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Dog Adoption Sunday at Brouwerij West

These photos are from the Dog Adoption Sunday event held at Brouwerij West this past Sunday afternoon. The Los Angeles Animal Services and ARF Harbor Shelter brought six dogs to the Brouwerij West tasting room for adoption; I know at least two of them found new homes that day. I have to say, I had an opportunity to meet most (if not all) of them, and they were really very well-behaved dogs. I kept thinking they must have brought the cream of the crop.

In addition to the adoptable dogs, many others brought their pups to the obviously dog friendly tasting room and they all seemed to enjoy the company of the others. ARF Harbor Shelter is looking for homes for their residents and I am sure volunteers are always welcome.

I also had a personal first, and that was my first time having chorizo. Apparently I had it from one of the best, The Chori Man; a fourth generation chorizo artisan from San Pedro. I definitely recommend stopping by if you see his food tent set up anywhere. Cheers! Continue reading

Hoppy 2nd Birthday at Absolution Brewing Company

These photos are from Absolution Brewing Company’s Hoppy 2nd Birthday celebration that was held at the production brewery’s Torrance location on Saturday, March 5. The event featured the release of their Anniversary Ale which was featured on CO2 and cask, as well as cask versions of Angel’s Demise, Fallen Archangel and Padre Bravo.

For entertainment, the overcast day began with the bluesy sounds of Nasty Bad Habit; then as the day cleared up a bit the rocking music of Barley Legal kept everyone on their feet. Since it would be irresponsible to provide so much beer and not have food, there were two options available; Barley Hops Grill and Felice Italian Catering.

Several hundred people showed up throughout the course of the day, many from as far as San Diego where Absolution’s roots sprouted; and one guy from Milwaukee showed up. It was kind of funny because I met him a year or so ago at The Bruery but he did not know the party was going on and I did not know he was back in town; he just happened to be around and showed up. He really enjoyed the tasting room scene as they have mostly brewpubs in his part of the country and brewpubs tend to be less social than a tasting room. Continue reading

Photos of the Brouwerij West Grand Opening

On Saturday, San Pedro’s latest production brewery opened their doors to the general public as Brouwerij West held their grand opening. To say it was well attended would be on the same level as suggesting beer is damp. When I was at Brouwerij West on Friday evening for the Founders’ Club pre-opening party I was speaking with the ever humble co-owner and head brewer, Brian Mercer, and he seemed to have concerns on whether people would show up the next day or not. When their event coordinator asked me how many people I thought would show up, I guessed that they would probably hit 1,000 with ease. The event began at noon, when I arrived a little after 3:00 I immediately knew I had severely underestimated the turnout. I had failed to take into consideration how supportive San Pedro residents are to their local businesses. I would be willing to bet they had at least 2,000 people show up throughout the course of the day.

Update: On Sunday evening Brian Mercer texted me to say that they actually had 4,500 people attend their event with a maximum of 1,500 at any point in the day. I don’t know who else around here could handle a day like that with virtually no issues other than maybe running out of a couple beers. They are definitely to be congratulated.

While most craft beer tasting rooms could not handle a group of that size, Brouwerij West has a couple advantages over the others. Their tasting room is huge and they have a large area outside that not only took care of the overflow of people, but it also held four food trucks, an auxiliary pouring station and a stage for the live entertainment. If there is any brewery around here that is built for a crowd as large as they had Saturday, Brouwerij West is the place. Continue reading

Strand Brewing Company Ribbon Cutting Photos

On Thursday afternoon, production brewery Strand Brewing Company officially opened their new Dominguez Street location with a ribbon cutting attended by numerous city and state representatives, the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce and lots of friends and family. One might venture to say that while the group of a couple hundred probably would not fit in the doors of the old Telo location, the crowd began to make the new tasting room somewhat full for the first time since they opened the doors at this new location. A quick note about parking; if the parking lot looks full, there is additional parking on the north side of the building; that is the same side the food trucks set up.

The numerous attendees enjoyed their choice of brews including Beach House, 24th Street, Atticus, Batch 100, White Sand, Expression Session and Harvest Ball. Currently, 24th Street is the only beer brewed on the new system but that should be changing soon. For those with an appetite, the Barley Hops Grill was serving up plenty of their pulled pork treats.

Strand Brewing Company’s Grand Opening Weekend continues Friday, October 23 from 4:00-9:00 PM when they will have the BreadCrumbs Gourmet Sandwiches available for food. On Saturday, Strand will be open from noon until 9:00 PM, featuring the return of Barley Hops Grill; and the weekend will finish on Sunday when they will be open from noon until 8:00 PM and will feature the Brew Wings food truck. Strand Brewing Company is now located at 2201 Dominguez Street in Torrance. Continue reading

6th Annual BAM Fest Coming October 10 – Promo Code

BAM Fest attendee

Join the fun at BAM Fest 2015

It is that time of year again; the 6th Annual Beer, Art & Music Festival (BAM Fest) will be held Saturday afternoon, October 10, 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 this fundraiser.

This will be my fourth time attending BAM Fest and all I can say is that if you enjoy craft beer, live in the Los Angeles area and have never attended BAM Fest, you are doing yourself a disservice. From the first time I attended in 2012 I have been nothing but impressed; and the event just seems to get bigger and better every year and 2015 appears to be no exception.

The current list of beer and cider vendors totals 38, with six food trucks available to pair with your favorite beer and live music provided by three groups. Continue reading

Photos from the 2015 Taste of Brews Long Beach

These photos are of the 2015 Taste of Brews Long Beach which was held Saturday afternoon at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach. The event featured dozens of craft breweries, food trucks, live music, games and great weather. A portion of the proceeds from this event were donated to the Long Beach Marine Institute.

As you know, I attend a lot of beer festivals; and there is no question that some are a lot better than others. For me personally, I like to find the breweries and beers that I have never had before. With the number of beer festivals that are held around here every year, I have come to accept that this goal is going to be more difficult with each successive beer festival I attend. The thing about Taste of Brews Long Beach is that they could have the same beer every year and I would return just because it is a great venue to hold a festival.

Yesterday was my third time attending Taste of Brews and this event just keeps getting better. There were supposed to be between 60 and 70 breweries; I did not count them but there was beer enough for everyone. The food trucks were spread around evenly throughout the park and there were two stages for the live music which featured The Tomcats and RedEye Redemption. And then there was the beer. Continue reading

A Visit to the L.A. Arts District: Mumford Brewing & Angel City

If you have been following along you know that on Saturday I was at the BEERS Summer Fest in downtown Los Angeles. As the day approached I could see by the weather reports that it was going to be a hot day in DTLA, and unless The Chair parking lot, where the event was being held, had a lot of trees it was going to have to be a pretty entertaining event for me to stay long. Luckily, I knew that Mumford Brewing was just a couple miles away and I knew Angel City was walking distance from there, so I had a backup plan. If not for the BEERS festival, I was going to save my visit to the L.A. Arts District breweries for when everyone was up and running. I had heard good things about Mumford and I think Angel City’s location is one of the more interesting breweries to photograph so it did not take much convincing to head over to the Arts District for some exploring.

When we arrived at Mumford Brewing I was not really sure what I thought. The exterior of the building was brightly colored, but as soon as you see the door you are greeted by the face of a stern Mr. Mumford and the first seating looked like something found in a hip or hep coffee shop. As I turned my gaze to the left I noticed the familiar chalkboards listing the available brews and a room that looked more like the tasting rooms I am familiar with; lots of concrete and basic tables with stools. There were not very many people at the time when compared to what I see in the South Bay breweries, but they had a fair number of customers. By the time we finished our flight it seemed like most tables had suddenly become occupied. Continue reading

Absolution Brewing Granted CUP Modification

Absolution Brewing crew

Absolution Brewing crew after CUP hearing

On Wednesday evening, Torrance production brewery Absolution Brewing Company appeared before the Torrance Planning Commission with a request to modify (MOD15-00001) their previously approved Conditional Use Permit (CUP13-00026). Absolution’s request included the ability to be open seven days a week, to have food trucks, hold special events and to have live entertainment. Most of Absolution’s requests were granted; the only one that was not was the request to have live entertainment.

When Absolution Brewing Company appeared before the Planning Commission in November of 2013, the standard operating hours of the existing Torrance tasting rooms were pretty much Thursday through Sunday, with the hours of 4:00-9:00 PM on Thursday and Friday; noon until 9:00 on Saturdays and noon until 6:00 PM on Sundays. When Absolution submitted for their Conditional Use Permit they requested that they be allowed to be open from 3:00 until 9:00 PM on Wednesday and Thursday; 11:00 AM until 9:00 PM on Friday and Saturday and noon until 6:00 PM on Sunday. I remember wondering whether or not Absolution would be able to justify being open that many hours a week; it is one thing to have permission from the city, but it is another to have enough of a demand to make it worthwhile to be open that long. Well, time has proven that they can justify being open on the additional days and some of the other Torrance breweries have followed their lead and are now open on Wednesday’s as well. Recently, Strand Brewing Company and Monkish Brewing Company have appeared before the Planning Commission and were given permission to hold private events on Mondays and Tuesdays; Absolution decided to take it a step further and request that they be allowed to be open on Monday through Thursday from 3:00-10:00 PM; Friday and Saturday 10:00 AM until 10:00 PM and noon until 10:00 PM on Sunday.

Although the Planning Department was not entirely in favor of allowing Absolution the ability to be open on Monday and Tuesday, primarily because it had not been done before in Torrance, after hearing arguments in favor of allowing the extended hours, the Planning Commission allowed the extended hours as requested along with the ability to have food trucks and to hold special events. Continue reading

Absolution Brewing Company Celebrates One Year

These photos are from Absolution Brewing Company’s one year anniversary party that was held at their tasting room this past Saturday. While Absolution may have gotten off to a shaky start with their Grand Opening that found several brews tapping out before the day was over, I do not think anyone that has watched their progress over the past year can deny that Absolution Brewing has weathered the storm and have established themselves as a brewery that will be here for the long run.

When Absolution Brewing first opened the initial goal was to gain acceptance with the style of beers they brewed. Using “Old World styles and New World ingredients” their beers are not your typical “west coast” style; for example, you would never confuse any of their IPAs with any of the others brewed around here. Variety is what prevents over-saturation, so their style was welcomed by me and obviously many others as their tasting room always seems to have a nice group sampling their beers.

In November their original head brewer, Wes McCann, moved back east as his wife was transferred; so Absolution was forced to find a replacement which they did by bringing in Bart Bullington. The change in style and recipes was noticed almost immediately; Bullington’s tweaks to McCann’s recipes seemed to be just what Absolution needed to satisfy the palates of South Bay beer drinkers. 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

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