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Business & Beer Ends 2015 at The Brewery at Abigaile

These photos are from the December gathering of the Business & Beer networking group which met at The Brewery at Abigaile in Hermosa Beach. It was Business & Beer’s first return to the Hermosa Beach brewpub since they brought on the new brewer, Paul Papantonio. The last time I visited Abigaile in mid-October, Papantonio had only one brew under his belt with his new brewing system; a very nice black IPA. As of last night he had added three more brews to his portfolio, including a Vienna lager, a brown ale and an IPA. Everyone in our group seemed to enjoy the brews, with special praise given to the barrel-aged Sugar Daddy that I am sure has been aging since Brian Brewer’s days.

Next month, January 14, Business & Beer will be meeting at Torrance’s newest brewery, HopSaint Brewing Company. HopSaint is a brewpub and the brewer is Brian Brewer, who most of you know from his stint at The Brewery at Abigaile. I have had a little preview so you can trust me when I say that you definitely want to be there on January 14 between 6:00 and 8:00 PM. Please RSVP on Business & Beer or the Business & Beer Facebook page. Cheers! Continue reading

Craft Beer Guy Presents: A 40 Tap South Bay Tap Takeover

tap-takeover

40 Taps of South Bay Craft!

If you follow this site with any regularity you may recall that a few weeks ago I visited Flights Beer Bar in Hawthorne for the first time. To say that I was impressed would be an understatement and I believe I got that message across in the article that I wrote. A couple days after writing the article I received an email from Flights owner Jerry Jamgotchian suggesting that they would like to throw a private party for Craft Beer Guy. While I was definitely flattered, several of the local craft breweries had just had a birthday party for me a couple days before so I suggested that I would rather have a party that showcased all the breweries that had made the South Bay the craft beer destination that is has become. After speaking with Jerry and his manager/beer buyer Marc Dacal it was decided that they would let me curate a 40 tap, tap takeover featuring 10 production breweries that were based in the South Bay. That’s right, 40 taps of South Bay craft from 10 South Bay breweries.

While I have been to a few “South Bay tap takeovers” over the past few years, never before have we had 40 taps dedicated to just the South Bay’s breweries. The 10 that will be participating include Strand Brewing Company, Monkish Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, Absolution Brewing Company, Smog City Brewing, Three Weavers, The Dudes’, King Harbor Brewing, Phantom Carriage and introducing HopSaint! If you are thinking, “But HopSaint isn’t open yet.” you would be correct, but the brewhouse has been delivered and Brian Brewer will be brewing before their new brewpub opens. This tap takeover will likely be the first time any of us will be able to try Brian’s brews under the new label. UPDATE: HopSaint will not be able to make it, in their stead, Cosmic Brewery will step up. Continue reading

Beachwood BBQ & Brewing 4th Anniversary Photos

These photos were taken at the Beachwood BBQ & Brewing 4th Anniversary celebration which was held Saturday, July 11 at the Long Beach brewpub.

One of the best things about writing about my travels is that I am easily able to refer back to the first time I visited the Long Beach location or any of the three prior anniversary parties and easily see how much they have grown in just a few short years. I had to chuckle when I looked back and saw that they had nine beers available the first time I went there; yesterday they had over 40 on tap and even more on cask. And it is not even just about the number of beers they brew, but how well done and true to style they are. I feel really fortunate to have them so relatively close to home.

I initially went to Long Beach in the morning, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I got there later than I planned on and the line was just too long so I decided I would come back later. I watched conversations on Facebook and around 3:30 the lines were done. When we arrived it was still busy with their fans ordering up from the dozens of brews available. Since Beachwood staggered the tap times of their barrel-aged brews, just about everything was still available except for the big barrel-aged brews that were available early on. 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

Belmont Brewing Company: Location, location, location

BBC - Belmont Shores

Belmont Brewing Company – All about the location

On Monday morning I had some business to do in Los Alamitos; as I was finishing up around lunch time and Tanya was hungry, I asked her to get on her Smartphone to find where I should take her while I finished up. When she suggested Belmont Brewing Company, a brewpub that was 15 minutes away, I remembered that I had tried a couple of their brews at a beer festival in the past but as we had never been there before and Beachwood was closed, why not?

BBC brewhouse

BBC Brewhouse

The first thing I noticed is that parking is close to impossible. Truth be told, I could not even tell you where the best place to legally park. I guess foot and bicycle traffic is the best for them. The next thing I noticed was that this place was literally on the beach! I mean, what brewpub can afford a piece of prime real estate like a Southern California beachfront? Not many that I know of; but Belmont Brewing Company has been at this location since 1990, property was a little cheaper back then. Okay, I don’t know if they own or lease, but I suspect they own the property.

When we entered, we were offered our choice of sitting inside or out on the extensive outdoor patio they have. I got the impression that the hostess was a little surprised when I said we wanted to sit at the bar. It was a little hazy that afternoon, so the view wasn’t that spectacular; and I wanted to get a little history of the place. Continue reading

Business & Beer Experiences Resurgence at The Brewery at Abigaile

On Thursday evening the Business & Beer networking group met at The Brewery at Abigaile, a brewpub in Hermosa Beach. As one of the co-founders of Business & Beer I will admit that over the last couple of months we have been seriously discussing whether or not to continue with the monthly meeting format. Recent gatherings have been very small; the blame can be placed on weather, holidays, the loss of Daylight Saving Time or any number of factors; the reality is that the only reason it was decided to continue was because over the past couple of weeks three or four people said they really wanted to come to their first Business & Beer. Since the Brewery at Abigaile is one of my favorite locations in the Business & Beer rotation and the meeting date happened to coincide with the Craft Beer Guy anniversary date, it was decided to carry on at least one more month. It was a great decision.

Even though it was a rather cold and blustery evening we had one of the largest turnouts in close to a year; we had a nice mix of regulars, returnees and several first time attendees. As Abigaile is currently seeking a new brewer (their former brewer, Brian Brewer, is concentrating on his new endeavor as a partner with the soon-to-be HopSaint brewpub in Torrance) the selection of house brews was down to three with their Amber Ale, Pale Meridian and Beetlejuice DIPA; but there were plenty of guest taps for those that desired something different. Between the beer selections, the food and the great group of people that came out, we had a great time. I would like to thank Michael and Peggy Michino who were kind enough to bring a bottle of Green Flash Silva Stout that was autographed by Green Flash head brewer Chuck Silva, as an anniversary present. Continue reading

Craft Beer in Tempe and Scottsdale, Arizona

For the past 12 years, at the end of March or beginning of April I have gone to Tempe to photograph an industry trade show. Last year I spent some time visiting Sun Up Brewing, Arizona Wilderness Brewing and The Perch Pub & Brewery. When I left LA I had full intentions of re-visiting Arizona Wilderness because I know a lot has happened in the past year; and I wanted to stop by The Perch because last year they had not begun brewing yet and I know they are now. But plans, like rules are frequently broken. By the time we arrived in Tempe the traffic in the area was so bad that I just did not have the willpower to head out to Gilbert or Chandler so I decided to visit breweries that I had not yet visited.

We started off at Four Peaks Brewing Company, a massive brewpub that opened in April of 1997. It is my understanding that they have three locations now; the brewpub in Tempe, another location in Tempe that brews for distribution only and a pub in Scottsdale. I would guess that their most well-known brew must be Kilt Lifter as it is found in almost every venue I visited in the area. The parking is pretty much non-existent but that did not keep them from being packed by 5:00 PM on a Wednesday; I suppose their proximity to ASU has something to do with that.

We split a flight which consisted of their Sunbru Kölsch, Kilt Lifter, Oatmeal Stout, 8th Street Pale Ale, Raj IPA, Hop Knot IPA, their Hefeweizen and Peach Ale; they gave me a taster of their Short Hop ISA which is their session IPA. Of the batch, Hop Knot was definitely my favorite. We also had a burger and fries which were okay, but the people sitting next to us had some very nice looking plates; since they were regulars I guess they knew the best meals to order.

Four Peaks Brewing Company is located at 1340 E 8th Street in Tempe and is open seven days a week; Sunday from 10:00 AM until 1:00 AM and Monday through Saturday 11:00 AM until 1:00 AM. Continue reading

Phantom Carriage Grand Opening Photos

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

Brouwerij West at the Port of Los Angeles

Sometimes it is hard to remember that just a few years ago you could count the production breweries and brewpubs in the South Bay on one hand; now you need both of your hands and a foot to count them all and new locations are being constructed as you read this. A common question that has been debated frequently over the past couple of years is that of over saturation.

As a craft beer consumer, over saturation never really comes into play for me although I can understand how a brewery owner might not feel the same way. Of course, I might not feel the same way if all of our breweries were merely churning out the same brews and styles as the next guy, but the reality is that even though we have a dozen tasting rooms and brewpubs to visit in the general vicinity each is unique in their own way. I feel that as long as this trend continues the only problem the consumer will have is deciding which brewery to patronize on any particular day.

On Wednesday afternoon I headed over to the Port of Los Angeles and the future home of Brouwerij (pronounced: brewery) West. Those of you that were fortunate enough to attend The Festival 2014 at CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles back in November you probably remember the big Warehouse No. 9 that was located across the way from the warehouse that The Festival was held. This will be the new home for Brouwerij West. Continue reading

Moab Brewery: Moab, Utah

I feel quite fortunate in that I have been able to drive around most of this country with Alaska and New England being the only areas I have not visited yet. I am a fifth generation Californian and I am very proud of this fact and I think California is the most beautiful of all the states I have visited. That being said, Utah definitely ranks as the second most scenic state and I could spend weeks at a time traveling through it. We have spent days just trying to get out of Utah but there is something amazing around every turn that always seemed to keep us around a few more hours.

In April of 2011 I had an event to photograph in Tempe, Arizona and since it was close to Tanya’s birthday we decided we were going to spend a few more days in Utah, specifically in the Arches National Park area. We decided to stay in Moab the night before entering Arches and that is where we discovered Moab Brewery. Continue reading

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