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Photos from the 5th Annual Kraft Bierfest at Alpine Village

These photos were taken at the 5th Annual Kraft Bierfest that was held Saturday afternoon at Alpine Village in Torrance. Having attended every Kraft Bierfest since inception I can say that Saturday’s event reminded me of their first event in 2012 in that there was lots of quality beer but not very many people there to drink it. Since Alpine Village buys the beer they pour, rather than relying on donations, this means it is probably going to be a good time to visit there as their tap list probably has a lot of leftovers available.

In 2012 they had about 100 beers and maybe 200 attendees (probably a generous headcount); on Saturday they had about 50 beers, if there were 100 people that showed up I would be surprised. There was very little in the way of advertising, which was the obvious reason for so few showing up. But, as was pointed out to me by a few people, what was lacking in attendance was definitely made up for with the quality of beers available. In fact, this event was one of the “biggest” I have attended as far as ABV is concerned, in quite a while. Continue reading

Photos of the 4th Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest

These photos were taken at the 4th Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest which was held at the Alpine Inn Restaurant at Alpine Village in Torrance. The craft beer event featured beers from all over the United States with a couple very rare Belgian brews added for good measure. While I did not take the time to count each of the breweries represented or the number of various beers available for sampling, they advertised over 40 breweries and 100 beers. I know there were a couple other craft beer events going on in Southern California this past weekend, but if you drove away from the South Bay instead of towards it, you may have messed up.

The Kraft Bierfest was held over the course of two sessions, beginning Friday evening and concluding with an afternoon session on Saturday afternoon. This was the second time they have split the event up over two sessions. Last year, to avoid the possibility of the best brews running out during the first session, Alpine’s event coordinators decided to split up the beers by day and put up a schedule of appearance for the brews so people could choose which day would have the most beers that they wanted to try. This time they made every brew available on both days but cut off serving brews that were limited on Friday so some would be available on Saturday. While there were people that were not too happy when the Agrestic or Winter Harvest ran out on Friday, the people that showed up on Saturday were quite grateful.

While I do not have the final numbers, it seemed like there may have been people in attendance on Friday night than Saturday afternoon; I doubt if either session had more than a couple hundred people in attendance. The only line I recall seeing that had more than four people in it were the first few people that arrived Saturday and headed straight for the Agrestic. I would not be surprised to see this event go back to being a one session deal. Continue reading

Clown Shoes Tap Takeover at Tortilla Cantina

These photos were taken Monday night at the Clown Shoes Beer tap takeover which was held at the Tortilla Cantina Mexican restaurant in Torrance. Clown Shoes Beer west coast ambassador “Filthy” Phil Thomas brought three Clown Shoes offerings; Space Cake DIPA, Clementine Belgian style White Ale, and of course, Photosphere Phil – the IPA named after Thomas and bearing his likeness on the label. Attendees of the tap takeover were able to “steal the glass” for the first Clown Shoes pint they purchased. A few attendees took the opportunity to grab a photo with Photosphere Phil with their pints of Photosphere.

While I have know of Clown Shoes and Thomas for a couple years now, I never really knew much about Clown Shoes so I took opportunity to find out a little more about Clown Shoes Beer last night. Clown Shoes Beer opened in 2010 and is gypsy brewing out of Ipswich, Massachusetts. They are entering their sixth year of brewing and their list of brews, past and present, is pretty impressive. If you have noticed their bombers at your local bottle shop, you had to notice their distinctive labeling as well. They do some pretty solid stuff. By the way, they will be pouring at the upcoming Alpine Kraft Bierfest, so if you have not tried them yet you know where to find them.

Tortilla Cantina is located at 1225 El Prado Avenue in Old Torrance. They have an excellent selection of craft beer at excellent prices and have a happy hour seven days a week from 3:00 – 6:00 PM. Recently; Tortilla Cantina has been holding “steal the glass” tap takeovers on pretty much a weekly basis. I know that in the past few weeks, besides Clown Shoes last night, Mission, Bell’s and Kinetic have been featured. Check out the Tortilla Cantina website for more information on upcoming events. Cheers! Continue reading

4th Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest Coming December 4-5 – Promo Code

fun times at Alpine Village

Join the Fun at the 4th Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest

I am happy to announce that Alpine Village in Torrance is holding their 4th Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest at the Alpine Inn at Alpine Village in Torrance. The event will be held over the course of two days, beginning Friday December 4 from 7:00 to 11:00 PM and continuing Saturday from 11:00 AM until 3:30 PM. Tickets at the door will be $45 but there are several limited Early Bird options that allow you to save up to 50%, but you had better order your tickets today because Friday night’s allocation of 50% off are already gone. They still have 25% off for Friday and both Early Bird options are still available as of now. Since you guys are all special in my book, I have arranged to get you an additional discount by using Promo Code: brownie827.

It has been a real pleasure watching the evolution of this craft beer festival; the first one in 2012 had almost as many beers as attendees but attendance has increased every year since. In 2014 it was decided to hold the event over the course of two sessions and it worked very well. Last year each session had different special beers; this year both sessions will have every beer. When asked how they would ensure that certain beers were not tapped out on Friday, leaving Saturday’s attendees without, I was told that they would be monitoring lines and weighing kegs if that became an issue. Continue reading

3rd Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest Photos

When Alpine Village held their first Alpine Kraft Bierfest in the big tent back in 2012 they had almost as many beers as they did attendees. I suspect it had something to do with the timing in that it was held the week before Oktoberfest, so some people may have just thought the ads were for Oktoberfest rather than the American craft beer event it was intended to be.

In 2013, the 2nd Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest was moved into the Alpine Inn, more breweries and beers were added, a little more advertising was done and the attendance level more than doubled.

For 2014 it was decided that the event would stay inside the Alpine Inn, but the event would be held over the course of two sessions; one on Friday evening with the second session being held Saturday afternoon. To avoid the possibility of the best brews running out during the first session, Alpine’s event coordinators decided to split up the beers by day and put up a schedule of appearance for the brews so people could choose which day would have the most beers that they wanted to try. It seemed to work pretty well. Continue reading

3rd Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest Coming November 14-15: Promo Code

2nd Alpine Bierfest

Great beer and fun people

I am happy to announce that the Alpine Village in Torrance will be holding their 3rd Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest over the course of two days; the first session will be held Friday November 14 with the second session taking place Saturday November 15. This craft beer festival will feature more than 40 craft breweries providing more than 100 craft beers and mead.

When it comes to the Alpine Kraft Bierfest I treat it almost like it is my own. I have watched this event evolve from the first one in 2012 that had almost as many beers as attendees, to last year’s amazing event that had closer to 500 attendees. Since Kraft Bierfest has become quite popular it was decided to split the event up into two sessions, over the course of two days.

While some past beer festivals have been less than successful with having multiple sessions, Alpine Village has something going for it that most beer festival promoters do not have; the ability to cellar beers. Last year there were discussions about having two sessions, but the real possibility of running out of “all the good beers” caused them to re-think the idea and have just one session. This year, more planning has been made to ensure both sessions have plenty of access to really good beer. For example, Alpine Kraft Bierfest will feature eight beers from Allagash; Fluxus 2014, Golden Brett, Interlude, James Bean, Red Howe’s, Saison Rye, Victor and Victoria. Four of them will be available at the first session on Friday and the other four will be at the second session on Saturday. And it is not just Allagash; Anderson Valley will have three split up over two days, Figueroa Mountain will have four, Stone will have eight and The Bruery will have five split between Friday and Saturday! The published beer list is only a partial list but I think it proves what I say when I mention that Alpine Inn at the Alpine Village is one of the best kept secrets when it comes to craft beer. You never know what they are going to pull out of the cellar. Continue reading

5th Annual BAM Fest: A beer festival done right

These photos are from the 5th Annual Beer, Art & Music Festival (BAM Fest), a fundraiser which was held Sunday afternoon in Santa Monica at the 18th Street Arts Center. The 18th Street Arts Center is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization and is the beneficiary of all the proceeds from the fundraiser.

When it comes to beer festivals there are a few things I look for; the first of which would be the breweries in attendance followed by the beers that they bring with them. Anyone that knows me personally or has paid attention to my writing knows that when it comes to beer, variety is my thing. My favorite beer is the one I have yet to try. When one goes to as many local craft beer festivals as I have over the past couple of years it can become a challenge to find something new; especially when the event is a fundraiser that has had the beer donated rather than bought and paid for. The 5th Annual BAM Fest had plenty of beers that I had never had the opportunity to try before and I highly doubt I was alone. A couple standouts for me came from two new craft breweries; Three Weavers Brewing Company and Santa Monica Brew Works. Three Weavers just had their grand opening a week ago and I was unable to attend. They brought their Stateside Session IPA which I thought was an outstanding session IPA. Their Midnight Flight Imperial Stout was also quite tasty and really hid the 9.2% ABV well. I look forward to their tasting room opening on November 7; I hear their double IPA is something else.

Santa Monica Brew Works is a production brewery that has been around since 2013 but this was my first experience with any of their brews; it definitely will not be my last. Santa Monica Brew Works is a production brewery with no tasting room but it is my understanding that their beers can be found at most bars, restaurants and hotels in the Santa Monica area. Their PCH (Pale Chocolate Heaven) is mind blowing; it was the first beer of theirs I tried and it only made me want to try everything else they brew. Keep an eye out for it if you are dining in Santa Monica. Continue reading

Photos from the 4th Annual Taste of Brews – Long Beach

On Saturday afternoon, about 3,000 people gathered at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach to sample beers brewed by more than 50 different breweries while enjoying the great weather, live music and foods provided by local restaurants Stonefire Grill, Slater’s 50/50 and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and several food trucks. A portion of the proceeds from this year’s Taste of Brews went to the Long Beach Marine Institute and the 1st Marine Division out of Camp Pendleton.

This was my second time attending Taste of Brews and it was definitely larger than last year’s event with probably 25% more breweries and 50% more attendees. While there more people, there were more breweries with several last minute additions. The lines for some breweries were noticeably longer for some than others, but no one seemed to mind and the beer poured quickly. In fact, a few breweries tapped out within a couple hours; presumably because more tickets were sold than anticipated. Some of the breweries, like Firestone Walker, were well prepared with plenty of brews but as the event drew to a close, even they had poured the last of their brews before the event officially ended. Continue reading

4th Annual Taste of Brews Long Beach Promo Code

Taste of Brews 2013

Taste of Brews Long Beach

Over the past few years I have had the privilege of attending quite a few craft beer festivals; they may range in size from less than 100 to close to 1,000. Some were held in parking lots, others on movie sound stages. I have attended events that specialized in American craft beers or European craft beers or even more specifically barrel-aged and sours. The point being that I have been to many beer fests at a wide variety of venues with many styles of beer featured. While most of these festivals have had one thing or another going for them, be it venue or featured beers, there is one beer festival that stands out for me and that would be last year’s Taste of Brews Long Beach.

There is a good reason why that event stands out and that is because it had everything going for it. They had over 40 craft breweries, some wine vendors, live music, good food, fun people and it was at the beach! Held at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach, across the channel from the Queen Mary it really was the most perfect location for any festival of any type that I can recall attending. Beautiful weather with cooling ocean breezes and a wide selection of American craft beer; what more could one ask for? How about more beer and a discount?

On August 23, 2014, Taste of Brews returns to Lighthouse Park for the 4th Annual Taste of Brews Long Beach. If you thought 40 craft breweries was good, you are going to love it this year with about 50 craft breweries participating. When I looked through the list of participating breweries compared to last year I noticed that many perennial favorites such as Stone Brewing Company, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing Lagunitas, Strand Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing will be returning; but we will also be joined by such powerhouses as Ballast Point, Pizza Port, Clownshoes and Coronado Brewing along with some of Southern California’s newest craft breweries like Absolution Brewing Company and Venice Duck Brewery.

taste of brews 2013

Good beer with good friends

In addition to all the great beer and what promises to be another beautiful day for the beach there will be live music and food trucks including Urban Pie, Viking Truck, Porko Rico, Dogzilla, Slammin’ Sliders and Bacon Mania. Local restaurants Stonefire Grill, Slater’s 50/50 and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company will be providing food samples for attendees to enjoy. Pricing currently starts at $32.50 for the 3-hour session (1pm to 4pm) and $42.50 for the 4-hour session (noon to 4pm) which includes unlimited beer tasters, drinking water, food samples (while available), access to food trucks and live entertainment. A limited number of designated driver tickets will be available at the door for $20.00. As should be expected, all attendees must be 21 or older. Now, because you have read this far you get a special deal; how about $7.00 off each ticket Continue reading

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