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LA County Brewers Guild Inaugural Beer and Food Fest Photos

These photos were taken at the inaugural L.A. Beer and Food Festival, which was presented by the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild Saturday afternoon at the Mack Sennett Studios in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles.

I was going to say that for an inaugural event, the turnout was outstanding; but the reality is that they sold out 650 tickets, which is pretty outstanding whether it was the inaugural or 10th annual event. The reality is that the venue probably could not hold much more and remain comfortable.

With close to 50 breweries, all members of the L.A. County Brewers Guild, and at least 15 food vendors there was something for everyone. Although the photos may give the impression that the place was packed, there were virtually no lines for beer. Some of the food vendors may have had a little trouble keeping up with demand, but I heard no complaints because everything (that I tried anyway) was delicious. Continue reading

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

Bravery Brewing 4th Year Anniversary Photos

These photos are from Bravery Brewing’s 4th Year Anniversary party which was held Sunday at the Lancaster production brewery’s tasting room. In addition to the 30 brews available, there was live music by Blaktop, hamburgers and hot dogs from Hi Desert Mobile Catering, hourly raffles, cornhole, board games and surprisingly nice weather. Of course, co-founder and star of the big and small screen, R. Lee Ermey was there to chat with attendees.

Since I was there, I let Brian Avery take me on a tour of their new brewhouse, a three vessel, 15 bbl system that will allow them to brew a ton more beer than they were doing with the 3 bbl system they have been using.

Congratulations to Bart and Brian Avery and the entire Bravery Brewing team; I look forward to seeing what the next year brings you. Bravery Brewing is located at 42705 8th Street West in Lancaster. Cheers! Continue reading

LA Beer Week Kickoff Festival Photos

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

Transplants Brewing Grand Opening & a Tour of the Antelope Valley Craft Beer Scene

Back in July I told you that the Antelope Valley, about an hour northeast of Los Angeles, would soon become a craft beer destination; as of Saturday afternoon, I officially proclaim the Antelope Valley a bona fide craft beer destination when Transplants Brewing Company held their Grand Opening and ribbon cutting at their tasting room in Palmdale.

These photos were taken at the four craft breweries that are now open and brewing in the Antelope Valley. They include Transplants Brewing and Lucky Luke Brewing which are across the street from each other in Palmdale; and Bravery Brewing and Kinetic Brewing Company in Lancaster. The accompanying map is set up for doing your own self-guided craft beer tour of the Antelope Valley. Less than 10 miles separate Transplants and Kinetic which are at the far ends of the tour; they may catch up to Torrance at their current rate of expansion and after talking to a couple of the brewery owners, the owners would love it.

I started off at Transplants Brewing Company (Location A on map) for their ribbon cutting. I had visited the facility a couple times since July so I had a general idea of what they had in mind but was blown away by the visuals that immediately pounce on you. The mural is a work in progress but has so much going on; one could spend hours checking out all the intricacies of it. The artist, Brandon “BL” Singleton worked in collaboration with an artist he has worked with before and they do good work together. He worked on the front mural during the grand opening so visitors were able to watch his work progress. Continue reading

The Craft Beer Guy 2015 Year in Review

HopSaint brewpub

HopSaint Brewing Company Now Soon!

Well, there are still a couple of days left in 2015 but I think it is safe to write my year-end review of 2015. To be honest, there has been so much activity in the craft beer world this past year that I would not be surprised to have something new pop up before Thursday night.(So, this is taking me a while to write, and yes, there have been updates since I started).

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

6th Annual BAM Fest Coming October 10 – Promo Code

BAM Fest attendee

Join the fun at BAM Fest 2015

It is that time of year again; the 6th Annual Beer, Art & Music Festival (BAM Fest) will be held Saturday afternoon, October 10, in Santa Monica at the 18th Street Arts Center. The 18th Street Arts Center is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization and is the beneficiary of all the proceeds from this fundraiser.

This will be my fourth time attending BAM Fest and all I can say is that if you enjoy craft beer, live in the Los Angeles area and have never attended BAM Fest, you are doing yourself a disservice. From the first time I attended in 2012 I have been nothing but impressed; and the event just seems to get bigger and better every year and 2015 appears to be no exception.

The current list of beer and cider vendors totals 38, with six food trucks available to pair with your favorite beer and live music provided by three groups. Continue reading

4th of July at the Bravery Brewing 3rd Anniversary

As you know, Saturday was the 4th of July and as I tried to figure out what we would do for the day I remembered that Bravery Brewing was having their 3rd Year Anniversary party, and if you have ever visited the Bravery Brewing tasting room you know that they are about as patriotic as they come with the memorials and memorabilia displayed prominently. Heck, one of the co-owners is R. Lee Ermey, who is a retired United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant and an honorary Gunnery Sergeant. You might remember him from his role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in the movie Full Metal Jacket. Anyway, long story short, I could not think of a more patriotic craft brewery to visit on the 4th of July.

Since Lancaster is a bit of a drive for me, I contacted my friends at Transplant Brewing Company and told them I was going to be in the neighborhood so I would stop by their future production brewery to take a photo of the new sign they had put up. Watching their Facebook page I could see that they were very proud of it so I thought I grab a few shots for them. As it was the 4th of July and they are still putting things together, I knew they were not open and I certainly did not expect anyone to be there. Instead all three owners, Corey Cordovano, Matt and Sarah Luker, came out to open the doors for me to check out the progress thus far.

Transplant Brewing Company plans on being the first production/craft brewery in the city of Palmdale. I say “plans on being” because another brewery, Lucky Luke Brewing Company, is literally right around the corner from Transplants and they both plan to be making beer before this year is over. Transplants actually hopes to be able to have a soft open on Labor Day weekend. Right now they are waiting for the brewhouse which is on a slow boat somewhere. In the meantime, Transplants Brewing has been doing collaborations with the other Antelope Valley breweries, Kinetic Brewing Company and Bravery Brewing Company. It appears that the Antelope Valley is experiencing their own craft beer boom; and all the breweries are friends with each other and it shows with their collaborations. That is one thing that I am surprised I have not seen yet, or I missed it; a collaboration between Torrance or South Bay breweries. Continue reading

L.A. Brewers Beer Week 2015 Kickoff Party Photos

These photos were taken at the LA Brewers Beer Week Kickoff which was held Saturday afternoon, June 20 at Exposition Park. The kickoff was the official launch of LA Beer Week 2015 (#LABW7) and was a fundraiser with a portion of the proceeds being donated to L.A. Kitchen. The event featured more than 75 breweries pouring a reported 200+ beers, ciders and home brewed sodas. I did not count them but I can assure you there were so many outstanding options that it would have been virtually impossible to try them all in the five hours we had available. There were numerous times I headed off to try a beer that I wanted only to be distracted by something else on the way. I was pleasantly surprised at how many of the available options were brews I had yet to try.

In addition to the massive quantities of beer, there were eight food trucks, four bands, educational panels and a few games. There were about 3,000 people including attendees, volunteers and the breweries but there was very little in the way of lines. I think the longest line I saw was for people waiting to buy tote bags that were being offered there.

As it is Father’s Day and there are a lot of things going on, so I will go ahead and post the photos now and give an in-depth review later in the week. Suffice it to say, it was a great time with very little to find negative about the entire experience. The LA County Brewers Guild did a great job and is to be commended on putting on a great event. Of course, I am extremely appreciative of Absolution Brewing Company for sponsoring me at the LA Beer Week Kickoff. Cheers! Continue reading

LA Local Craft Beer & Artisanal Food Fest Photos

These photos are from the inaugural L.A. Local Craft Beer & Artisanal Food Fest that was held Saturday afternoon at the Alpine Village Restaurant in Alpine Village located in Torrance. As hinted by the name, this event featured craft beer brewed in Los Angeles County and artisanal food vendors from the Los Angeles area. I would venture to say that there were close to 500 attendees which far exceeded the expectations of Alpine Village, but for the most part things went smoothly, all things considered.

The last update that I had received suggested that there would be 31 craft breweries represented but by the time the map/program was printed only 29 were listed and not all of them were available. To say that there was some confusion would be putting it mildly. I am not going to pretend to know what arrangements were made, but it was my understanding that Alpine Village had purchased the beers rather than relying on donations from the breweries. The end result was that some of the breweries sent representatives to be on-hand to pour and some did not. Some of the beers did not even make it onto the floor until the event was half over. The breweries that I saw, or at least heard from reputable sources were there, included California 101 Cider House, Absolution Brewing, Eagle Rock Brewing, Strand Brewing, Phantom Carriage, Santa Monica Brew Works, Timeless Pints, Smog City, Wolf Creek, Hand-Brewed, Enegren, Bravery Brewing, Boomtown Brewing, Three Weavers, Solarc Brewing, Cosmic Ales, The Dudes’, King Harbor Brewing, Golden Road, Monkish, Ohana, San Pedro Brewing Company and Congregation Ale House. I am not saying others were not there, I just never spotted them. On a personal level, it was good to see Enegren Brewing represented as I have not visited them in well over two years and it was nice to finally meet the guys from Hand-Brewed and having the opportunity to try one of their brews (Deez Nuts Brown Ale). Continue reading

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