If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times; timing is everything. It was Friday morning; day six of Craft Beer Tour 2016, day eight on the road and Tanya wanted Cracker Barrel. The closest one was pretty far out of the way and backtracking from whence we came; but it was what she wanted. The point being that we got a pretty late start out of Denver; and we were starting off deeper than when we had ended the prior day.
We took I-76 eastbound which landed us about 100 miles into Nebraska when it connected to I-80; Tanya was not having much luck finding anything around us on her iPhone, so I asked her to text a friend of mine that lives in northern Nebraska for some assistance. Cliff suggested we continue east to North Platte, where we would turn off and go down the road to Loop Brewing Company. Cliff knew nothing of the brewery, but it was the closest thing happening; so we headed that way. Continue reading
When we left Laramie on Thursday morning we cut across the bottom eastern half of Wyoming to get to I-25 southbound towards Denver. Denver has plenty of craft beer and if I was not careful I could end up there for a few days; however, the real reason I even drove down there was to see family that live in the Denver area.
Since food was a pretty important concern, and it was already after noon, we set the GPS for Fort Collins Brewery & Tavern, a massive brewpub located in Fort Collins.
When I say it was massive, I mean it was probably bigger than anything we have in the South Bay area. When we were there they had 12 brews on tap; each of them pretty solid for their style for the most part. I don’t recall thinking the Apricot Sour Ale was very sour; while I did enjoy the Far Away IPA. Oh yeah; their Oktoberfest was pretty dead on.
As we were going to meet my brother and his wife in a few hours for dinner, we had their Grilled Indian Fry Bread as an appetizer to hold us over; it was pretty tasty. Continue reading
I have ridden along I-80 many times on my way to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally; so when we left Salt Lake City I already knew that we would spend the night in Evanston, Wyoming. I have stayed there many times in the past and was confident that with the craft beer explosion, Evanston had to have at least one brewery.
I was right, they had one; Suds Brothers Brewery which is a brewpub that has been open about seven years. Suds Brothers had seven brews on tap while we were there; with our favorites again leaning towards the lighter, more refreshing varieties like the Orange Honey Wheat, Kolsch and Misty Mountain IPA. The staff was quite friendly and the fried ravioli was pretty good; I wish there had been a meat filled version instead of just cheese, but Tanya really liked them.
Tuesday morning we left Elko, Nevada and continued east on I-80 through the remaining Nevada desert into the Utah desert. If you think Nevada is flat and arid, the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah makes it look like an oasis. The fact of the matter is that until you hit Salt Lake City there is not much to speak of beer-wise between Elko and Salt Lake.
Tanya was seeking food and found Red Rock Brewing Company; a brewpub in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately for us, Red Rock Brewing has two locations; the brewery and tasting room; and a few blocks away, the brewpub. She had set the GPS for the brewery, which may have had snacks but they did not have the food she sought. The Red Rock Brewing Company brewery is located at 443 North 400 West in Salt Lake City and this is their production brewery where you can find the higher ABV brews. Utah has some of the weirder beer laws that we came across. Oh, Mountain West Cider is right next door; we did not make it back there but if you are in the neighborhood you might as well stop in. Continue reading
When I last posted here, I was at the California Craft Beer Summit in Sacramento (thanks again to HopSaint Brewing Company for the support); I was in need of a road trip so I figured since I was already there, I should make the two hour drive to Reno, Nevada to visit George, a friend of mine that is stuck at the VA hospital there because of all the Agent Orange he was doused with in Viet Nam. We have known each other since 1972 but I have not seen him in close to 10 years; I wanted to see him before it was too late.
After we signed George out of the VA and he wanted to go to lunch at a steakhouse in one of the big casinos; when we arrived we found out the steakhouse did not open for several more hours. George had another place he enjoyed, so we drove over there.
When we pulled up I was more concerned with finding a shady spot to park (for the dogs) than what the name of the place was, and I was really there to visit with my friend; I was not very concerned with where his appetite had brought us. Continue reading
Sometimes it comes down to timing; Wednesday evening is a perfect example of that. Tanya did not feel like cooking and I had just been paid, so she suggested we go to dinner. On the short list of brewpubs and gastropubs was one that we have not visited as much as we would like was Beachwood Brewing & BBQ in Long Beach. Truth be told, because it was the beginning of the rush hour traffic we were hesitant to head there when there were so many other great options that were a lot closer; but we both had a hankering for some barbecue and whatever was new at Beachwood, so we took our chances and headed to Long Beach.
One of the first things I noticed when we arrived at Beachwood was a sign that said something about a shuttle going between the Long Beach and Seal Beach locations. When I asked the hostess about it, I was informed that I got there just in time for Beachwood’s celebration with Noble Ale Works of their victories at the recent World Beer Cup where, among other awards, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing won World Beer Cup Champion Brewery and Brewmaster in the large brewpubs category and Noble Ale Works won World Beer Cup Champion Brewery and Brewmaster in the Small Brewing Company category. Beachwood was providing shuttle rides between their two locations in order that you might be able to try all the beers that Noble Ale Works brought with them. Continue reading
When we left Paso Robles on Sunday morning I was not really sure where we would stop throughout the day; I had planned on visiting a brewery that shall remain nameless, but due to their only having two brews available it was decided to skip them. Two beers after three years just did not do it for me. The backup destination was an easy choice since I had been thinking it since I got my tickets on Wednesday, BarrelHouse Brewing Company.
Tanya and I first visited BarrelHouse Brewing in February 2014 when they were just announcing their first anniversary was coming up. We were both impressed with what we tried; so much so that our beer stash from that trip consisted of several bottles from BarrelHouse.
A couple weeks ago I was covering the South Bay Beer & Wine Festival and ran into Mathew Jacobs, lead brewer for BarrelHouse, and Billy Thompson, their sales manager. I told them how much I enjoyed everything about our experience two plus years ago when Jacobs expressed that I really should return to see how much they have progressed. Judging by the Curly Wolf they were pouring at the event, I totally agreed. Continue reading
If you asked me a week ago if I would be attending the 5th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival (FWIBF16), I would have hung my head and responded that I would not be there. On Wednesday afternoon a good friend of mine put out an alert on Facebook announcing that he was not going to be able to make it, so he had two tickets available to the first person that contacted him; I was that guy.
We headed out late Friday morning with the intention of visiting as many new [to me] craft breweries as possible. After two hours, in which we covered a mere 70 miles, we stopped for a Starbucks break in Camarillo; it was at this point that I realized that I had left my camera at home! I have to admit, this was a pretty depressing revelation because I knew that traffic was getting worse and it would likely take me five or six hours to get back to Camarillo.
While Tanya was inside the store I recalled the previous evening when I saw Tanya pack her Canon T1i Rebel in case we stopped somewhere that she felt like photographing. I knew she would not have any extraneous equipment, like an external flash or the Sigma lens I like but it would be better than trying to cover the event using my Smartphone … maybe. Continue reading
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
Thursday evening the Business & Beer networking group met at the newest craft beer location to open in the South Bay, HopSaint Brewing Company, a brewpub in Torrance. They had a very nice turnout with attendees rotating in and out throughout the evening. Most of the attendees had never been to HopSaint before so it was nice to be able to introduce them to what will inevitably be a Torrance favorite in no time at all.
HopSaint is still in their soft-open phase but it would be tough to notice that once you try one of Brian Brewers’ five brews; Eleven-Eight ESB, Get Out of the Way IPA, Pure Intention Pale Ale, Bubble Butt Blonde and Illumination Pilsner. The Pure Intention is a hophead’s dreams.
Their food menu is still turning out some delicious dishes with the barbecue ribs, an off-menu special, definitely being a crowd favorite among those attending the event. Of course, the hamburger and deviled eggs seemed rather popular as well. What you should take away from this, is always ask what the food specials are, the ones we have tried have been outstanding. Continue reading