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Naja’s Place 7th Annual IPA Festival Begins

These photos are from opening day of the week-long 7th Annual IPA Festival which is being held at Naja’s Place in Redondo Beach. They are holding it a little earlier this year, which may be because they decided to coincide it with American Craft Beer Week; I will try to find out. It is safe to say that this event has become very popular and brought in people from at least as far as San Diego. Naja’s opened at 2:00 PM and by 4:00 I heard people asking, “Don’t these people have jobs?” The selection of IPAs ran the gamut from sessions to barrel-aged and there were plenty for a hophead like me to try that I only heard of; and some that I had not. It was a nice opening to what promises to be a week of great, hard to find IPAs.

The 7th Annual IPA Festival runs through Tuesday, May 19th. Today featured local IPAs from places like Strand Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, Smog City, Monkish, King Harbor, Phantom Carriage, Three Weavers and about 60 other taps from all over. Tomorrow, Thursday, will be their Ballast Point day featuring five different types of Sculpin; Saturday will be their Pizza Port day, always a crowd favorite, featuring at least 13 of their brews. They open at 2:00 PM on weekdays and noon on weekends.

If you like IPAs, and who doesn’t, be sure to head over to Naja’s Place between now and May 19th; you will be glad you did. Naja’s Place is located at 154 International Boardwalk in Redondo Beach. Cheers. Continue reading

2nd Annual Bite at the Beach May 16: Promo Code

beerfest

Come join your friends at Bite at the Beach, May 16

On Saturday May 16, the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce will host their 2nd Annual Bite at the Beach at the MBS Media Campus in Manhattan Beach. Bite at the Beach is a fundraiser benefiting the StubHub Center Foundation and the LA Galaxy Foundation. This event is a little different than most beer festivals you may have attended in that it is a food and craft beer pairing event; with 24 craft breweries being paired with dishes from 24 local eateries. I did not attend last year’s event but heard nothing but good things about Bite at the Beach, so when I heard it was coming around again, just in time for American Craft Beer Week, I knew I wanted to become involved.

The breweries scheduled to appear include ABK Beer (they have been brewing for over 700 years), Absolution, The Brewery at Abigaile, Aftershock Brewing, El Segundo Brewing Company, Firestone Walker, Strand Brewing, San Pedro Brewing, Port Town, King Harbor and many more. The foods will come from such places as Simmzy’s, Tin Roof Bistro, Little Sister, Sushi Akatora, Manhattan Beach Creamery, Cake Bakeshop and Paul Martin’s American Grill. Music will be provided by Vox DJs and The Lucky Ones. As you can tell, there is definitely going to be a wide variety of foods to go along with the beer options; it sounds like a very fun event. You can see a list all of the breweries, restaurants and sponsors on the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce website. Continue reading

American Craft Beer Week, Day 3: Visits to the new guys

Wednesday was day three of the 9th Annual American Craft Beer Week and in keeping with my theme of visiting our local production breweries, brewpubs and gastropubs I decided that I would visit the two new tasting rooms that were not even in their construction phase last year at this time. Our first stop was at Absolution Brewing Company in Torrance.

Absolution Brewing opened their doors unofficially on March 1 with the official ribbon cutting taking place on April 25. Unlike most of the production breweries around here, Absolution brews in a more European style which really translates to lower carbonation. Some people that are only accustomed to “west coast” styles of craft beer like to suggest that the beer may be flat. If they ventured out of their comfort zone they would realize this is not the case at all. I have to think that Absolution Brewing has become very welcome as they are the one tasting room I visit that seems to constantly have a large number of customers. In the short time I was there they must have sold five kegs to go! I know some people complain that Absolution ran out of too many from their selection of 10 brews on the unofficial open but they do not realize that this was due primarily to Daily Breeze writer Nick Green being unable to stick to the facts and writing an article that appeared on the front page of the Breeze announcing that Absolution was opening two hours earlier than what it should have been. This resulted in a long line of people at the Absolution doors two and a half hours early. Naturally, they opened the doors and many brews were tapped out within minutes of when the actual opening time was supposed to be. I don’t know that the Absolution team realized just how popular their beers were going to be.

For American Craft Beer Week Absolution will begin phase two of their MUG Club, R U Feelin’ Wicked division. I joined the initial Founders division of the MUG Club and I have spoken with several other MUG Club members and I have yet to meet anyone that regretted their decision. The merchandise received, including t-shirts and a custom growler, combined with discounts and special events makes this a steal. You should stop by and sign up before they all sell out as there is a limit of 125 memberships. Absolution Brewing Company is located at 2878 Columbia Street in Torrance. Continue reading

American Craft Beer Week 2014, Day 2: It was an IPA kind of day

Tuesday was day two of the 9th Annual American Craft Beer Week and I really wanted an IPA. For those not in the know, we have been enduring a pretty bad heat wave and a couple cold beers were just what the doctor ordered. An IPA and some air conditioning would be even better. I decided to start off by heading to Long Beach for a visit to the Great American Beer Festival’s 2013 Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing.

While Long Beach sounds like it would be cool, it was actually 105 degrees which was 10 more than home so the beer and air conditioning were quite welcome. When it comes to IPA’s, most locals would have to admit that it is pretty tough to beat the superb options provided by award winning head brewer Julian Shrago. Like I usually do, I opted for a flight consisting of three IPAs, Laurel, Pole Position and The Falcon which are all three fine examples of the West Coast IPA style. I finished the flight off with their Onyx Imperial Stout. In addition to their own fine brews and good food, Beachwood has a pretty amazing guest tap list. This just shows the confidence they have in their own beers. I decided to try the San Clemente IPA (Artifex Collaboration) from Pizza Port San Clemente and it was great. While Beachwood is not having any planned American Craft Beer Week events (because every week is American Craft Beer Week there) they were have a special bottle release for their Jean-Quad Van Damme Bourbon Barrel Aged Belgian-Style Dark Ale that was to be held Tuesday evening. They only bottled 100 so there was a limit of one bottle per customer. While 100 bottles would not usually last very long, Beachwood only announced it on the Instagram account and I mentioned it last night on the Craft Beer Guy Facebook page so there was limited exposure. I just called and there are still some bottles left so head over and grab one; or bring a friend and grab two. Be sure to tell them Craft Beer Guy sent you. Continue reading

American Craft Beer Week 2014, Day1: Good, Better, Worst

Monday May 12 was day one of the 9th Annual American Craft Beer Week, and it is the third consecutive year that I have covered the event. In 2012 I participated by trying to find as many American craft beer locations as possible in the South Bay. In 2013 I set out to visit as many Great American Beer Festival gold medal award winning breweries as possible. Since there has been such an explosion of growth in the craft beer sector around here, I decided that this year will be devoted to the local craft breweries, brewpubs and gastropubs.

I started off by visiting San Pedro Brewing Company (SPBC), a brewpub that has been around for close to 15 years. They have won more than 40 medals at local county fairs, commercial beer competitions and international beer festivals. They have not entered competitions such as the Great American Beer Festival because they have a small brewing system and do not currently have the capacity to brew enough beers to handle the increased demand winning a competition like that would bring. That may soon change though as they are in the process of dealing with the paperwork to open a new location around the corner which will be called Port Town Brewing. SPBC Head Brewer Jason Welke will likely do the brewing for SPBC and Port Town with the SPBC system being used for experimental batches. The hope is to have Port Town Brewing open by next American Craft Beer Week. For those that like bourbon barrel aged brews, Wednesday evening at 6:30 SPBC will have their 2nd Bourbon Barrel Aged Beer Night featuring their Blitzen Belgian Winter Ale and Sunken City Imperial Stout. I went to their first barrel aged event in February and they had some delicious brews. If you are looking for something to do, you really cannot miss by attending this event. San Pedro Brewing Company is located at 331 W. 6th Street in San Pedro and is open seven days a week. Continue reading

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