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.Continue reading
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
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
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
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
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
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
If you are a fan of Firestone Walker Brewing Company, this was a great week to be close to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) as Shane Kral, Regional Sales Manager at Firestone Walker hosted two tap takeovers featuring several hard to find Firestone brews. This gallery covers both events; the first being held Wednesday evening at Brewster’s Beererie which is located in Four Points by Sheraton and the second held Thursday evening at the Tapas Bar located in the Whole Foods El Segundo.
Wednesday’s event at Brewster’s Beererie featured an amazing selection of Firestone Walker brews; Bretta Weisse, Agrestic and Pivo Hoppy Pils got us started which was followed by 2012 Double DBA, 2013 Sucaba, 2013 Velvet Merkin, Wookey Jack and Double Jack. In addition to these fantastic craft beers, attendees were able to take home a wide selection of Firestone Walker glassware. I had to donate some books to my local library to make room for all the new glassware additions.
While Wednesday evening selection of Firestone Walker delicacies might seem tough to beat, it was really just a warmup for what Shane brought to Whole Foods on Thursday. The event started off with Firestone’s Union Jack and Opal; then kicked it up a notch featuring a Parabola vertical flight with Parabola 2012, 2013 and 2014! I have to say, that alone would have made it a great event for the craft beer aficionado but that was just part of it. It turned out that the Whole Foods beer buyer, José, had somehow saved up some very select bottles that were sold at retail prices. Some were less expensive than if you drove to Buellton or Paso Robles. They had Firestone XV and XVII, 2014 Stickee Monkee, 2013 and 2014 Sucaba, 2013 and 2014 Parabola and 2013 Velvet Merkin available to take home; which we did. As if all this great beer was not enough, Firestone Walker’s own David Walker came out to meet some of Firestone’s fans, talking about their beers and the progress of the upcoming taproom and brewery in Venice. Continue reading
The craft breweries that will be represented include El Segundo Brewing, Monkish Brewing, Smog City Brewing, Golden Road Brewing, Eagle Rock Brewing, The Dudes’ Brewing, Strand Brewing, Angel City Brewing, Cosmic Ales, Bootlegger’s Brewery, The Brewery at Abigaile, King Harbor Brewing, Congregation Ale House, Absolution Brewing and Ohana Brewing Company.
While you may be familiar with many of these breweries, you never know what they may bring with them. Last year, El Segundo Brewing Company used the event to introduce their Casa Azul Pale Lager, so I look forward to seeing what might show up at the 4th Annual Local Craft Beer Fest. Two of the breweries, Absolution Brewing Company and King Harbor Brewing Company, were still in the planning stages last year at this time; so if you have not had an opportunity to try their brews yet this will be a great opportunity. This year’s event will include a brewer panel where representatives from a few of the local breweries will discuss the local craft beer scene, the origins of their brand and field questions from the audience. Continue reading
These photos are of the June 2014 gathering of Business & Beer which was held Thursday evening at El Segundo Brewing Company. Business & Beer is an informal business networking group that was established in July of 2012 and currently meets of the second Thursday of every month at one of the tasting rooms or brewpubs found in the South Bay. This is a very informal group in that unlike other business networking groups there are no dues, no mandatory meetings and no restrictions on the type or number of businesses represented. The attendees cover a wide range of occupations including plumbing, accounting, insurance, web development and more. Frequently there will be members of the craft beer industry joining in, including professional brewers, home brewers and people that help new breweries get started. In a nutshell, everyone is welcome with the common denominator being that everyone enjoys craft beer. One of the advantages of joining the Business & Beer networking group is that you will have an opportunity to visit all the craft breweries the South Bay has to offer.
El Segundo Brewing Company had a full menu of their brews available both on tap and in bottles and everyone was able to find something they liked whether it was a hoppy Two 5 Left DIPA, a malty Station No. 1 red ale or a rich Standard Crude Imperial Stout. El Segundo Brewing Company is located at 140 Main Street in El Segundo. Cheers! Continue reading