These photos are from Saturday at the 4th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival (FWIBF15) which was held at the Paso Robles Event Center. The festival included craft beer of 53 breweries from all over the United States, Europe and beyond. This was my first opportunity to attend and I did not attend as any type of “official media” so my experience was probably similar to that of any other first time attendee; except I probably waited in line longer to get in. On Friday night I had heard stories of lines just to get in reaching down the street and around the block, so I walked over to the event center and was there before 9:00 AM. If you are taking notes, the event did not start until noon and there was nothing to be gained by being among the first 20 to be there. If you get there at noon you will be fine.
To be honest, I was not aware that this was only the fourth Invitational and it is definitely run like they have been doing it a lot longer. I had the opportunity to speak with individuals that had attended multiple times before and the one thing that became obvious is that Firestone Walker listened to the feedback they received after each event. For example, in the beginning, attendees had to buy food and water. As the event evolved it now has free food from 26 restaurants and multiple free water stations with enough filtered water to hydrate the 3,000 plus attendees. Now, I have to say, I am not really sure how many tickets were sold but between comments I heard, articles I read and a personal guess, I would guess between 3,000 and 4,000. The thing is, the location can hold a lot more than that and when you divide them between 80 booths there was not much in the way of lines. Naturally, there were some breweries like Three Floyds and Alchemist that had long lines all day; and when breweries like Beachwood or The Bruery had their special pours people started waiting; but most of the lines that I experienced moved rather quickly. Continue reading
These photos were taken at the 2nd Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival which was held at the South Coast Botanical Garden in Rancho Palos Verdes on Sunday afternoon. This outstanding event was hosted by Toyota and South Bay Equity Lending and sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of El Segundo, Palos Verdes Peninsula, and South Bay Sunrise. 100% of the proceeds from the event will go to support the humanitarian programs of the El Segundo Rotary Club, Palos Verdes Peninsula Rotary Club, and South Bay Rotary Club. Live music was provided by Detour.
While this was the 2nd Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival it was the first one that I attended, so I cannot compare it to last year’s event other than to say that I overheard a couple people that suggested that yesterday’s festival was bigger than their inaugural event. As a first time attendee I have to say that the stars must have been in perfect alignment as it appeared that Sunday’s event went off flawlessly.
I do not know how many people were in attendance, but when divided up between almost 30 breweries, close to 10 wineries and more than 20 restaurants lines were pretty much non-existent. There were not even lines for the restrooms. Continue reading
The 2nd Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival is hosted by Toyota and South Bay Equity Lending and sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of El Segundo, Palos Verdes Peninsula, and South Bay Sunrise. Proceeds from this event will go to support the humanitarian programs of the El Segundo Rotary Club, Palos Verdes Peninsula Rotary Club, and South Bay Rotary Club. The Rotary Club supports community programs focused on health and nutrition, high school Interact and leadership, education and literacy, vocational training, and community space restoration and renovation. They also support international projects such as worldwide eradication of polio, clean water projects, and wheelchair purchases and distribution. Continue reading
Back in December, El Segundo Brewing Company held their Crude, Cocoa and Donuts Christmas Party along with their Second Annual Ugly Sweater Contest; I happened to take third place, winning a tour and tasting for four. I knew I wanted to use the prize to help promote El Segundo Brewing Company; I just wasn’t sure how I would do it. Ideally, I would be able to bring four people there as first time visitors.
In January Beachwood BBQ & Brewing announced that they were going to hold their 4th Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle and I decided that I would add some incentive for my followers to buy a ticket. All you had to do was take a photo of your ticket(s) and then tag Craft Beer Guy on Facebook or Instagram. Two winners would be chosen and each could bring a guest. On the day that Beachwood held their raffle I utilized an online number randomizer and picked the winners to my contest. The winners were Jessica Casey of Long Beach Hopheads and Dan Parker, a homebrewer and member of the Strand Brewers Club.
These photos are of the tasting and tour that we were given last night by El Segundo Brewing Company taproom manager, Pete Crowner. As luck would have it, Jessica and her husband, while somewhat familiar with El Segundo’s beer, had never visited the tasting room before. Dan had been there once before, briefly, so I was pleased that I was able to introduce new faces to the tasting room. Continue reading
It goes without saying; this is a great time to be living in Southern California when it comes to craft beer. I cannot imagine where the beer scene would be if it had taken off in the 1980’s the way it has in recent years. Living in the Los Angeles area when I became of legal age, I really knew nothing of craft beer. As I spent a lot of time in San Francisco, Guinness was my “special occasion” brew, but that was not really easy to find around here so I found myself drinking the typical Bud and Miller Lite with the occasional Beck’s Dark thrown in for good measure.
About 10 years ago I started discovering craft beer, even though I did not know it was called craft beer; to be honest, I am not even sure they called it “craft” yet. As I ventured into places like BJ’s and Gordon Biersch I started learning names like Pale Ale, IPA, Hefeweizen, Marzen, and Pilsner. Today, there are literally thousands of craft breweries around the country and worldwide; and there are relatively new, at least to me, styles than are coming on like gang busters. A new vocabulary had to be learned with sours, wild ales, lambics and guezes. As the beer drinking public developed their thirst and palates for sours, a few local breweries have decided to try their hand at brewing various sour styles and this has resulted in a new word that is becoming more popular, blendery. Continue reading
The breweries scheduled to attend include Absolution, Alosta, Angel City, Beachwood, Bootlegger’s, Bravery, The Bruery, Eagle Rock, El Segundo, Golden Road, Kinetic, King Harbor, Ladyface, Monkish, MacLeod, Noble, Phantom, Progress, Smog City, Strand, Timeless Pints, The Dudes’ and Three Weavers. The food menu includes short-ribs, skewers, sliders, garlic knots and a lot more. If you have ever been to an Abigaile event you know the special treats that Chef Tin comes up with; if you have not, you are in for a special treat. I could tell you that the skewers will be made up of Katsu glazed salmon or Korean beef coconut or curry chicken sate; or that there will be Chilled Peanut Somen Noodle but the names, as exotic as they are, will fall short in describing the tasty foods you will experience if you show up at Brewtopia.Continue reading
This morning, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing held their drawing for the 4th Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle at their Long Beach location. To enter the contest, one merely paid $5.00 for a chance at a full pint of the 2015 Pliny the Younger. This year Beachwood raised about $11,600 from the ticket sales which equates to about $40,000 being donated over the course of four years to the beneficiary of the raffle, the Melanoma Research Foundation. The drawing was streamed live via the Four Brewers podcast and 140 winners were picked; to my surprise, I actually was one of the winners and I rarely ever win raffles.
For those that were unable to watch the Four Brewers Podcast, the winning raffle ticket numbers have been posted on the Beachwood BBQ website. Winners will also be contacted via telephone and/or email so you will want to check your email today and be sure to answer your phone, even if you do not recognize the calling number. Winners must collect their pint of Pliny between Tuesday February 24 and Thursday March 5, 2015. You must bring your raffle ticket with you and redeem it at the location designated. Unfortunately, where you bought the ticket may not be where you will have to go to redeem it (100 will go to the Seal Beach location and the other 40 will redeem their winning ticket at the Seal Beach location). If you do not claim your pint of Pliny by March 5 it will be considered donated to the staff of Beachwood and they thank you from the bottom of their collective hearts. Continue reading
For the past four years Beachwood has been having a charity raffle for chances to win one (or more) of the 130 pints they will have available between their Seal Beach and Long Beach locations. The beneficiary of 100% of the monies raised goes to the Melanoma Research Foundation done in memory of a long time Beachwood friend, Tony Carbone who passed away in 2008 from Stage 3 Melanoma.The process is simple and if you read this through to the end, there is a special offer for you. Raffle tickets are $5.00 each and there will be 130 winners. Tickets are on sale at both the Seal Beach and Long Beach locations between January 20 and February 21, 2015 at 10:00 PM. All ticket purchases are cash only. The drawing will be held Monday, February 23 and will be streamed live via the Four Brewers webcast. Winners will be directed to which location they can get their pint and they must be redeemed between February 24 and March 5, 2015; you want to drink Pliny fresh. Continue reading
About two and a half weeks ago I was at the Shelton Brother’s Festival 2014 at the Port of Los Angeles. While I was wandering around trying beers from breweries I had never heard of, my fiancee was bouncing around between a few we were familiar with that had brought bourbon barrel-aged beers (her favorite style) with them. She had a pretty nice selection available to her with Firestone’s Parabola, Beachwood’s Sadie and Faction Brewing’s Nyx-goddess of the Night; heck, The Bruery even brought out some Black Tuesday. She would bring me a sample of each and they were all very good, but I remember when she brought me one in particular from Bottle Logic; it was outstanding. So much so that I went to their booth to find out what it was called; Darkstar November. I told them straight out; “You need to bottle this stuff.” I was happy to hear that this plan was already in motion and I made a mental note to reserve a day towards the end of the month. That day was today.
Bottle Logic Brewing is a production brewery with a tasting room out in Anaheim, which is a little more than 30 miles from us. Since their release did not begin until 4:00 PM and it was the day before Thanksgiving, I knew that the drive could be a bit of a hassle. We have only visited Bottle Logic once before, back in August, and there was a decent but not excessive amount of people there. I was not really sure what kind of crowd they might have there at 4:00 PM on a workday. When we were turning off La Palma onto Armando it became pretty evident that they were having a good showing. To be honest, as we drove around trying to find a parking spot we weighed the option of going elsewhere first, then coming back after the crowd died down. I knew only 3,000 bottles were available and there was a four bottle limit so I did the math and decided we had better stick it out. Continue reading
On Sunday afternoon, Abigaile Restaurant and The Brewery at Abigaile in Hermosa Beach hosted their inaugural Novem-BEER-Fest beer garden, featuring 20 of Los Angeles’ finest craft breweries. While the event was initially scheduled to take over the entire Abigaile complex, it was later decided to keep it confined to the Ocean Bar and its rooftop lounge. It was a great decision as it was a beautiful day to hang out with a couple hundred craft beer drinkers outside a block from the beach and it made it easy to see who was there for the beer.
The breweries in attendance brought out some very interesting brews. Some of my favorites included Alosta Brewing Company’s Saison Bleu, Angel City’s Rum Barrel Aged Mexican Cola Ale, El Segundo Brewing’s Ka-PAU! IPA, Back Home Gingerbread Stout by Golden Road Brewing and Progress Brewing’s Mustang Tripel. I would say my overall favorite was Wicked White IPA by Timeless Pints. Other offerings included Wanderin’ Possessed Pumpkin Porter by Absolution Brewing Company, Citraholic by Beachwood Brewing, Pomegranate Saison by Angel City, Buster’s Brown Ale by Bravery Brewing, Revolution XPA by Eagle Rock Brewing, Potential Blonde by Kinetic, Post-Season DIPA by King Harbor Brewing, Blind Ambition by Ladyface, False Prophet by Monkish Brewing, The King’s Taxes by MacLeod Ale Brewing, Acorn Ambition by Ohana Brewing, Smog City’s Groundwork Coffee Porter, Stand Brewing’s Harvest Ball, Three Weaver’s Knotty DIPA and Golden Eagle Ale by Wolf Creek Brewery.
In addition to the beers, several of the breweries had owners and/or brewers with them to socialize with their fans. Celebrity sightings included Alexandra Nowell of Three Weavers, Brian Avery and Roger Morrissey of Bravery Brewing, Rob Croxall of El Segundo Brewing Company, Steve Farguson of Absolution Brewing, Phil McDaniel and Tom Dunbabin of King Harbor Brewing, Rich Marcello of Strand Brewing and Brian Brewer of The Brewery at Abigaile. Continue reading