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Craft Beer Tour 2017: West Michigan

These photos are of the breweries I visited in Michigan; in order, they were Founders Brewing (two visits), Bell’s Brewery, New Holland Brewing, Our Brewing, Rockford Brewing, Perrin Brewing, Elk Brewing, and Greyline Brewing Company.

After driving back and forth between Grand Rapids and Detroit, in the pouring rain, and another four hours of technical work, I was ready for Craft Beer Tour 2017 to get back on course. First stop would be the Founders Brewing taproom.

As we were pulling off the freeway it was easy to spot the huge red brick building with “Founders Brewing” emblazoned with yellow letters. As we were parking I could not but help notice the fermenters in the windows; they appeared to be three stories tall, but I could not see clearly enough to see where their feet were. I hoped I would have a good view of the brewhouse, because it looked a little too busy for me to ask for a quick personal tour like I do at the smaller breweries. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2017: Iowa and Indiana

By the time I finished exploring the craft breweries in Nebraska, it was getting late Monday afternoon and I had an appointment in Detroit on Wednesday morning, so the road trip of my Craft Beer Tour 2017 suddenly became a drive; which is not nearly as much fun. It did not help that as I continued eastbound, I would lose another hour before I hit Michigan. Anyway, enough complaining.

Exiting Nebraska, I entered Iowa. I drove through Iowa last year and was tempted to divert to Salon and Big Grove Brewery, but I also wanted to go up to Toppling Goliath; but the time thing was becoming an issue. I decided to power through Iowa, because there was a brewery in Indiana that I was stopping at, no matter what. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2017: Nebraska

When the Brewers Association offered me the opportunity to cover the 2017 Great American Beer Festival I decided that I would use the opportunity to visit some of my siblings and perhaps enjoy some craft beer along the way. These photos were taken at Blue Blood Brewing, Zipline Brewing, Upstream Brewing, and Kros Strain Brewing. Continue reading

The Road to GABF: Day One

Thanks to the Brewers Association, I am attending my first Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver, Colorado. As I have recently become the patriarch of my family, I decided that I would drive to Denver so I could use it as my jumping off point for my Craft Beer Tour 2017.

I left Monday morning, but got a later than planned start, which ended up messing with my scheduled craft beer stops; those being Zion Brewery and Moab Brewery. Because of my late start, Zion ended up being too far off I-15 for me to make the detour. After that, there just was nothing along the way in Utah. My advice is that if you are traveling through southern Utah, bring some craft beer with you; the drive is beautiful, but dry.

So, while the title of this article is The Road to GABF: Day One, the photos do not really begin until Tuesday, when I arrived in Grand Junction, Colorado and visited Kannah Creek Brewing Company. Continue reading

DTLA Breweries United Fest Photos

These photos were taken Sunday afternoon at the Triangle Lot where DTLA Breweries United held their second annual DTLA Breweries United Fest. The event featured limited edition and specialty beers from the seven Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) breweries that make up DTLA Breweries United. Those breweries include Angel City, Mumford Brewing, Boomtown Brewery, Arts District Brewing, Iron Triangle, Indie Brewing and Dry River Brewing.

The proceeds from the event went to the Keep A Breast Foundation.

I had to take advantage of attending this event as I just never seem to get to DTLA when it comes to craft beer; in fact, I was going through my notes and realized that it has been almost two years since my last visit there. Back then only Angel City and Mumford had tasting rooms open to the public; as of today all seven members of the DTLA Breweries United have tasting rooms. Continue reading

LABW9: So You Want to Open a Brewery in LA?

These photos were taken Tuesday evening at Los Angeles Ale Works, in Hawthorne, at the sixth edition of “So You Want to Open a Brewery in LA?” an LA Beer Week panel discussion moderated by Celebrator Beer News writer Tomm Carroll. If you have attended any of the previous five seminars hosted by Carroll, you know that he typically puts together a great group of panelists and last night was no exception.

The panelists included Laurie Porter of Smog City Brewing, Greg Bechtel of Simmzy’s Burbank, Gary Croft of Yorkshire Square, Bill Baker of Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room, Rick Blankemeier of Modern Times, Will Shelton of Concrete Jungle Brewing Project, Brent Knapp of Common Space Brewery, Kip Barnes of LA Ale Works, and Brendan Lake of Burnin’ Daylight Brewing Company. Continue reading

Yorkshire Square Brewery: From the Beginning

A Yorkshire Square vessel is a two-story brewing system consisting of a shallow chamber approximately two meters high, above which is a walled deck. Cooled wort, the liquid extracted from malted barley, is fermented in the lower chamber, while the yeasty head settles on the deck above.

So, what I learned was that Yorkshire Square was not a place in England, former home of Yorkshire Square Brewery founder, Gary Croft, but rather a brewing system popular in the northern portion of England. Croft informed me that there are no Yorkshire Square fermenters in the US, but he is going to do his best to change that before too long. In the meantime, he is happy to announce that the Yorkshire Square Brewery in Torrance is now brewing beer, and they will be having their soft open beginning Wednesday, April 19 at 5:00 PM. Continue reading

An Accurate List of All the South Bay Breweries

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

A Visit to Mother Road Brewing & Flagstaff Brewing Company – Flagstaff, AZ

After being fooled by Google in Gallup, New Mexico we got back on I-40 and continued west on our Craft Beer Tour 2016.

While there are plenty of new craft breweries in the southern half of Arizona, the same cannot be said for northern Arizona; at least until you hit Flagstaff. We saw one brewery pop up online, but that was after we had passed it; lack of an Internet signal certainly did not help much.

As we approached Flagstaff I knew there were several breweries there that I had yet to try. I had visited Beaver Street Brewery several times over the years, and Lumberyard Brewing Company a couple times, so I knew I wanted something different; I set my GPS for Mother Road Brewing Company, and I am really glad I did. Continue reading

Big Texan Brewery – Truly handcrafted beer

If you have driven through the Texas panhandle on I-40 around Amarillo in the last 40 years; you have undoubtedly seen the billboards for the Big Texan Steak Ranch. They are pretty tough to miss with their promise of a free 72oz steak. I have seen them several times over the years, but this time there was a sign next to the steak offering that suggested they had a brewery there. I decided that I would stop at the Big Texan for the first time.

Let there be no mistake, the Big Texan Ranch complex, complete with motels, is a tourist stop; it is meant to break up the monotony of the drive. I got the impression that there were several people that stopped with the intention of eating a 75oz steak dinner within an hour, but there was also a shooting gallery, an ice cream and candy store; and now there was a bar offering 11 beers, crafted on site.

When we ordered our flight I told our beertender about our tour and she immediately nodded over to a gentleman to her right; “You want to talk to him; he is the brewer.” Continue reading

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