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Celebrator Beer News

Lugosi Bottle Premiere and Halloween Celebration at Phantom Carriage

These photos were taken at the Lugosi Bottle Premiere and Halloween Celebration that was held Saturday evening at Phantom Carriage blendery and tasting room in Carson. The event featured the release of a bottled version of Lugosi, a high gravity dark wild sour ale aged in oak with Brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and Pediococcus; featuring sweet cherry, vanilla, and stone fruit.

Since it was also a Halloween party, Phantom Carriage played Universal Studio’s 1931 version of “Dracula” on a large screen in the back parking lot. As Dracula starred Bela Lugosi, and they were releasing the bottled version of Lugosi, it only made sense that this would be a good time to invite Bela Lugosi, Jr. to join the fun, which he accepted and brought along a good portion of his family. Continue reading

Brewers Panel at Rock & Brews

Thursday evening, for LA Beer Week (LABW8), Rock & Brews in El Segundo hosted “So You Want to Open a Brewery in LA?” brewers panel, which was moderated by Celebrator Beer News writer Tomm Carroll and featured brewers and brewery owners from all ends of the Los Angeles area craft beer scene.

The breweries included a well established brewery like Firestone Walker, to contract brewers and breweries that have recently opened; to operations that are just getting started. In addition to David Walker of Firestone Walker, we heard from Bill Reider of Reel Brewery, Patrick Schulz of Scholb Premium Ales, Todd Tisdell of Pocock Brewing, Kristofor Barnes of Los Angeles Ale Works, Matthew Garcia of Homage Brewing, Kevin Osbourne of Cellador Ales, Mike Hancock of Rob Rubens Distilling & Brewing, and Andy Black of Yorkshire Square Brewing Company. Continue reading

A Class of Beer Graduation Party

A couple weeks ago I told you about the UCLA Extension course being taught by taught by local beerlebrity and writer for Celebrator Beer News and Beer Paper L.A., Tomm Carroll. The course, A Class of Beer: An Overview of the Craft Brewing Renaissance, covered the history of beer from ancient times to today’s craft beer explosion. Students learned about different styles of beers as well as how to differentiate between a flawed beer and a good one. Essentially, by the time they completed the eight week class, attendees should be well on their way to being capable of pursuing a rank from the Beer Judge Certification Program or to begin the Brewers Association’s program to be certified as a Cicerone.

Well, last week was their final class and Monday evening, Carroll invited his students to the infamous Trux Stop for some camaraderie and to enjoy some food and good beer outside of the classroom setting. I used the opportunity to talk with some of the students I missed when we were at Select Beer Store. Continue reading

A Class of Beer at Select Beer Store

For those that think I made a typo in the title, I didn’t. A Class of Beer: An Overview of the Craft Brewing Renaissance is a class that was offered this spring through UCLA’s continuing education program; UCLA Extension. The class, taught by local beerlebrity, beer hoarder and writer for Celebrator Beer News and Beer Paper L.A. Tomm Carroll, explored the history of beer from ancient times to today’s craft beer explosion. With Carroll leading the class, students learned about different styles of beers as well as how to differentiate between a flawed beer and a good one. Essentially, by the time they completed the eight week class, attendees should be well on their way to being capable of pursuing a rank from the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) or to begin the Brewers Association’s program to be certified as a Cicerone.

As we all know, sitting in a classroom listening to beer experts like Carroll, John Palmer, author of Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers; Devon Randall of Arts District Brewing; Rob Croxall of El Segundo Brewing, as well as various craft beer bar owners, homebrewers and judges is all well and good but until you can see, smell and taste the beer the talking can only go so far. To remedy this, Carroll has beer tastings of four different beers for each classroom session and arranged a few field trips to locations like Monkish Brewing to discuss brewing styles and yeasts; Mohawk Bend to learn about running a craft beer bar or brewpub; and this past Monday they visited Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach, where I caught up to them. Continue reading

Photos from Rock & Brews’ 4th Annual Local Craft Beer Fest

On Sunday afternoon, Rock & Brews held their 4th Annual Local Craft Beer Fest at their Rock & Brews Garden on Main in El Segundo. There were 15 breweries pouring 30 beers as well as food and a game or two to keep you occupied; but most people seemed content to enjoy the shade in what was a very hot afternoon at the beach. To be honest, there were fewer kids and dogs than last year which cut down of the carnival atmosphere that was experienced last year. I suspect the lower attendance was due in part to the sweltering heat and the fact that Main Street was blocked off for construction, at least in the beginning.

The breweries in attendance were El Segundo Brewing Company, Ohana Brewing Company, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, King Harbor Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, Monkish Brewing Company, Smog City Brewing Company, Angel City Brewery, The Brewery at Abigaile, Absolution Brewing Company, Congregation Ale House, Bootlegger’s Brewery, Cosmic Ales, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery and Golden Road Brewery. Also in attendance were Bowser Beer’s Dirty Dog Squad and Popcornopolis Gourmet Popcorn‎, who was giving away samples of their gourmet popcorn as well as their brand new, hop infused popcorn! This is still in the development stage so keep an eye out for it as they plan on having popcorn pairings with craft beer within the next few months.

In addition to everything else that was going on, a panel with a Question and Answer period was moderated by Celebrator Beer News contributor Tomm Carroll and included Brian Brewer from The Brewery at Abigaile, Christopher Briles from Cosmic Ales, Rich Marcello from Strand Brewing Company, Rob Croxall from El Segundo Brewing Company and Steve Farguson from Absolution Brewing Company. Continue reading

Tomm Carroll’s birthday party at Chloe’s at Golden Road

With the primary question being, “is there beer after 60?”, local beer celebrity and writer Tomm Carroll celebrated his 60th birthday Sunday afternoon with about 100 friends and family joining him at the exclusive Chloe’s at Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles. Chloe’s is a private, members-only club at the Golden Road Brewing pub that one must work in the beer industry to be invited to join. This was my first time to visit Golden Road, so it was pretty cool to be invited to join the festivities.

For those that think the name Tomm Carroll sounds familiar, there are a couple of good reasons for that. First off, there are about three guys named Tomm Carroll that are involved in the Southern California craft beer scene. This particular Tomm Carroll is a contributing writer for Celebrator Beer News with his regular column, Live and Drink in L.A. as well as Beer Paper LA where he has an entertaining series Los Angeles, BC (Before Craft).

The afternoon consisted of camaraderie, tasty snacks including crab cakes, sliders, pretzels and more, birthday cake and beer. In fact, lots of beer. In addition to the seven Golden Road brews they had on tap there was an amazing bottle share that featured a veritable who’s who of beer which such brews as a 2007 Dark Lord, Gueuze Cuvée René by Brouwerij Lindemans, a Mont des Cats by Abbaye Mont des Cats and even a 1993 Samichlaus to name but a few. Suffice it to say, there were more bottles than people to drink them so I think Tomm’s beer collection may have gained a few new members.

As far as the question, is there beer after 60? It seems safe to say that there is plenty of beer after 60. Happy birthday, Tomm. Cheers! Continue reading

Day 8 of LA Beer Week: Champions and Judges

LA Beer Week (LABW5) plods along as Thursday was the eighth day of LA Beer Week; an 11 day event. I decided that since it is LA Beer Week I would be remiss if I did not attempt to try and visit all the gold medal winners that the Los Angeles area has produced. Okay, being completely honest, I was looking for a reason to visit Beachwood BBQ and Brewing in Long Beach and I remembered that they were gold medal winners at the Great American Beer Festival so I decided that I needed to dedicate a portion of this week to the brewers that help make LA the pLAce for craft beer.

The fact of the matter is that I need very little in the way of excuses to drive down to Long Beach; however there was one with the recent release of Mind Melder IPA, a collaboration with Drake’s Brewing that I had yet to try. All I can say is that I am really looking forward to some of the South Bay’s brewers doing some collaboration brews with each other and I think Beachwood’s head brewer Julian Shrago is close enough to be included with that group. Since I had ordered an IPA flight, none of which are award winners (yet), we put together a combination of two of their gold medal winners; Udder Love, 2012 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) and Foam Top, 2012 World Beer Cup. It won’t be long before one of their IPAs brings home gold.

After a quick stop to another GABF gold medal winning brewery, Smog City Brewing, I headed out to Four Points by Sheraton for a panel on “Do you want to be a beer judge?” The panel was moderated by Tomm Carroll of Celebrator Beer News and consisted of a panel of high-ranked, certified Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) judges. The panelists included Bruce Brode (Master rank, Maltose Falcons home brew club); Carl Townsend (National rank, Pacific Gravity home brewers club); and Jim Wilson (Grand Master II rank, Strand Brewers Club). The purpose of the event was to explain the BJCP program and what you would need to know to become a certified judge. Ever since I went to the Pacific Brewers Cup two weeks ago I have been thinking that I would like to expand my beer horizons more, by at least learning what it is judges look for in each style. Continue reading

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