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
On the second Wednesday of every month, Jimmy’s Bar & Grill in Redondo Beach holds a beer dinner featuring a specific craft brewery; frequently they pair up with one of our local breweries. Last night the four course meal was paired with fine brews from El Segundo Brewing Company. As I mentioned before, Marc Dix is the chef/partner at Jimmy’s and he is one of the owners of Barley Hops Grill, a popular food truck frequently seen at various tasting rooms; this has enabled Dix to do in-depth research and chose the perfect beer for the dishes he serves. I have the opportunity to attend many beer dinners and I can say without reservation that it would be tough to find anywhere that puts in as much effort and thought as Dix does for the Jimmy’s beer dinners.
While these dinners are four courses, they always start off with a beer to get your taste buds flowing; last night we began with a Citra Pale Ale. The first course was a chicken thigh brined in Mayberry IPA, with a butternut squash, coconut milk puree that was amazing; naturally it was paired with the Mayberry IPA.
The second course consisted of a baby spinach and kale salad with roasted mushrooms and goat cheese with an orange-bacon vinaigrette. The bacon almost made you forget you were eating a salad. This was paired with a Hop Tanker DIPA. Continue reading
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
It seems like only yesterday that I was reporting that the City of Torrance had granted production brewery Absolution Brewing Company their Conditional Use Permit. The reality is that it was just two years ago, November 19, 2013 that Absolution appeared before the Planning Commission. In that time they have gotten a new brewer, Bart Bullington; as the initial brewer, Wes McCann went back east to brew when his wife was reassigned in the Navy. They bottled a barrel-aged brew and then began brewing in Denver so they could begin bottling six-packs of their Cardinal Sin red ale and Angel’s Demise IPA. Now they have removed their original brewhouse and have begun some pretty massive expansion at the Torrance tasting room.
Today I was there when they received a new boiler and three new 30 bbl fermenters. When I spoke with Bullington about their immediate plans, they plan on getting five more 30 bbl fermenters but in the meantime they will utilize the 15 and 20 bbl fermenters they started with. A couple more brite tanks are on the way as I write this; I will go back tomorrow and see what else is new.
Absolution has stocked up on a few of their brews, but some options will be removed from the tap list as the expansion proceeds and some tap out. If push comes to shove they can get some of their beer back from the distributor, but they have enough to hold them over for a while. They hope to be brewing again by the end of the year. Continue reading
These photos were taken Sunday afternoon at the El Segundo Rock & Brews Garden on Main 5th Annual Local Craft Beer Fest. The family and pet friendly event featured beers by 16 breweries, from Valencia to Redlands and all over the South Bay area. Included in the price of admission, attendees were treated to a nice barbecue, a raffle, face painting, and games for people of all ages.
A few of the breweries in attendance included Absolution Brewing, Strand, El Segundo, Three Weavers, Phantom Carriage and Barley Forge. There was also a first time attendee for any festival I have attended, Reel Brewery. Reel Brewery is currently contract brewing but hope to open a tasting room in 2016 in Van Nuys, around the corner from MacLeod’s. I noticed that Santa Monica Brew Works was converting people with their PCH – Pale Chocolate Heaven. I tried Reel Brewery’s Hollywood Pilsner which was their take on Firestone’s Pivo Pils with their heavy dry-hopping; it was interesting enough that I look forward to visiting their tasting room when it does open. Continue reading
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
As I am sure everyone is aware of by now, October 21, 2015 was “Back to the Future Day.” The reason being, in “Back to the Future Part II,” Marty McFly travels to October 21, 2015 to save his future children. To be honest, I had to Google that part because I never saw any of the Back to the Future trilogy beyond the original; and I only saw that once, 30+ years ago.
While I may not be enough of a geek to know much about Back to the Future beyond Doc Brown, Marty McFly, flux capacitors, hooverboards and DeLorean, the cast and crew of Smog City Brewing are geek central. They used October 21 to not only celebrate Back to the Future but they did it in a big way by releasing their first ever triple IPA, 1.21 Gigawatts Triple IPA.
In addition to 1.21 Gigawatts Triple IPA, they also released their Hooverboards Don’t Run On Wet Hops, a pale ale done with hops they grew outside; and Run For It Marty!, a Belgian Dubbel. For entertainment and something to do while standing in line, they played the movie along the wall. People that came in costume got a discount on their beer and a chance to win prizes.
If I traveled into the future and ended up at Smog City yesterday, I doubt I would have left. Cheers! Continue reading
Readers may recall that at the beginning of October I was invited to an advanced tasting of Guinness’ new Nitro IPA; while the beer and meal was quite nice, the best part of the evening was meeting a couple Guinness representatives, Keith Dunne and Jonathan Urch who had hosted the event. Dunne came out from St. James’ Gate in Dublin while Urch came out from New York City. By the end of the evening we had formed a pretty good relationship and before I left they informed me that they had one day to explore the LA craft beer scene and asked what breweries were a “must” to visit before they left. While we have several breweries that could fall under that category, one that really stands out is Beachwood Brewing & BBQ; after all, they won gold in 2013 and 2014 for Best Mid-Size and Best Large Brewpub at GABF. When I suggested Beachwood and told them of some of the awards they had received it was decided that we would meet at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing the next day. Dunne mentioned that it would be great if he could meet the owners and I said I would do my best.
I reached out to Beachwood’s Creative/Marketing Manager, Aaron Carroll and was informed that co-owner/head brewer Julian Shrago was out of town and the other co-owner, Gabe Gordon might be at the Seal Beach location but he would do what he could.
The next day we all met at Beachwood and the Guinness reps loved everything they tried. During our tastings Carroll joined us at our table and informed us that Gordon would not be available, however, he did invite us to tour the new Beachwood Blendery. They jumped on the opportunity. Continue reading
These photos are from the Business & Beer networking event that was held Thursday evening at El Segundo Brewing Company. As this was Business & Beer’s first return to El Segundo Brewing since they opened the new tasting room, there was a lower than expected turnout; although I did get a text 10 minutes after I left that a couple more people had arrived. Those that did attend were treated to pizza and some of Tanya’s mustards that she created using El Segundo’s White Dog IPA; it turns out that homemade mustard and pizza go pretty well together. And of course, there was the beer. El Segundo has a couple new brews up including Pine Tar Incident, Wet Hop Simcoe Pale and Spark Plug; of course, Power Plant has returned as well. In addition to the Free Beer drawing, Reverend Dee brought some Mystifying Mints that she gave away in a drawing.
Business & Beer is a small networking group that meets on the second Tuesday of every month and has been doing this for over three years. If you are a small business owner or networking is what you do and you enjoy craft beer, this is the group for you. Friendly people, no dues, great beer and they meet at all the production breweries and brewpubs in the South Bay that you have always wanted to visit. Next month they are meeting at the new Strand Brewing Company location. You can get on their mailing list, found on the BusinessNBeer website or Like them on Facebook to be kept in the loop. Cheers! Continue reading
Regular readers of my site may recall that back in March I visited a STACKED restaurant in Cerritos for a beer tasting put on by Craft Beer Guild Distributing. While we had a very good time exploring the STACKED menu and trying the various craft beers that had been presented, Cerritos is almost 20 miles from my home so the likelihood of my returning just for dinner was not very good. While we were at the Cerritos location I was informed that STACKED has four locations; Cerritos, Thousand Oaks, San Diego and Torrance, which is about five minutes from my home, so I made a mental note to check it out sometime.
As a result of my article the public relations company for STACKED began inviting me to events at their other locations; but as the invites were always to Thousand Oaks or San Diego the distance was just too far to justify the drive. After the last invitation I reminded them that I lived in the South Bay; I was then invited to visit the Torrance location. After a few emails back and forth, I was told to head over to the Torrance location and was given a couple names to ask for when I got there. When we arrived yesterday I found out that the two names were managers at the Cerritos location. This was not a good start.
Tanya and I went outside to decide where we would eat when Ashley Brown, manager for the Torrance STACKED came out and asked what brought us there in the first place. After hearing that there must have been a mix-up somewhere and not wanting to lose the opportunity for some exposure, Brown invited us back in. Continue reading