 came to a pretty crappy end for me, I did not do one last year; for that reason, I will begin with the end of 2016 as it segued into 2017.
My coverage of 2016 ended pretty much the way 2017 started, with the opening of Smog City Brewing Company’s satellite tasting room, Smog City – SteelCraft in the Bixby Knolls area of Long Beach. They opened the location at the end of December; by the middle of January they had applied for, and were granted the ability to sell growlers and bottles to go.
Later in January the inaugural L.A. Beer and Food Festival was presented by the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild. The sold-out event featured close to 50 member breweries of the LA Brewers Guild as well as 15 local food vendors. This year the L.A. Beer and Food Festival will be held Saturday, January 27. Buy your tickets now, before it sells out.
These photos were taken Thursday at the 3rd Annual South Bay Tap Takeover, which was held at Flights, in Hawthorne. The event featured 18 of the South Bay’s best production breweries and brewpubs, filling up 39 tap handles.
Although I did not arrive until a little after 4:00 PM, my Facebook feed indicated that people began streaming in pretty much as soon as the doors opened. By 6:00 we had the place packed and it remained that way until close to 10:00; after that, people kept arriving to sample some outstanding brews.
I had the opportunity to speak with many of the attendees and discovered that this was the first time visiting Flights; it seems safe to say that they will all return. Continue reading
It was two years ago that I made my first visit to Flights Beer Bar and met the owner Jerry “Jammer” Jamgotchian. Within days of our meeting, Jerry expressed interest in having a Craft Beer Guy event at his recently opened 40 tap gastropub. At the time, the South Bay had 10 production breweries and I requested that all 40 taps be dedicated to these 10 breweries for the 1st Annual South Bay Tap Takeover. Jerry not only agreed to this, but also invested in a new cold box so Flights could store the additional beers that were brought in for the event. To say the event was a rousing success would be an understatement. Continue reading
These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at the Beer Camp on Tour craft beer festival held at Queen Mary Events Park and presented by the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.
This was my first time attending Beer Camp, and while I had heard some negativity about last year’s event, it was pretty evident to me that they had learned from whatever mistakes those were as this was truly an amazing event to close out LA Beer Week. While I did not make the effort to count all the breweries in attendance, there were reportedly at least 100 breweries, pouring well over 200 beers. In addition to the beer, there were a dozen food trucks, live music from The Expanders and Orgone, games, plenty of shade and much cooler temperatures than the 100+ degree weather we experienced at the kickoff festival last week. Continue reading
These photos were taken Sunday at the 4th Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival which was held at Ernie Howlett Park in Rolling Hills Estates. This annual fundraising event was presented by the Rotary Clubs of El Segundo, Palos Verdes Peninsula and South Bay Sunrise; the event featured about 30 craft breweries as well as 15 wineries and food from close to 30 local restaurants. All proceeds fund the community outreach programs of Rotary Clubs within the South Bay and Harbor cities of Los Angeles.
The beer portion of the event was curated with the assistance of Beer Paper L.A.’s own Daniel Drennon, which has caused some to know the festival as the Daniel Drennon (DFD) Invitational. The list of breweries pouring was pretty much an A to Z list of craft with everything from Absolution Brewing and Arts District Brewing to Yorkshire Square Brewery and Zymurgy Brew Works. Of course, the selections were not limited to Los Angeles area breweries as we were joined by Avery Brewing and Ska Brewing from Colorado, as well as such California powerhouses as Sierra Nevada and Firestone Walker. Continue reading
These photos were taken Saturday, March 18, at the Absolution Brewing Company tasting room in Torrance, where they celebrated their three year anniversary.
Say what you will about Absolution Brewing, these guys know how to throw a party, and Saturday’s extravaganza was no exception. In addition to the 20+ beers that were on tap at the main bar of the tasting room, they had four special firkins and about 10 other special brews which were available in the front office. For those with an appetite for food, Bartz Barbecue was there with their brisket and pork sandwich options.
As this was a daylong event, I split my day up with two visits. Continue reading
These photos were taken at the inaugural L.A. Beer and Food Festival, which was presented by the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild Saturday afternoon at the Mack Sennett Studios in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles.
I was going to say that for an inaugural event, the turnout was outstanding; but the reality is that they sold out 650 tickets, which is pretty outstanding whether it was the inaugural or 10th annual event. The reality is that the venue probably could not hold much more and remain comfortable.
With close to 50 breweries, all members of the L.A. County Brewers Guild, and at least 15 food vendors there was something for everyone. Although the photos may give the impression that the place was packed, there were virtually no lines for beer. Some of the food vendors may have had a little trouble keeping up with demand, but I heard no complaints because everything (that I tried anyway) was delicious. Continue reading
On Sunday evening, Absolution Brewing Company held their annual Christmas party for members of their MUG Club loyalty program. Attendees were provided with a wide variety of snacks and were treated to a pint of Absolution’s cellar-aged Anniversary Ale. Of course, there were specials on any of the 19 other brews they pour; I spent my time enjoying their new 405 IPA. Finally, Absolution has brewed a true west coast style IPA. For entertainment, we enjoyed the rock and blues sounds of Nasty Bad Habit; it really was a good time.
You know, the ABC MUG Club makes for a pretty nice Christmas gift; in fact, I know one couple that was at the party last night because they had just received a membership as an early Christmas present. Membership includes a nice growler, a hat, shirt, discounts on beer and invitations to these private events. You might want to give yourself one. Cheers! Continue reading
Recently there have been a couple articles circulating around social media claiming to list all of the South Bay breweries; one that went around yesterday missed four or five of them, depending on whether or not a tasting room was required. As the Craft Beer Guy I have been fortunate to have this craft beer boom explode all around my home; I also feel obligated to provide an accurate list of all the breweries currently brewing in the South Bay as well as the next two scheduled to open.
In order to not show favoritism, and to give credit where credit is due, I will list all the South Bay breweries by the date they opened. As I have visited each brewery, I will provide a link to each so you can look at my articles to determine if you want to visit them. The photos are in order as well. Continue reading
These photos were taken at the 5th Annual Kraft Bierfest that was held Saturday afternoon at Alpine Village in Torrance. Having attended every Kraft Bierfest since inception I can say that Saturday’s event reminded me of their first event in 2012 in that there was lots of quality beer but not very many people there to drink it. Since Alpine Village buys the beer they pour, rather than relying on donations, this means it is probably going to be a good time to visit there as their tap list probably has a lot of leftovers available.
In 2012 they had about 100 beers and maybe 200 attendees (probably a generous headcount); on Saturday they had about 50 beers, if there were 100 people that showed up I would be surprised. There was very little in the way of advertising, which was the obvious reason for so few showing up. But, as was pointed out to me by a few people, what was lacking in attendance was definitely made up for with the quality of beers available. In fact, this event was one of the “biggest” I have attended as far as ABV is concerned, in quite a while. Continue reading