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State Brewing Company: From the Beginning

Arguably, one of the most awaited tasting room openings in the South Bay has been that of State Brewing Company in Gardena. These photos have been taken at State Brewing, periodically since June of 2016 and through today, November 10, 2017; the official day of the beginning of State Brewing Company’s soft open.

When I first started going to State Brewing, they had a different brewer and a different idea of what kind of beers they would brew. At the beginning of 2017, State said farewell to their original brewer and welcomed Robert Sanchez and Rob Scott, both formerly of Kinetic Brewing, and things immediately changed. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2017: Louisiana

These photos were taken Saturday, October 21 at the Great Raft Brewing 4th Anniversary, in Shreveport, Louisiana.

As I spent the previous night in Vicksburg, which is on the east side of the Mississippi, and Louisiana is only a couple hours wide from the Mississippi border to Texas, I was going to have to plan this well if I wanted to visit any breweries in Louisiana. Fortunately, a name that kept coming up in conversation east of the Mississippi was Great Raft Brewing. Great Raft is located in Shreveport which is almost on the Louisiana/Texas border. Since it was a 2 1/2 hour drive from Vicksburg to Shreveport, and Great Raft opens at noon on Saturdays, I figured I would be able to arrive at Great Raft close to opening time, making it easy to try a few beers and snap some photos prior to moving on to Texas. I have to admit, I was pretty surprised when I arrived shortly after they opened only to discover their parking lot was full and I was going to have to park at a second lot down the street. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2017: Alabama and Mississippi

These photos were taken in Anniston, Alabama on October 19; and various parts of Mississippi on October 20, as I continued to work my way home.

There is something to be said for technology, but sometimes I wish I at least carried a decent paper map with me since trying to see the big picture on an S4’s screen is a lot easier said than done. When I left South Carolina I had decided that instead of taking I-20, I would take I-10. Unfortunately, I did not know what city to put in that would force my GPS to head to I-10 so I made a guess that was totally wrong. I would mention where I was, but I have no clue; I was not on an interstate, they were basically county roads. I was in the middle of nowhere South Carolina where it abuts nowhere Georgia. I also ended up on I-20.

What this meant for me craft beer-wise was that nothing in the part of Georgia I went through, including Atlanta, opened until 4:00 PM. I am sorry, but I was not going to stick around Atlanta for rush hour just to wait for a brewery to open. I will hit Georgia on another trip. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2017: South Carolina

These photos were taken over the course of two days; October 17 in Columbia and October 18 in Charleston, South Carolina.

When I left Charlotte, I set my sights for Blythewood, South Carolina where I would be spending the night with my brother Steve and his wife. A few weeks back I asked Steve if he had any favorite breweries we could visit; he responded that he had shared a flight once, with our dad, back in 2010. We were going to have to go another route.

Fortunately, Steve has friends that do know craft beer and we were directed to Conquest Brewing in Columbia. Conquest Brewing is a microbrewery that has been open about five years and is Columbia, South Carolina’s first production craft brewery. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2017: North Carolina

These photos were taken at Bond Brothers Beer Company, Heist Brewery, and The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery on October 16 and 17 as my Craft Beer Tour 2017 continued into North Carolina.

When I first decided I was going to take this trip I only had five specific destinations; GABF, Three Floyds, Grand Rapids, MI, Charleston, SC and Yuma, AZ. Everything else would just happen, sort of.

Shortly before I left for GABF I was talking to Beer Paper owner (formerly Beer Paper LA), Daniel Drennon about my plans. Since he knows people around the country, I thought he might have a couple of ideas for stops. He handed me a bundle of the latest issue of Beer Paper and asked me to deliver it to his friend Whit Baker, the Certified Cicerone Brewmaster at Bond Brothers Beer Company in Cary. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2017: Ohio

When I left off; my Craft Beer Tour 2017 was leaving the Grand Rapids area and honestly, I was not sure which way I wanted to go. As I saw it, I had two ways I could venture. On the one hand, I have had very little time in New England and the leaves were beginning to change colors, so that would be cool. On the other hand, I knew I was going to head down to the Carolinas, so New England would add another couple thousand miles to my trip. I would have been okay with that, but literally everywhere I went saw their weather worsen with my arrival!

I am not kidding, every evening I would get an alert on my phone that the weather would be anywhere from 10 to 20 degrees cooler the next day. I had people in North Carolina suggest I was Old Man Winter; relatives in South Carolina apologized for not having enough blankets, because “it never gets this cold.” I even heard the Dallas-Fort Worth weatherman say that they may have just experienced their last hot day of the year. Heck, even when I got home it was 102 at 2:00 PM; 24 hours later it was 73. I was getting a little paranoid as I had not really packed for inclement weather. I decided I could not risk the weather in New England and decided to head south instead. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2017: Nebraska

When the Brewers Association offered me the opportunity to cover the 2017 Great American Beer Festival I decided that I would use the opportunity to visit some of my siblings and perhaps enjoy some craft beer along the way. These photos were taken at Blue Blood Brewing, Zipline Brewing, Upstream Brewing, and Kros Strain Brewing. Continue reading

GABF 2017: The Warmups

These photos are from Wednesday in Denver as the city and I prepared for the 2017 Great American Beer Festival.

My day started at the Colorado Convention Center, where I picked up my media credentials for GABF which begins on Thursday evening. Wednesday was set aside for brewers, sponsors and media to get checked in and while I was there a pretty steady stream of participants came in to register. I could peek into the venue, but I will not be allowed in until Thursday so I did not bother trying to photograph it; instead I went looking for a beer. My first stop was Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery. Continue reading

The Road to GABF: Day One

Thanks to the Brewers Association, I am attending my first Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver, Colorado. As I have recently become the patriarch of my family, I decided that I would drive to Denver so I could use it as my jumping off point for my Craft Beer Tour 2017.

I left Monday morning, but got a later than planned start, which ended up messing with my scheduled craft beer stops; those being Zion Brewery and Moab Brewery. Because of my late start, Zion ended up being too far off I-15 for me to make the detour. After that, there just was nothing along the way in Utah. My advice is that if you are traveling through southern Utah, bring some craft beer with you; the drive is beautiful, but dry.

So, while the title of this article is The Road to GABF: Day One, the photos do not really begin until Tuesday, when I arrived in Grand Junction, Colorado and visited Kannah Creek Brewing Company. Continue reading

Taking a San Diego Beercation with Travelocity

I have traveled to breweries up and down the state and ventured east as far as Indiana and Louisiana but even though it is only a couple hours away, I have not covered much in the San Diego area. With more than 100 breweries in San Diego County, I had visited a total of two; Alpine Beer Company in Alpine, and Stone Brewing’s Escondido location. The main reason for this is probably because a trip to San Diego for a beer tour would pretty much require an overnight stay and a convenient time just never came up. About a month ago I received an email asking if I would like to join Travelocity on an overnight beercation in San Diego; my convenient time had arrived. The fact that it was during San Diego Beer Week was just icing on the cake.

Our group consisted of a variety of foodies, travel influencers and two beer writers; we would be staying at the Pearl Hotel and visit AleSmith Brewing, Ballast Point, Mission Brewing and end with dinner at Stone’s Liberty Station location. We were transported around the different breweries by HotShots Brewery Tours. The reason for the invitation was that Travelocity has realized how big craft beer is around the country and that people are traveling specifically to try craft beer; so they created a beer tourism index. Everything we did can be booked via Travelocity. Continue reading

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