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 Lugosi Bottle Premiere and Halloween Celebration that was held Saturday evening at Phantom Carriage blendery and tasting room in Carson. The event featured the release of a bottled version of Lugosi, a high gravity dark wild sour ale aged in oak with Brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and Pediococcus; featuring sweet cherry, vanilla, and stone fruit.
Since it was also a Halloween party, Phantom Carriage played Universal Studio’s 1931 version of “Dracula” on a large screen in the back parking lot. As Dracula starred Bela Lugosi, and they were releasing the bottled version of Lugosi, it only made sense that this would be a good time to invite Bela Lugosi, Jr. to join the fun, which he accepted and brought along a good portion of his family. Continue reading
These photos were taken Thursday afternoon at a preview of the new Bruery Terreux tasting room that is opening to the public at noon Friday. From this point forward they are open daily from 12:00-10:00 PM.
If you will recall, it was June 2014 that The Bruery announced that they were going to open Terreux (pronounced terr – ooh) as the location where they would concentrate on their wild ales and sours without risking the quality of the other fine brews The Bruery was turning out in Placentia. Because those pesky Brettanomyces really fly, they took no chances and opened the second facility three miles away in Anaheim; that and the City of Anaheim seemed really anxious to have them.
Bruery Terreux hoped to open their tasting room last summer, but I think we have all watched enough tasting rooms open around here to guess that wasn’t going to happen; permits, permits, permits. Anyway, it only took two years, which is not bad and it was worth the wait. Continue reading
When I left off, we had left the Froth Awards at Saint Rocke and headed to Carson to catch the tail end of Phantom Carriage’s One Year Anniversary party which was held Saturday afternoon. Phantom Carriage pulled out all the stops which required them to take over the parking lot as well as the blendery’s tasting room.
I got there pretty late, but even as it may have been clearing out you could tell that this sold out event was rocking as everyone was in full party mode. With the beer selections that had been available earlier, it is no wonder why everyone was in a great mood. They had cellar blends Volume 1 through 5 to accompany Oude Muis, Muis, Citra Muis, barrel-aged Centennial Muis, Broadacres, Strawberry Broadacres, Triple Berry Melange Broadacres, Dragonfruit Broadacres, barrel-aged Peach/Nectarine Broadacres, Bergman, Blackberry Bergman, Baskerville (clean and on Brett), Wit Zombie, Pineapple Wit Zombie, Amarantha, Lugosi, Dolores, Tagalong Dolores, Toasted Coconut Dolores, Fleet Street IPA, Tripel Curse and Fog Island. As soon as I walked in, brewer Brendan Lake approached me with the last of the Vermiste Kat which was their collaboration with Cascade, so even though a lot of the super-rare varieties were already gone by the time I got there, the Vermiste Kat was a great way to start off. Continue reading
There were several beer buyouts that seemed to dominate most other craft beer sites, but the craft world in my immediate domain only seemed to increase. Yeah, Golden Road got bought, but I only went there for special events and I guess that means there will be fewer of them there in the future. In the meantime, the reach of this site seems to be increasing. In the beginning people pretty much pigeonholed this site as covering the South Bay craft beer scene only. This year I covered various local beer events from the Antelope Valley to Orange County. Attendees have come up asking if I am now covering the west side, or wherever we might be. I guess the answer is yes; and I will expand my area as long as it is requested.
2015 in the South Bay ended pretty much as it started, with the soft open of a new brewpub. In January Phantom Carriage officially opened, and at the end of December HopSaint Brewing Company opened their doors. While they are open daily, the official opening of HopSaint will be January 1, 2016 when they will start serving lunch at 11:30 AM. Continue reading
These photos are from the Samhain Ball which was held Saturday evening at the Phantom Carriage blendery and tasting room. For those that would otherwise have to Google it, Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. As you may have noticed, this is another culture’s celebration that falls within our Halloween season and Dia de los Muertos. Like visiting Bravery Brewing was the logical choice on the 4th of July, Phantom Carriage was pretty much made for these types of holidays. Besides, it was also co-owner and founder of Phantom Carriage, Martin Svab’s birthday so it truly was the logical choice.
We were among the first to arrive and there was a little stress because there was not a line outside, but it was pretty early, on a Saturday night and it was Halloween; there would be nothing to worry about. Within an hour the tasting room began filling up with TV and movie characters, ghouls, sexy Indians and the clamor of a few hundred people having a good time.
The Samhain Ball featured an evil DJ spinning Halloween-inspired tunes, a costume contest and haunted horror film screenings throughout the night both. Of course, they also had a special beer list including their own Haunted Dolores and Lugosi as well Alesmith’s “Evil Dead Red” and Tap It Brewing’s “No Soul Sour Red”. It was a fun night with good beer and imaginative people; congratulations to Phantom Carriage and happy birthday to Martin Svab. Cheers! Continue reading
Readers may recall that at the beginning of October I was invited to an advanced tasting of Guinness’ new Nitro IPA; while the beer and meal was quite nice, the best part of the evening was meeting a couple Guinness representatives, Keith Dunne and Jonathan Urch who had hosted the event. Dunne came out from St. James’ Gate in Dublin while Urch came out from New York City. By the end of the evening we had formed a pretty good relationship and before I left they informed me that they had one day to explore the LA craft beer scene and asked what breweries were a “must” to visit before they left. While we have several breweries that could fall under that category, one that really stands out is Beachwood Brewing & BBQ; after all, they won gold in 2013 and 2014 for Best Mid-Size and Best Large Brewpub at GABF. When I suggested Beachwood and told them of some of the awards they had received it was decided that we would meet at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing the next day. Dunne mentioned that it would be great if he could meet the owners and I said I would do my best.
I reached out to Beachwood’s Creative/Marketing Manager, Aaron Carroll and was informed that co-owner/head brewer Julian Shrago was out of town and the other co-owner, Gabe Gordon might be at the Seal Beach location but he would do what he could.
The next day we all met at Beachwood and the Guinness reps loved everything they tried. During our tastings Carroll joined us at our table and informed us that Gordon would not be available, however, he did invite us to tour the new Beachwood Blendery. They jumped on the opportunity. Continue reading
These photos were taken at the Phantom Carriage ribbon cutting which was held Thursday morning at their brewpub in Carson. Typically, the ribbon cuttings I have attended have been later in the afternoon, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the number of representatives from the City of Carson and the Carson Chamber of Commerce in attendance. Two things were pretty obvious; the first was that this was the first time coming to Phantom Carriage for many of them; the second was that they all seemed to enjoy the experience.
The Mayor of Carson, Jim Dear, started things off with a small ceremony out front to sign a petition in support of building an NFL stadium that theoretically would be the new home for the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders. They need about 8,000 signatures but Mayor Dear expects that they will get far more than that. You must be a Carson resident to sign the petition, so if you live in Carson and this is important to you, you might want to keep an eye out for signature gatherers.
After the petition ceremony we all moved inside for the ribbon cutting. Apparently, Dear is a fairly regular customer of Phantom Carriage and he made it clear that he has enjoyed his visits to Phantom and spoke of the success that their great brews and food have brought. One thing is quite certain, the City of Carson is very happy to have Phantom Carriage in their city and Mayor Dear looks forward to “several more” craft breweries calling Carson home. If the success of Phantom Carriage thus far is any indicator, Carson seems willing and able to become the latest craft beer Mecca of the Los Angeles area. Cheers! Continue reading
When Phantom Carriage first announced that they would be opening in Carson and specialize in sours, saisons and barrel-aged brews I know I was not alone in wondering if the City of Carson could sustain a brewery/blendery seeking such a niche audience. When we made our first visit there for the Media Day Soft Open Tanya was less than enthusiastic about even going because their style of brews is just not her thing but she discovered that she pretty much enjoyed everything we tried.
A month later we returned to see what kind of progress had been made and discovered tweaks to the beer and food menus, as well as seemingly small adjustments to the interior lighting and longer hours. It was then that co-owner and founder Martin Svab informed me that the Phantom Carriage grand opening is “now until early March.” Well, it is now early March and Phantom Carriage has officially had their Grand Opening which was held on Saturday.
As we drove down Main Street towards Phantom Carriage we could not help but notice cars parked all along the normally empty street; we had a feeling that these must be Phantom Carriage customers. This was confirmed when we pulled into their parking lot only to be greeted by a “Lot Full” sign and a long line of people waiting to get into the brewery itself. As I had another event to cover later I decided to just grab some photos then return later for close-ups; so if the photos look like they are from two different days, that is because they are. 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