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El Segundo

Rock & Brews’ 5th Annual Local Craft Beer Fest

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

Business & Beer visits the new ESBC tasting room

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

Coming Soon to El Segundo: Rubens Distilling & Brewing

Rubens street view

Rubens Distilling & Brewing

As you might imagine, I hear a lot of rumors about what may or may not be happening as far as the craft beer scene in this area. As a result, I get asked questions like, “What is happening with Strand Brewing Company’s old brewhouse?” Well, while the fermenting tanks are moving to their new Dominguez location, the brewhouse is moving to a new home in El Segundo; Rubens Distilling & Brewing. Yes, I said distilling and brewing. Wednesday morning I made a visit to the home of this future distillery and craft brewery and met Rob Rubens, the owner of Rubens Distilling & Brewing to find out a little more about what the plans are.

Rubens grew up in Illinois and he has relatives that opened a speakeasy in Chicago during Prohibition, so I guess one could say that whiskey is in his blood. Rubens Distilling & Brewing will be the first combination distillery and brewery in the Los Angeles area, and one of three in the state; the others being Ballast Point and Anchor Steam.

Rubens today

Future distillery and brewery

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A Review of LA Beer Week 2015

LABW7 schedule

Unity release at Smog City Brewing

It has been a week or so now since LA Beer Week 2015 (LABW7) and I think I am ready to give a review of the “week-long” event. I say “week-long” because LABW7 officially ran from June 20-28 but some venues started celebrating early and others ended on the 27th. Heck, Smog City Brewing held their Unity (the official beer of LA Beer Week) bottle release on the Wednesday before, and Absolution Brewing released their LA Beer Week brew, AD/JD on Thursday. No matter when you started, it was a very long week with some very good beers to be found. There are a few events I attended but did not write about; if you want to see those photos please visit my Facebook page.

The LA Beer Week Kickoff Party was held Saturday, June 20 at Exposition Park. I have to be honest, even though I have been documenting LA Beer Week since LABW4 in 2012 I have never attended any of their kickoff events. This was due primarily to preconceived misconceptions of what a madhouse it would be; plus I really do not like driving to DTLA. On the Wednesday before the kickoff party I happened to notice an email that came in from Absolution Brewing to members of their Mug Club in which they were offering VIP tickets to the first five “Muggers” that asked for them. I asked Tanya if she wanted to go and she responded immediately with, “No!.” This was because I had been saying we were not going for the past week, so I think she was just making sure I knew she was okay with it.

As I was going to the Torrance City Hall that night anyway for a Planning Commission hearing and Absolution was basically on the way home, it was decided that we would stop by after the Planning Commission hearing and see if any passes were still available. In other words, I was going to let others have an opportunity to score the passes before me. We showed up to Absolution shortly before they closed and no one had claimed any of the passes, so we decided to attend the kickoff.

Absolution Brewing staff

Thank you to Absolution Brewing for the VIP passes

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LA Beer Week 2015: Friday at Smog City & El Segundo Brewing

The 2015 LA Beer Week (#LABW7) is flowing along with more beer and events than any one human can possibly keep up with; I know I definitely took it a lot easier this year than in past. Anyway, it is Friday and I guess it is day seven of LA Beer Week. As I have an early event on Saturday, Euro Bierfest at Alpine Village, I decided to keep it mellow Friday night. Smog City had San Diego beerlebrity, Nate Soroko in attendance as a guest bartender.

Soroko is the chef at Toronado in San Diego, and a pretty well-known beer aficionado in the San Diego area. I happened to run into him in early 2014 during a visit to Alpine Beer Company. I was taking pictures and someone told me I should take his photo too as he was a big deal; so I did. After formally meeting him tonight I came away with the fact that he is a nice guy; and he likes his beer. While I did not see Soroko actually “tend bar” he did sweep people off their feet and had a couple chugging contests that he dominated; but I am not entirely sure he won the last one. Dan’s mug was pretty dry. Continue reading

Day One Hammerland at El Segundo Brewing Company

In early February, El Segundo Brewing Company’s Hammerland DIPA was chosen as best in show at the 15th annual Double IPA Festival at the Bistro in Hayward, California. El Segundo Brewing Company had already planned on bottling Hammerland but with the awarding of their first ever medal they decided to turn the bottle release into a party.

They opened early Friday for those that had the day off and the tasting room began filling up as soon as the doors opened. They had a big party scheduled for Friday evening, which was undoubtedly a great time but I already had other plans so I headed down there early.

There is still plenty of Hammerland DIPA available, so head on down to El Segundo Brewing Company this weekend to try some; it is delicious. Congratulations to the entire crew at El Segundo Brewing. Cheers! Continue reading

Photos from Crude, Cocoa and Donuts at El Segundo Brewing Company

On Sunday afternoon, El Segundo Brewing Company held their Crude, Cocoa and Donuts Christmas Party along with their Second Annual Ugly Sweater Contest. The event was held in conjunctions with the El Segundo Main Street Christmas Parade, which took place right outside the door to the tasting room.

Crude, Cocoa and Donuts featured the return of Bourbon Barrel-Aged Standard Crude, as well as Standard Crude on Cask along with all the other wonderful brews currently on the El Segundo Brewing Company tap list. For the kids there was free cocoa along with cinnamon and sugar donuts. Rumor has it that these paired well with the Standard Crude; I would not doubt it.

The Ugly Sweater Contest first place winners Matthew McIvor and Jennalee Infanto won a penny growler fill for every month of 2015, a set of glassware and an ESBC shirt and hat. Second place winner Z Dewart won a penny pint for every week of 2015. I took third place winning a tour and tasting for four; stay tuned on this as I will come up with a contest to share this prize with people that have installed the Craft Beer Guy mobile app or follow the Craft Beer Guy Facebook page. Cheers! Continue reading

Small Business Saturday and Craft Beer

November 29 was Small Business Saturday and I suppose if you did not know that, you should not feel like the Lone Ranger. First established in 2010, Small Business Saturday takes place the first Saturday following Thanksgiving and is meant to coincide with Black Friday and Cyber Monday but with the idea that we should “Buy Local” and is targeted towards brick and mortar, mom and pop shops. To be honest, I am not sure that this is being promoted very well. The only advertising I noticed were specials that seemed to require owning and using an American Express card (probably because American Express is such a mom and pop operation); and the City of Torrance declared November 29 through December 6 as Small Business Week. I am not sure that anyone that did not attend last week’s city council meeting would know this though.

Since I like to do my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve, Small Business Saturday would take a different twist for me. I decided I would spend Saturday visiting small businesses that specialized in craft beer, with an emphasis on Torrance businesses since our mayor did request residents to support Torrance business.

We started off by going to Torrance’s first production brewery, Strand Brewing Company. Strand Brewing opened five years ago and is always a crowd favorite due to a combination of great beer and a very personable Rich Marcello, co-owner and the main sales guy. His enthusiasm for their product is contagious and that has a lot to do with their success. The tasting room is on the small side and can fill up quickly, but everyone just seems to start talking to whomever is close and by the time you leave you have a new friend. Continue reading

Finding Craft Beer: The Mega Stores

As much as I like to support local business; sometimes it just makes sense to shop at the major chains. This can hold true whether you are buying tires for your car or craft beer for your fridge. My last article about the local bottle shops was an article that I have been planning on writing for several months, but I wanted to give one of the locations a chance to finish some construction first. Initially I was going to compare two independent bottle shops to Total Wine, after I discovered that Costco had a wide selection of craft beer I decided that I would write two articles; the last one about the local independents, and another about the chains that carried craft beer. This article will visit Total Wine & More in Redondo Beach, Costco in Hawthorne and Whole Foods in El Segundo. You should probably know this going in, not all Costco or Whole Foods are created equal; not all locations are as good as those visited for this article.

Of any place I go to buy craft beer, Total Wine in Redondo Beach gets more of my business than probably everywhere else combined. The reasons for this are many, but the main reason is that it is basically across the street. It takes almost as much time to drive and park as it does to walk there. The convenience factor is strong with this one. The second thing is that they carry about 3,000 different varieties of beer and you can purchase individual bottles/cans so experimenting is a piece of cake. Not only do they carry American craft beers but their International beer selection is better than any place I have ever been. Their pricing is usually very good; I have found locally brewed beers being sold for significantly less that it would cost at the tap room it came from.

As a tip, if you visit Total Wine, feel free to walk into the cooler; there are lots of surprises to be found including Pliny and Blind Pig. Most of the time there will be bottle limits, so bring your friends and neighbors. 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

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