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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

Vegan Oktoberfest Photos

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

Photos from The Dudes’ Brewing Company Grand Opening

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

Taste of Brews’ Oktoberfest October 4: PROMO CODE

Oktoberfest promo

Oktoberfest October 4

While it may not feel like it weather-wise around here, it is that time of year again; autumn, which means Oktoberfest will be celebrated from Munich to Shanghai; from Canberra to Blumenau and now from Torrance to Corona. Taste of Brews will be having their inaugural Taste of Brews’ Oktoberfest on Saturday October 4 from noon until 5:00 PM at Crossroads Riverview Park in Corona.

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

5th Annual BAM Fest coming October 26: Promo Code


Join us at BAM Fest 2014

The 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica will hold their 5th Annual Beer, Art & Music Festival on Sunday October 26, 2014. This annual event is a fundraiser for the 18th Street Arts Center, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. This is also 18 Street’s 25th anniversary and all the proceeds from BAM Fest go to their support of many of Los Angeles’ most engaging and diverse artists. This afternoon beer, art and music festival will include more than 40 craft breweries, open artist studios, live music, and contemporary art crash courses.

So far, the craft breweries that will be in attendance are Anchor Brewing Company, Angel City Brewery, Angry Orchard, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, Beachwood BBQ and Brewing, Bootlegger’s Brewery Tasting Room and Pilot Brewery, Boston Beer Company, Brasserie d’Achouffe, Ommegang, Deschutes Brewery, Dogfish Head Beer, The Dudes’ Brewing Co., Drake’s Brewing, Duvel, Eagle Rock Brewery, Einstök Icelandic Craft Ale, El Segundo Brewing Co., Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Golden Road Brewing, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Kinetic Brewing Company, Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie, Lagunitas Brewing Co, Liefmans on the rocks, New Belgium Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Phantom Carriage Brewery, Port Town Brewing Company, Santa Monica Brew Works, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Smog City Brewery, Stone Brewing Co., Surf Brewery, Venice Duck Brewery and Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing Co.


We want you to join us at BAM Fest 2014

Continue reading

Photos from the 4th Annual Taste of Brews – Long Beach

On Saturday afternoon, about 3,000 people gathered at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach to sample beers brewed by more than 50 different breweries while enjoying the great weather, live music and foods provided by local restaurants Stonefire Grill, Slater’s 50/50 and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and several food trucks. A portion of the proceeds from this year’s Taste of Brews went to the Long Beach Marine Institute and the 1st Marine Division out of Camp Pendleton.

This was my second time attending Taste of Brews and it was definitely larger than last year’s event with probably 25% more breweries and 50% more attendees. While there more people, there were more breweries with several last minute additions. The lines for some breweries were noticeably longer for some than others, but no one seemed to mind and the beer poured quickly. In fact, a few breweries tapped out within a couple hours; presumably because more tickets were sold than anticipated. Some of the breweries, like Firestone Walker, were well prepared with plenty of brews but as the event drew to a close, even they had poured the last of their brews before the event officially ended. Continue reading

4th Annual Taste of Brews Long Beach Promo Code

Taste of Brews 2013

Taste of Brews Long Beach

Over the past few years I have had the privilege of attending quite a few craft beer festivals; they may range in size from less than 100 to close to 1,000. Some were held in parking lots, others on movie sound stages. I have attended events that specialized in American craft beers or European craft beers or even more specifically barrel-aged and sours. The point being that I have been to many beer fests at a wide variety of venues with many styles of beer featured. While most of these festivals have had one thing or another going for them, be it venue or featured beers, there is one beer festival that stands out for me and that would be last year’s Taste of Brews Long Beach.

There is a good reason why that event stands out and that is because it had everything going for it. They had over 40 craft breweries, some wine vendors, live music, good food, fun people and it was at the beach! Held at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach, across the channel from the Queen Mary it really was the most perfect location for any festival of any type that I can recall attending. Beautiful weather with cooling ocean breezes and a wide selection of American craft beer; what more could one ask for? How about more beer and a discount?

On August 23, 2014, Taste of Brews returns to Lighthouse Park for the 4th Annual Taste of Brews Long Beach. If you thought 40 craft breweries was good, you are going to love it this year with about 50 craft breweries participating. When I looked through the list of participating breweries compared to last year I noticed that many perennial favorites such as Stone Brewing Company, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing Lagunitas, Strand Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing will be returning; but we will also be joined by such powerhouses as Ballast Point, Pizza Port, Clownshoes and Coronado Brewing along with some of Southern California’s newest craft breweries like Absolution Brewing Company and Venice Duck Brewery.

taste of brews 2013

Good beer with good friends

In addition to all the great beer and what promises to be another beautiful day for the beach there will be live music and food trucks including Urban Pie, Viking Truck, Porko Rico, Dogzilla, Slammin’ Sliders and Bacon Mania. Local restaurants Stonefire Grill, Slater’s 50/50 and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company will be providing food samples for attendees to enjoy. Pricing currently starts at $32.50 for the 3-hour session (1pm to 4pm) and $42.50 for the 4-hour session (noon to 4pm) which includes unlimited beer tasters, drinking water, food samples (while available), access to food trucks and live entertainment. A limited number of designated driver tickets will be available at the door for $20.00. As should be expected, all attendees must be 21 or older. Now, because you have read this far you get a special deal; how about $7.00 off each ticket Continue reading

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