On Saturday evening we attended the Hoppy Valentine’s Dinner at Brouwerij West. The dinner was presented by Primal Alchemy Catering and featured the work of Chef Paul Buchanan. Chef Paul specializes in preparing customized menus that are farm-to-table, using locally sourced, sustainable and organic ingredients. A good number of the attendees were obviously fans of Chef Paul as many indicated that they had been to prior events he has put on. If you are a foodie, you will appreciate the menu:
For appetizers we had Rose Petal Ravioli w’ Creamy Leek & Bacon Filling (outstanding), Octopus Tartare on a wonton chip with wasabi, and Bruleed Strawberries with Balsamic Syrup & Goat Cheese. The main course had a mix of various vegetables and pasta along with steelhead trout on Parmesan Polenta and Juniper Crusted Pan Seared Duck on a Bed of Faro with Dried Cherry Chutney. For dessert there was Mason Jar Dark Chocolate Cakes with Farmer’s Market Berry Compote & Chantilly Cream. It was an interesting meal and everyone seemed to really enjoy it.
Of course, I was there for the beer which was probably not the case for many of the attendees but the Brouwerij West classic Belgian style ales definitely made some converts. I spoke to more than one person that said they came for the food, but they would definitely be back for the beer. Continue reading
Primal Alchemy Catering is owned and operated by Chef Paul Buchanan who specializes in preparing customized menus that are truly farm-to-table, using locally sourced and organic ingredients. Chef Paul has been doing this for more than 10 years and after looking at some of the menu options suggested on their website, this should be an amazing meal.
Of course, when it comes to beer dinners the food is only half the fun; you have to have good beer to go along with it. I know many of you have tried Brouwerij West’s brews from when they were contract brewing, but forget whatever you recall from before because even if some of the beers retained their names, like Mør Mør, My First Rodeo or Dog Ate My Homework, the beers are not really the same due to changes in the water, brewing equipment, ingredients and the love and attention that they are able to put into every batch now that they are brewing on their own system. I have had an opportunity to try several brews from the new brewhouse and they are delicious. I am really looking forward to trying more and this Valentine’s Dinner will be the perfect time. 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
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
As 2014 winds down I faced the question posed to me by a few people; “Will Craft Beer Guy be writing an article about the year?” Initially I thought I would do a Top 10 list and just discuss the Top 10 breweries and brewpubs in the South Bay. I figured it would be easy because there were only 10 craft brewers here, but in the last month so many new locations have opened that we now have 12 if you count Phantom Carriage that has not “officially” opened yet. The South Bay now has the following breweries and brewpubs in its confines; in order of seniority (I think) they are: Red Car Brewery, San Pedro Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, El Segundo Brewing Company, Monkish Brewing Company, The Brewery at Abigaile, Smog City Brewing, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Absolution Brewing Company, King Harbor Brewing Company, Three Weavers Brewing and Phantom Carriage. 2015 should bring us a few more including Hop Saint, Brouwerij West and Port Town Brewing; and those are just the ones that come to mind. There will also be some moves and expansions among those listed above. With that I now present you The 2014 Craft Beer Guy Year in Review.
As I look through my articles from January I see that it was a pretty mellow month or the calm before the storm if you prefer. I would have to say my personal highlight of the month was a Sunday afternoon that we spent visiting several of the Orange County craft brewery tasting rooms and brewpubs. The day included stops at Bootlegger’s Brewery, Taps Fish House & Brewery, Noble Ale Works, Tustin Brewing Company and Brewbakers. Each of these stops were first time visits and I would not have a problem recommending any of them. The thing is, in the past year Orange County has opened so many new tasting rooms and brewpubs that it is getting tough to try and keep up with them all; but I will try. Continue reading
This past weekend was nothing short of amazing in the craft beer world as Shelton Brothers, importers and distributors of small batch beers and ciders from all over the world, brought The Festival 2014 to the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. The Festival 2014 took place over the course of four sessions split up over Saturday and Sunday afternoon. There were literally beers from all four corners of the world with close to 100 breweries represented and probably close to 400 different brews to choose from. Someone commented to me that it would be impossible to try all the offerings in one session. The fact of the matter is that it would be impossible to try everything there over the course of the four sessions.
The Saturday sessions were very well attended, but with all the amazing brews available there were only two booths that even had a line, 3 Fonteinen and Cantillon; by Sunday even they had no lines. It is not very often that you can go to a beer festival and have no lines for Beachwood, Firestone or The Bruery. I understand that San Diego Beer Week started on the same weekend, but if you drove to San Diego instead of staying in LA I am afraid you blew it. The selection of beer at The Festival would be pretty tough to beat anywhere.
Like many of you, when I go to a beer festival I like to try beers I have not had an opportunity to try before; at The Festival 2014 I was able to try numerous beers from breweries I had never heard of. Of course, there were plenty of breweries I had heard of, just never experienced and I did my best to make up for that. Continue reading
Presented by Shelton Brothers and Sharefest in collaboration with Brouwerij West at CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, The Festival 2014 will be bringing you craft beer from all four corners of the globe with almost 100 breweries being represented. Not only are there more than 90 breweries in attendance, you will have the opportunity to meet more than 70 of the best beer, cider, and mead makers in the world!
If you think this is an exaggeration, take a look at the breweries scheduled to attend. International breweries include 8 Wired (New Zealand), Amager Bryghus (Denmark), Au Baron (France), Baird (Japan), Be.Er Brewery (Belgium), Birra Toccalmatto (Italy), Blaugies (Belgium), Brasserie Dunham (Quebec, Canada), Brekeriet (Sweden), Brew By Numbers (England), Brewfist (Italy), Burning Sky (England), Nøgne Ø (Norway), Oersoep (Netherlands), Oliver’s Cider and Perry (United Kingdom), Partizan (England), Pays Flamand (France), Peckham’s Cider (New Zealand), Rappi Bier Factory (Switzerland), Ribela (Spain). Ritterguts (Germany), Rooie Dop (The Netherlands), Shiga Kogen (Japan) and many more.
Just so you do not think that the American breweries have been left out, you will also find such breweries as AEppelTreow Winery (Wisconsin), Arizona Wilderness (Arizona), Cambridge Brewing Company (Massachusetts), Celestial Meads (MA), Crooked Stave (Colorado), Hair of the Dog (Oregon) Jolly Pumpkin (Michigan), Mystic Brewery (Massachusetts), Oxbow Brewing (Maine), Prairie Artisan Ales (Oklahoma), Pretty Things (Massachusetts) and Saint Somewhere (Florida) will also be pouring. California craft breweries Bagby Beer, Beachwood BBQ, Bottle Logic, Brouwerij West, Cellarmaker, Faction, Firestone Walker, Monkish, Rare Barrel, San Pedro Brewing Company, Tahoe Mountain, Telegraph and The Bruery will also be among those in attendance. Continue reading
These photos were taken Friday night at the 4th Annual Brew at the LA Zoo, a fundraiser for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. The craft beer festival featured close to 40 different craft and microbreweries from all over California; including Port Town Brewing, San Pedro Brewing Company, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Lagunitas, Firestone Walker and Heretic Brewing Company. While the lines were a little longer that what I normally notice at local craft beer festivals, no one seemed to mind as there were smiles everywhere and lots of laughing.
In addition to the wide variety of craft beers there was live music provided by Indian School, the Spazmatics, and Jug or Nots as well as DJ Johnny Hawkes. Most of the zoo was closed off to the public but the 4,000 plus attendees were able to visit zoo exhibits like Elephants of Asia, Campo Gorilla Reserve, LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates and Reptiles) and the new Rainforest of the Americas. The gorillas seemed to be the biggest hams while I got the impression the other animals would have been happy to just go to sleep.
Last year there were 23 breweries and this year there were almost 40, so that is a pretty big leap. I was talking to L.A. Zoo Director John Lewis and he informed me that every year this event seems to get bigger and bigger and the LA Zoo really appreciates the support from the community. As this event has sold out for at least the last two years you must keep in the loop of craft beer events if you want an opportunity to go next year. I will try to find out with enough lead time to alert you next year so you can get tickets if you have not had the opportunity to attend a Brew at the LA Zoo yet. Continue reading