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.
As I left Yuma I thought about the epic craft beer tour I was completing and decided that if I was going to make this series of articles truly coast-to-coast-to-coast, I was going to have to end it by visiting a California craft brewery that won a medal at the most recent GABF.
With at least 15 breweries in Southern California to choose from, my main obstacles were going to be the same as I had encountered over the past several weeks; day of the week, and time of day. As I looked over the list of GABF winners I realized that if I wanted to avoid rush hour traffic I was going to have to aim for breweries close to me. Fortunately, I live where I do and two of my favorite local breweries had won medals and they are both brewpubs, meaning they would be open by noon; Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, and HopSaint Brewing Company in Torrance. Continue reading
These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at the inaugural Craft Beer LB Fest, which was held at the Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site. The event featured craft beer from 12 Long Beach breweries, as well as food from Long Beach restaurants The Red Leprechaun and Roe Seafood. The event also featured live music from several bands and a Kid Zone, making the event truly family friendly.
It seems that this is a great time to live in Long Beach if you enjoy craft beer. As someone pointed out, it is almost as if Long Beach has been watching what is happening in Torrance and has decided to get on board the craft beer revolution.
Featured breweries included old-timer Belmont Brewing Company, who has been open since 1990, as well as breweries that just opened within the last week or so, like Long Beach Beer Lab and Ten Mile Brewing. There were also a couple that have not opened yet, but hope to be open soon, such as Liberation Brewing and Hog Canyon Brewing. Other breweries in attendance included Beachwood Brewing, Beachwood Blendery, Ballast Point, Congregation Ale House, Smog City, Rock Bottom, Dutch’s Brewhouse, and Timeless Pints. Continue reading
These photos were taken Monday afternoon at the Beachwood Blendery in Long Beach, where employees, friends, and family gathered for the drawing of the raffle tickets sold for Beachwood’s 6th Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle.
To enter the raffle, you could buy a $5.00 raffle ticket at the Seal Beach or Long Beach restaurant locations. Winners will receive a full pint of the 2017 Pliny the Younger; those that were not picked can feel better knowing that their donation is going to a good cause, the Melanoma Research Foundation. Beachwood founder and co-owner Gabe Gordon stated that this year’s raffle brought the total raised over the past six years to almost $75,000. Continue reading
All day Saturday, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, the world’s best large brewpub, celebrated five years with hundreds of their fans by providing at least 30 of their beers on tap, four casks, and hourly releases of such favorites as 8 Buffalo, Sadie and Jean-Quad Van Damme along with a special food menu, wandering magicians, balloon artists, and other side show acts turning their Long Beach location into a carnival fit for any adult that enjoys craft beer.
We arrived around 1:00 PM and while there was no line to get in, there was a two hour wait to get a table. We did like many and just opted to stand in the bar until a community table opened up. Getting a beer or ordering food at the bar was quick and easy; and it appeared to me that people were getting seated quicker than two hours. Continue reading
Sometimes it comes down to timing; Wednesday evening is a perfect example of that. Tanya did not feel like cooking and I had just been paid, so she suggested we go to dinner. On the short list of brewpubs and gastropubs was one that we have not visited as much as we would like was Beachwood Brewing & BBQ in Long Beach. Truth be told, because it was the beginning of the rush hour traffic we were hesitant to head there when there were so many other great options that were a lot closer; but we both had a hankering for some barbecue and whatever was new at Beachwood, so we took our chances and headed to Long Beach.
One of the first things I noticed when we arrived at Beachwood was a sign that said something about a shuttle going between the Long Beach and Seal Beach locations. When I asked the hostess about it, I was informed that I got there just in time for Beachwood’s celebration with Noble Ale Works of their victories at the recent World Beer Cup where, among other awards, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing won World Beer Cup Champion Brewery and Brewmaster in the large brewpubs category and Noble Ale Works won World Beer Cup Champion Brewery and Brewmaster in the Small Brewing Company category. Beachwood was providing shuttle rides between their two locations in order that you might be able to try all the beers that Noble Ale Works brought with them. Continue reading
LA Beer Week 2016 (LABW8) started off in prime form Saturday afternoon by showcasing more than 45 of the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild breweries with almost as many special guest breweries, pouring more than 200 different beers; a few of the breweries represented used the LA Beer Week Kickoff Festival to release new beers.
The sold out kickoff festival was held at the Los Angeles Center Studios and in addition to the massive amount of beer there was live music, plenty of food trucks, and lots of water. Luckily, the heat wave that struck Los Angeles was kind enough to wait until the next day; that is not to say it wasn’t hot, but it probably wasn’t over 90. Luckily, the Los Angeles Center Studios is a pretty massive location so there was plenty of shade and somewhere to go sit if desired. Continue reading
When we left Paso Robles on Sunday morning I was not really sure where we would stop throughout the day; I had planned on visiting a brewery that shall remain nameless, but due to their only having two brews available it was decided to skip them. Two beers after three years just did not do it for me. The backup destination was an easy choice since I had been thinking it since I got my tickets on Wednesday, BarrelHouse Brewing Company.
Tanya and I first visited BarrelHouse Brewing in February 2014 when they were just announcing their first anniversary was coming up. We were both impressed with what we tried; so much so that our beer stash from that trip consisted of several bottles from BarrelHouse.
A couple weeks ago I was covering the South Bay Beer & Wine Festival and ran into Mathew Jacobs, lead brewer for BarrelHouse, and Billy Thompson, their sales manager. I told them how much I enjoyed everything about our experience two plus years ago when Jacobs expressed that I really should return to see how much they have progressed. Judging by the Curly Wolf they were pouring at the event, I totally agreed. Continue reading
These photos are from the 5th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival (FWIBF16) which was held this past Saturday afternoon at the Paso Robles Event Center and featured about 50 breweries and 200 craft beers from around the world as well as foods from 33 local area restaurants.
The Firestone Invitational is one of, if not the best run craft beer events I have ever attended. I remember attending last year’s Invitational and being quite surprised to learn that it was only the fourth one as it was run so smoothly; from ensuring ticketed attendees were in the gates and ready to go by the time the event officially started, to making sure water was readily available no matter where you happened to be in the venue. If I did not know better, I would have guessed that they had to be doing it for 10 years instead of four.
Since this was my second opportunity to attend the Firestone Walker Invitational, I used my experience from last year to make this year’s event even more fun. Continue reading
These photos were taken Monday afternoon at the Beachwood Blendery in Long Beach, where employees and friends gathered for the drawing of the raffle tickets for Beachwood’s 5th Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle.
To enter the raffle, you could buy a $5.00 raffle ticket at the Seal Beach or Long Beach location; winners get a pint of Pliny, those that did not win a pint of Pliny at least knew that their donation was going to a good cause, the Melanoma Research Foundation. This year they raised more than $10,000, bringing the total raised over the past five years to over $50,000!
The event was broadcast live on the Four Brewers podcast; however, if you missed it, you can find the winning numbers at http://beachwoodbbq.com/pdf/pliny_the_younger.pdf. This year they drew 145 winners, up from 140 last year. If you are a winner, pay attention to where you must pick up your pint. 105 must get them in Seal Beach and the other 40 can get them at the Long Beach Location. You must bring your raffle ticket with you and redeem it at the location designated. Continue reading