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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
On Saturday afternoon, Santa Monica was the site of what was billed as the first ever Vegan Oktoberfest. I happen to have several friends in Germany and when I asked them if they had ever heard of such a thing they agreed that this very likely was the first; it was definitely the first any of them had ever heard of.
Since it is October, it is beer festival season which means I usually have a couple events I can photograph on any given weekend and Saturday was no exception as the Taste of Brews Oktoberfest was happening in Corona while Vegan Oktoberfest was happening in Santa Monica. I am not a vegan by any stretch of the imagination but since triple digit temperatures were expected in Corona and it is three times further away I figured the Santa Monica was the logical choice; after all, you could see the ocean from the festival site, it had to be cooler. Well, if it was cooler it was not by much as the air temperature was in the high 90’s and combined with the event being held on an asphalt parking lot the numbers just went higher.
With 22 breweries represented at this inaugural event, there were plenty of options available for those that wanted beer to quench their thirst but it seemed to me that there were almost as many food vendors and the food lines were definitely longer than the beer lines. We tried one of the vegan options, a grilled cheese sandwich that had macaroni added as a filler. It was enough to make me not want to bother with any of the other food options; like I said, I am not a vegan and tofu is not a viable meat substitute in my opinion. Continue reading
It seems like we have been waiting forever, but the day has finally come; The Dudes’ Brewing Company has officially opened their tasting room to the public and the public turned out en masse. Even though they opened their doors at 3:00 PM, when most people are at work, there was a line forming by the time I got there; and I got there early. In the last minutes before the doors were officially opened, finish work and clean up was being completed on the new tap room. When the doors opened everyone lined up at the bar to order one of the many beers brewed by The Dudes’. The brews included the familiar Double Trunk, Grandma’s Pecan, Kolschtal Eddy, Blood Orange and Grinning Face with the not as well-known South Bay Session and the newly introduced California IPA and El Duderino Agave Wheat.
The grand opening continues Saturday and Sunday when The Dudes’ will be open from noon until 10:00 PM. Throughout the weekend various cask offerings will be made available along with giveaways and special beer pricing. There will also be food trucks for those seeking food.
The Dudes’ Brewing Company is located at 1840 W. 208th Street in Torrance. Their hours, for the time being, will be Thursdays and Fridays from 3:00-10:00 PM and 12:00-10:00 on Saturdays and Sundays. I had a few people come up and tell me that some of the brews that they had tried before seemed even better straight from the source, and I believe that would be tough to dispute. Welcome to the South Bay, Dudes. Cheers! Continue reading
Since this is their first Oktoberfest I cannot provide photos and a description of how much fun I had last year, but I have gone to two of the Taste of Brews Long Beach festivals and had a blast, so if history is any indicator, this should be another good time. Some of the breweries that will be in attendance are Inland Empire locals Black Market Brewery, Brew Rebellion, Bootlegger’s and I & I Brewing along with such beer festival regulars like Fireman’s Brew, Samuel Adams Brewery, Firestone Walker and BJ’s restaurant.
In addition to the beer, Oktoberfest provides live entertainment including Linda Herman’s Alpine Band and Inland Empire locals, The Tomcats. Of course there will be German foods available along with other food trucks. And since no Oktoberfest would be complete without dancing and games there will be Chicken Dance contests, beer stein endurance contests, balloon blowing contests and yodeling contests. Prizes will be awarded for best costumes, so if you own lederhosen this would be a great time to break it out.
There are two packages available for this event; the Bavarian, or the VIP package which includes three 14 ounce beers in a souvenir mug along with a 5 ounce sampling mug with 10 tastes. This package is limited to 250 sales. The Prost package includes a 5 ounce sampling mug with 10 tastes and two 10 or 12 ounce beers. Refills will be available for $5.00 at the venue’s discretion. The Bavarian package is $45/each and the Prost is $35/each; however, if you order early and use the PROMO CODE: CRAFTBEERGUY you will save $10 on each ticket purchased by September 21; after that, the promo code will save you $5.00 per ticket. Continue reading