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Inaugural Long Beach Craft Beer Festival Photos

These photos were taken at the inaugural Long Beach Craft Beer Festival which was held Saturday afternoon and put on by the Forty-Niner Shops at California State University Long Beach (CSULB). Proceeds from the event went to help support student education through the growth and development of the Hospitality Management program at CSULB.

When I first started thinking about what I would write about this event, I was going to say that for an inaugural event it was very well run; but the fact of the matter is that would not really be a fair assessment. This may have been their inaugural event but you would not know it if you had not been told beforehand. Someone had done their homework; it was run like they had been putting on craft beer festivals for years.

I could nitpick and complain about the plastic tasting “glassware”, or maybe suggest that the food options be spread out a little more equally; but other than that I am not sure what anyone could complain about. One thing is for sure, the beer options were outstanding. Continue reading

Pub at the Club Beer and Food Festival Photos

The photos were taken Sunday at the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club where they held their inaugural Pub at the Club Craft Beer and Food Festival to benefit the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club’s Junior Foundation programs for special needs, Para and junior athletes. 100% of the ticket sales were donated to their Junior Foundation Programs; a charity dedicated to developing champions on and off the court by supporting all athletes, including special need and Para-athletes.

The intimate event had a couple hundred attendees who enjoyed the day in the sun with more than 30 craft breweries, a few crafty breweries and several local restaurants that provided unlimited craft beer pours and tasty food stuffs. Continue reading

4th Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest Coming December 4-5 – Promo Code

fun times at Alpine Village

Join the Fun at the 4th Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest

I am happy to announce that Alpine Village in Torrance is holding their 4th Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest at the Alpine Inn at Alpine Village in Torrance. The event will be held over the course of two days, beginning Friday December 4 from 7:00 to 11:00 PM and continuing Saturday from 11:00 AM until 3:30 PM. Tickets at the door will be $45 but there are several limited Early Bird options that allow you to save up to 50%, but you had better order your tickets today because Friday night’s allocation of 50% off are already gone. They still have 25% off for Friday and both Early Bird options are still available as of now. Since you guys are all special in my book, I have arranged to get you an additional discount by using Promo Code: brownie827.

It has been a real pleasure watching the evolution of this craft beer festival; the first one in 2012 had almost as many beers as attendees but attendance has increased every year since. In 2014 it was decided to hold the event over the course of two sessions and it worked very well. Last year each session had different special beers; this year both sessions will have every beer. When asked how they would ensure that certain beers were not tapped out on Friday, leaving Saturday’s attendees without, I was told that they would be monitoring lines and weighing kegs if that became an issue. Continue reading

Photos from the Abigaile & Ocean Bar Oktoberfest Brewtopia

On Sunday afternoon, Abigaile Restaurant & Ocean Bar in Hermosa Beach continued their series of Brewtopia beer festivals, this time combining it with Oktoberfest since it is October. The event featured a wide selection of beer from such breweries as Stone, Black Market, New Belgium, Great Divide, Paulaner, AleSmith, Green Flash and The Bruery. Also included in the price of admission was all you could eat pretzels, sauerkraut and brats, and burgers. There was live entertainment provided by Mark Righteous and Jason Juices.

After a couple months of weather that was about as unnatural for this area as it comes, we actually had a nice day at the beach; not too hot and not too humid, it was just about perfect. Typically these mini-festivals at Abigaile have been packed but yesterday’s event was anything but which meant plenty for everyone and no lines. I cannot really explain the low turnout but those that did come out had a great time.

Before I left, I stopped at the bar to try the new brew by Abigaile’s new brewer, Paul Papantonio; it is a black IPA named Midnight Mass. I had an opportunity to try it a couple weeks ago at Abigaile’s Meet the Brewer event when it was “not quite ready” and all I can say is that Papantonio has some big shoes to fill following Brian Brewer, but if he did this well on his first brew with the new-to-him system, we have a lot to look forward to. Cheers! Continue reading

3rd Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest Coming November 14-15: Promo Code

2nd Alpine Bierfest

Great beer and fun people

I am happy to announce that the Alpine Village in Torrance will be holding their 3rd Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest over the course of two days; the first session will be held Friday November 14 with the second session taking place Saturday November 15. This craft beer festival will feature more than 40 craft breweries providing more than 100 craft beers and mead.

When it comes to the Alpine Kraft Bierfest I treat it almost like it is my own. I have watched this event evolve from the first one in 2012 that had almost as many beers as attendees, to last year’s amazing event that had closer to 500 attendees. Since Kraft Bierfest has become quite popular it was decided to split the event up into two sessions, over the course of two days.

While some past beer festivals have been less than successful with having multiple sessions, Alpine Village has something going for it that most beer festival promoters do not have; the ability to cellar beers. Last year there were discussions about having two sessions, but the real possibility of running out of “all the good beers” caused them to re-think the idea and have just one session. This year, more planning has been made to ensure both sessions have plenty of access to really good beer. For example, Alpine Kraft Bierfest will feature eight beers from Allagash; Fluxus 2014, Golden Brett, Interlude, James Bean, Red Howe’s, Saison Rye, Victor and Victoria. Four of them will be available at the first session on Friday and the other four will be at the second session on Saturday. And it is not just Allagash; Anderson Valley will have three split up over two days, Figueroa Mountain will have four, Stone will have eight and The Bruery will have five split between Friday and Saturday! The published beer list is only a partial list but I think it proves what I say when I mention that Alpine Inn at the Alpine Village is one of the best kept secrets when it comes to craft beer. You never know what they are going to pull out of the cellar. Continue reading

Taste of Brews’ Oktoberfest October 4: PROMO CODE

Oktoberfest promo

Oktoberfest October 4

While it may not feel like it weather-wise around here, it is that time of year again; autumn, which means Oktoberfest will be celebrated from Munich to Shanghai; from Canberra to Blumenau and now from Torrance to Corona. Taste of Brews will be having their inaugural Taste of Brews’ Oktoberfest on Saturday October 4 from noon until 5:00 PM at Crossroads Riverview Park in Corona.

Since this is their first Oktoberfest I cannot provide photos and a description of how much fun I had last year, but I have gone to two of the Taste of Brews Long Beach festivals and had a blast, so if history is any indicator, this should be another good time. Some of the breweries that will be in attendance are Inland Empire locals Black Market Brewery, Brew Rebellion, Bootlegger’s and I & I Brewing along with such beer festival regulars like Fireman’s Brew, Samuel Adams Brewery, Firestone Walker and BJ’s restaurant.

In addition to the beer, Oktoberfest provides live entertainment including Linda Herman’s Alpine Band and Inland Empire locals, The Tomcats. Of course there will be German foods available along with other food trucks. And since no Oktoberfest would be complete without dancing and games there will be Chicken Dance contests, beer stein endurance contests, balloon blowing contests and yodeling contests. Prizes will be awarded for best costumes, so if you own lederhosen this would be a great time to break it out.

There are two packages available for this event; the Bavarian, or the VIP package which includes three 14 ounce beers in a souvenir mug along with a 5 ounce sampling mug with 10 tastes. This package is limited to 250 sales. The Prost package includes a 5 ounce sampling mug with 10 tastes and two 10 or 12 ounce beers. Refills will be available for $5.00 at the venue’s discretion. The Bavarian package is $45/each and the Prost is $35/each; however, if you order early and use the PROMO CODE: CRAFTBEERGUY you will save $10 on each ticket purchased by September 21; after that, the promo code will save you $5.00 per ticket. Continue reading

Photos from the 4th Annual Taste of Brews – Long Beach

On Saturday afternoon, about 3,000 people gathered at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach to sample beers brewed by more than 50 different breweries while enjoying the great weather, live music and foods provided by local restaurants Stonefire Grill, Slater’s 50/50 and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and several food trucks. A portion of the proceeds from this year’s Taste of Brews went to the Long Beach Marine Institute and the 1st Marine Division out of Camp Pendleton.

This was my second time attending Taste of Brews and it was definitely larger than last year’s event with probably 25% more breweries and 50% more attendees. While there more people, there were more breweries with several last minute additions. The lines for some breweries were noticeably longer for some than others, but no one seemed to mind and the beer poured quickly. In fact, a few breweries tapped out within a couple hours; presumably because more tickets were sold than anticipated. Some of the breweries, like Firestone Walker, were well prepared with plenty of brews but as the event drew to a close, even they had poured the last of their brews before the event officially ended. Continue reading

4th Annual Brew at the LA Zoo

These photos were taken Friday night at the 4th Annual Brew at the LA Zoo, a fundraiser for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. The craft beer festival featured close to 40 different craft and microbreweries from all over California; including Port Town Brewing, San Pedro Brewing Company, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Lagunitas, Firestone Walker and Heretic Brewing Company. While the lines were a little longer that what I normally notice at local craft beer festivals, no one seemed to mind as there were smiles everywhere and lots of laughing.

In addition to the wide variety of craft beers there was live music provided by Indian School, the Spazmatics, and Jug or Nots as well as DJ Johnny Hawkes. Most of the zoo was closed off to the public but the 4,000 plus attendees were able to visit zoo exhibits like Elephants of Asia, Campo Gorilla Reserve, LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates and Reptiles) and the new Rainforest of the Americas. The gorillas seemed to be the biggest hams while I got the impression the other animals would have been happy to just go to sleep.

Last year there were 23 breweries and this year there were almost 40, so that is a pretty big leap. I was talking to L.A. Zoo Director John Lewis and he informed me that every year this event seems to get bigger and bigger and the LA Zoo really appreciates the support from the community. As this event has sold out for at least the last two years you must keep in the loop of craft beer events if you want an opportunity to go next year. I will try to find out with enough lead time to alert you next year so you can get tickets if you have not had the opportunity to attend a Brew at the LA Zoo yet. Continue reading

4th Annual Taste of Brews Long Beach Promo Code

Taste of Brews 2013

Taste of Brews Long Beach

Over the past few years I have had the privilege of attending quite a few craft beer festivals; they may range in size from less than 100 to close to 1,000. Some were held in parking lots, others on movie sound stages. I have attended events that specialized in American craft beers or European craft beers or even more specifically barrel-aged and sours. The point being that I have been to many beer fests at a wide variety of venues with many styles of beer featured. While most of these festivals have had one thing or another going for them, be it venue or featured beers, there is one beer festival that stands out for me and that would be last year’s Taste of Brews Long Beach.

There is a good reason why that event stands out and that is because it had everything going for it. They had over 40 craft breweries, some wine vendors, live music, good food, fun people and it was at the beach! Held at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach, across the channel from the Queen Mary it really was the most perfect location for any festival of any type that I can recall attending. Beautiful weather with cooling ocean breezes and a wide selection of American craft beer; what more could one ask for? How about more beer and a discount?

On August 23, 2014, Taste of Brews returns to Lighthouse Park for the 4th Annual Taste of Brews Long Beach. If you thought 40 craft breweries was good, you are going to love it this year with about 50 craft breweries participating. When I looked through the list of participating breweries compared to last year I noticed that many perennial favorites such as Stone Brewing Company, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing Lagunitas, Strand Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing will be returning; but we will also be joined by such powerhouses as Ballast Point, Pizza Port, Clownshoes and Coronado Brewing along with some of Southern California’s newest craft breweries like Absolution Brewing Company and Venice Duck Brewery.

taste of brews 2013

Good beer with good friends

In addition to all the great beer and what promises to be another beautiful day for the beach there will be live music and food trucks including Urban Pie, Viking Truck, Porko Rico, Dogzilla, Slammin’ Sliders and Bacon Mania. Local restaurants Stonefire Grill, Slater’s 50/50 and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company will be providing food samples for attendees to enjoy. Pricing currently starts at $32.50 for the 3-hour session (1pm to 4pm) and $42.50 for the 4-hour session (noon to 4pm) which includes unlimited beer tasters, drinking water, food samples (while available), access to food trucks and live entertainment. A limited number of designated driver tickets will be available at the door for $20.00. As should be expected, all attendees must be 21 or older. Now, because you have read this far you get a special deal; how about $7.00 off each ticket Continue reading

Temecula: It isn’t just about the wine any more

While it may not be as well-known as the Napa-Sonoma wine region of California, the Temecula Valley area of the Inland Empire has at least 35 wineries and has gained considerable respectability with the wines they provide. Like Napa-Sonoma has exploded with craft breweries, the same can be said for Temecula and the Inland Empire; even if not to the same extent. This past weekend I headed out to Temecula and spent a little time checking out the craft breweries that have popped up since my last visit in 2012.

Wiens Brewing Company, as it turns out, opened a couple weeks before I did my 2012 brewery tour. My son lives in the area and he told me about a special anniversary ale that he had heard great things about. Unfortunately, by the time we got there it was all gone. I guess that is to be expected with a limited release. If the Wiens name sounds familiar, it could be because they also own Wiens Family Cellars, a Temecula Valley winery. Wiens had about 11 different beers on tap so we opted for a flight to do a major sampling. At $1.00 each for their flagship beers, it was a great deal. We sampled their Front Street Lager (nice maltiness), Far Post brown ale, Stout, Red Ale, Millennium Falconers IPA, Type 3 IPA (probably my favorite), Insomnia IPA and Descend Black IPA. For dessert we tried their Niflheim Russian Imperial Stout. All the beers were solid brews with the IPAs being my favorite. They offer a few other big beers so I am going to have to plan an overnight trip to Temecula so I can walk back to my hotel after experimenting more. Wiens does bottle many of their beers, so we did pick up one or two to try at home. Wiens Brewing Company is located at 27941 Diaz Road in Temecula.

When we were driving to Wiens some of the street names sounded familiar so I knew we had to be close to Black Market Brewing Company, which we had visited in late 2012. While we were looking for places we had never visited before we had such a good time the first time we were there I was okay with making a return visit. Besides, after a year and a half there had to be some brews we had not tried yet. Black Market Brewing is in a word, huge; they also appear to have a nice barrel aging program. The first time we visited them we had a room at the La Quinta across the street so we were able to take advantage by getting each of the 10 beers they had on tap. By take advantage I mean, they were giving six ounce pours for $1.00 so I could order one of each. This time I was driving, so we limited ourselves to a flight of four; Espionage on Nitro, Rotating IPA, Quadrophenia and Embargo. In my opinion, their big beers really show off Black Market’s brewing skills. Luckily, they bottle and can so we bought a couple bottles to bring home for later. Black Market Brewing Company is located at 41740 Enterprise Circle North in Temecula. Continue reading

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