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Founders Brewing Company

Craft Beer Tour 2017: West Michigan

These photos are of the breweries I visited in Michigan; in order, they were Founders Brewing (two visits), Bell’s Brewery, New Holland Brewing, Our Brewing, Rockford Brewing, Perrin Brewing, Elk Brewing, and Greyline Brewing Company.

After driving back and forth between Grand Rapids and Detroit, in the pouring rain, and another four hours of technical work, I was ready for Craft Beer Tour 2017 to get back on course. First stop would be the Founders Brewing taproom.

As we were pulling off the freeway it was easy to spot the huge red brick building with “Founders Brewing” emblazoned with yellow letters. As we were parking I could not but help notice the fermenters in the windows; they appeared to be three stories tall, but I could not see clearly enough to see where their feet were. I hoped I would have a good view of the brewhouse, because it looked a little too busy for me to ask for a quick personal tour like I do at the smaller breweries. Continue reading

Founders Brewing Company 20th Anniversary Photos

These photos were taken at the Founders Brewing Company 20 Anniversary party.

Sorry about the delay, but the days have been long and the Internet has been flaky at best. Just to ensure I get one update done tonight, I am going to go out of order for this article and present you photos from the Founders 20th anniversary party.

When I left off, Craft Beer Tour 2017 landed at Three Floyds; I would have loved to visit other places, but I had a real world appointment in Detroit on Wednesday morning, so I had to get to Grand Rapids that night; especially because my sister wanted to take me to dinner at Founders, I was too late to do it that night, so they would have to wait until I got back from Detroit that night. Continue reading

LMU Beer Festival 2016 Photos

These photos were taken Saturday at the LMU Beer Fest 2016, which was held on Hannon Field on the Loyola Marymount University campus. The event featured beer from 24 craft breweries, live music by Phoenix Rising, access to six food trucks and a few games of skill. As one person mentioned to me, it was one of the best inaugural events in recent memory.

The beer festival was hosted by the LMU Alumni Association and was a fundraiser to support student athletes through the Lions Athletic Fund. As it turns out there are a lot of brewery owners in the LA area that are LMU alumni, like Allison Kolb of Scholb Premium Ales and Tom Dunbabin of King Harbor Brewing; Steve Farguson of Absolution Brewing has a son that currently attends LMU.

Being the inaugural event, ticket sales were limited; I am going to guess that there were a lot of alumni that purchased tickets to the event with no real intention of attending. This is just a guess, but the VIP session had sold out and there were not very many people for that session. By the end of the day, I would guess that they had a few hundred attendees. Continue reading

5th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Photos: FWIBF16

These photos are from the 5th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival (FWIBF16) which was held this past Saturday afternoon at the Paso Robles Event Center and featured about 50 breweries and 200 craft beers from around the world as well as foods from 33 local area restaurants.

The Firestone Invitational is one of, if not the best run craft beer events I have ever attended. I remember attending last year’s Invitational and being quite surprised to learn that it was only the fourth one as it was run so smoothly; from ensuring ticketed attendees were in the gates and ready to go by the time the event officially started, to making sure water was readily available no matter where you happened to be in the venue. If I did not know better, I would have guessed that they had to be doing it for 10 years instead of four.

Since this was my second opportunity to attend the Firestone Walker Invitational, I used my experience from last year to make this year’s event even more fun. Continue reading

Photos from the 3rd Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival

These photos are from the 3rd Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival, which was held Sunday afternoon at Ernie Howlett Park in Rolling Hills Estates. Presented by the Rotary Clubs of El Segundo, Palos Verdes Peninsula and South Bay Sunrise this charity event featured almost 40 craft breweries as well as 15 wineries and food from about 36 local restaurants. In addition to the beer, wine and food, music was provided by Detour.

Moving the festival to Ernie Howlett Park was a smart move as it is much more spacious than the South Coast Botanical Gardens, where the event was held last year, as there were probably 10 more breweries than last year and it allowed them to sell more tickets. When I asked how many attendees came out, I was told they sold about 1,400 tickets, which was almost double from last year. The additional space made it really difficult to judge the number of people in attendance because it was so spread out. The main thing is that there were no lines that had more than four or five people in them. Continue reading

3rd Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival Coming May 15, 2016

South Bay Beer & Wine Fest

Join Us Sunday, May 15

The 3rd Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival will be held on Sunday afternoon, May 15 from 1:00-5:00 PM at Ernie Howlett Park in Rolling Hills Estates. Proceeds from this charity fundraising event will go to support the humanitarian programs of the El Segundo Rotary Club, Palos Verdes Peninsula Rotary Club, and South Bay Rotary Club. The Rotary Club supports community programs focused on health and nutrition, high school Interact and leadership, education and literacy, vocational training, and community space restoration and renovation. A few of the organizations they support include El Segundo Teen Center, C.A.S.E. Food Pantry, Switzer Learning Center, Mychal’s Learning Place, Cancer Support Community, Caring House, ARC House, Norris Theatre and South Bay Mobile Medical Clinics.

The craft breweries were assembled by Beer Paper L.A.’s own Daniel Drennon; if you were there last year and thought he did a great job, wait until you see who is scheduled for this year’s event. On tap include Absolution Brewing, Anchor Brewing, Artifex, Avery, Ballast Point, Beachwood, Bottle Logic, Drake’s, Arts District, Brouwerij West, El Segundo Brewing, Firestone Walker, Fireman’s Brew, Founder’s, Ironfire Brewing, King Harbor Brewing, Ladyface, Mission Brewery, New Belgium, Phantom Carriage, Pizza Port Brewing, Red Car Brewery, Baja Brewing, Headlands, HopSaint, Sierra Nevada, Smog City, Stone Brewing, Strand Brewing, Tenaya Creek, Mother Earth, Ska and Three Weavers will all be providing brews to sample. Continue reading

Photos from the 4th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival

These photos are from Saturday at the 4th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival (FWIBF15) which was held at the Paso Robles Event Center. The festival included craft beer of 53 breweries from all over the United States, Europe and beyond. This was my first opportunity to attend and I did not attend as any type of “official media” so my experience was probably similar to that of any other first time attendee; except I probably waited in line longer to get in. On Friday night I had heard stories of lines just to get in reaching down the street and around the block, so I walked over to the event center and was there before 9:00 AM. If you are taking notes, the event did not start until noon and there was nothing to be gained by being among the first 20 to be there. If you get there at noon you will be fine.

To be honest, I was not aware that this was only the fourth Invitational and it is definitely run like they have been doing it a lot longer. I had the opportunity to speak with individuals that had attended multiple times before and the one thing that became obvious is that Firestone Walker listened to the feedback they received after each event. For example, in the beginning, attendees had to buy food and water. As the event evolved it now has free food from 26 restaurants and multiple free water stations with enough filtered water to hydrate the 3,000 plus attendees. Now, I have to say, I am not really sure how many tickets were sold but between comments I heard, articles I read and a personal guess, I would guess between 3,000 and 4,000. The thing is, the location can hold a lot more than that and when you divide them between 80 booths there was not much in the way of lines. Naturally, there were some breweries like Three Floyds and Alchemist that had long lines all day; and when breweries like Beachwood or The Bruery had their special pours people started waiting; but most of the lines that I experienced moved rather quickly. Continue reading

Holiday Bottle Share at King Harbor Brewing

Suppose you had an outstanding collection of craft beer and you wanted to go on the wagon for a year, what would you do? Well, if you are anything like local craft beer aficionado and beer hoarder Chad Hazen you donate a large portion of it for a bottle share to benefit a local charity. As Hazen told me, he decided he wanted to quit drinking beer for a year while he trains for a marathon and his collection of beer was just a little too much temptation. He got together with King Harbor Brewing Company, of which he is one of the investors, and they decided they would have a bottle share benefiting Richstone Family Center which is located in Hawthorne. The Richstone Family Center is dedicated to preventing and treating child abuse and holding the event just before Christmas just seemed right to Hazen and King Harbor Brewing.

This bottle share was a little different than any bottle share I have attended previously in that attendees did not bring any bottles; the beers were all donated by Hazen from his personal stash; and what a stash it was. The published beer list would make any bottle shop proud: Continue reading

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