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Goose Island Beer Company

Photos from the 2nd Annual Oktoberfest at Astro Pub

These photos were taken Friday evening at the 2nd Annual Oktoberfest, which was held at the Astro Pub in Whole Foods Market, Playa Vista. They had a pretty nice turnout which was probably due in part to the pleasant weather which resulted in a lot of foot traffic; this combined with the aroma of German food and the sound of oompah music resulted in many passersby making a detour to join the festivities.

For a mere $20.00 attendees were able to have seven pours of various Oktoberfest brews including Goose Island, Spaten, Becks, Karl Strauss, Firestone Walker, Hofbräu and Weihenstephan. To go along with the bier there were pretzel bites, German potatoes, sauerkraut, and your choice of schnitzel or bacon wrapped brats.

The Astro Pub is located at 12746 W. Jefferson Boulevard in the Whole Foods Market, Playa Vista. Their beer buyer, Raul Moran puts on various beer events every few months so you might want to follow the Whole Foods Facebook page to be kept in the loop. He also keeps a nice selection of craft beer on tap and available to takeout. Prost! Continue reading

Goose Island Bourbon County Black Friday at Surly Goat

These photos are from the Goose Island, Bourbon County, Black Friday tap takeover that was held at The Surly Goat this past “Black Friday” evening. Regular readers may recall that a few weeks ago I wrote about a Bourbon County tasting I was supposed to attend at The Surly Goat that had to be canceled at the last minute. In it I happened to mention that one incentive for driving out to Hollywood was that I had never been to The Surly Goat before and that I was looking forward to checking them out. Well, someone from The Surly Goat read the article and invited me to their Goose Island, Bourbon County Black Friday tap takeover which I accepted.

Unlike the Bourbon County event at Whole Foods that I attended earlier, this was purely a tap takeover that featured several Goose Island brews. Featured were 2013-2015 Bourbon County Brand Stout, 2013-2015 Bourbon County Brand Barleywine, Lolita, Matilda, Sofie, Illinois, Goose IPA and Class of ’88. They also held a few raffles that included a bottle of the 2015 BCBS Rare; with the proceeds going to The Trevor Project.

I have to say that The Surly Goat is a spot worth checking out if you find yourself in West Hollywood. As you can tell from the photos, they have a pretty nice tap list even without the Bourbon County; and the people that work there are very nice. If you have never been there and decide to stop by, be sure to tell them the Craft Beer Guy sent you; thanks. Cheers! Continue reading

Goose Island BCBS Release at Whole Foods Market Playa Vista

These photos are from the Black Friday Goose Island bottle release which was held at the Whole Foods Market in Playa Vista on Friday afternoon. According to Whole Foods beer buyer Raul Moran, this particular location had one of the highest allocations of the new Bourbon County series in the entire Los Angeles area; judging by the number of cases they had I have no doubts. In fact, they had five of the six varietals available for purchase; Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, Bourbon County Brand Stout, Bourbon County Brand Barleywine, Bourbon County Brand Regal Rye Stout and Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout.

In addition to the bottle release, the Astro Pub featured several flight options for those that wanted to compare various releases as well as some pretty tasty food to go along with it. The preset flights included 2013 through 2015 of BCBS with a Sophie, and a 2013 and 2015 Barleywine with a 2015 Coffee Stout and a Matilda.

While there was a pretty good crowd, Whole Foods managed it quite nicely; they were quick and efficient and I think everyone that showed up was able to purchase at least one bottle. Cheers! Continue reading

Coming Soon: Bourbon County Brand Varietals

Friday afternoon I was in the back room watching TV when I heard the dogs going off; a minute later Tanya poked her head in and said there was someone at the door for me. That was a little unnerving as solicitors do not usually ask for someone by name; when I came to the door there was a gentleman holding a black gift bag. He handed me his iPhone and asked me to sign the screen; when I did he handed me the bag. As soon as I held the bag I knew it had to be beer; when I pushed the decorative paper aside I saw I had received three bottles of the 2015 Bourbon County Brand Stout varietals. So, how did that happen?

Last month I was invited to a private Goose Island tasting of the new Bourbon County releases, which was to be held at the Surly Goat. Since I really enjoy the entire Bourbon County series and I have yet to go to Surly Goat, I jumped at the opportunity. Now, I have to admit, they were doing 45 minute sessions and I was not sure how anyone could drink six variations of Bourbon County in 45 minutes but I was up for the challenge. As the date approached I read what I could since we were supposed to get a chance to meet and speak with some of their brewers and I wanted to have a clue ahead of time. Unfortunately, there ended up being a scheduling conflict so the event was canceled. To make up for the inconvenience they sent me a few bottles; I got the Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, Bourbon County Brand Stout and Proprietor’s Bourbon County Brand Stout. Continue reading

Photos from Oktoberfest at Whole Foods Playa Vista

On Saturday evening, the new Whole Foods Market in Playa Vista held a mini-Oktoberfest at their Astro Pub bar, which is a full bar complete with 24 craft beers on tap; with 14 of them dedicated to local breweries. The Oktoberfest was the second in a series of tap takeovers, beer dinners and various beer events planned by Raul Moran, the beer buyer for Whole Foods, Playa Vista.

The evening consisted of Oktoberfest style beers featuring such breweries as Three Weavers, Sierra Nevada, Ballast Point, Goose Island, Spaten, Weihenstephan and Hofbräuhaus. Also included in the price of admission was plenty of schnitzel, sauerkraut, brats and giant pretzels. Piped in German music resulted in spontaneous breakouts of the ever popular Chicken Dance. There was also plenty of swag available for anyone that wanted it. They had a moderate turnout, and everyone that attended seemed to be having a good time making new friends while enjoying the food and beer.

The Astro Pub is located in the front of the Whole Foods Market, Playa Vista at 12746 W. Jefferson Boulevard. As I mentioned, Moran plans on having a series of beer dinners and tap takeovers every couple of weeks. I would suggest following the Whole Foods Facebook page to be kept in the loop. Prost! Continue reading

2015 Taste of Brews’ Twilight Tasting Photos

These photos are from the Taste of Brews’ Second Annual Twilight Tasting that was held at Lyon Air Museum on Saturday evening. I have to start off by saying that this was one of the coolest, most photogenic locations for a beer festival that I can remember attending. As we walked in the door I told Tanya, “I will have to try to find some time to have a beer while I am here.”

While Lyon Air Museum was billed as a World War II museum, the first vehicle we were greeted by was a 1922 Ford Model T Roadster and it just got better from there. A beautiful 1931 Buick and the 1930 Cadillac V-16 Roadster were among my favorite cars; but there were military vehicles of all types and beautiful motorcycles. When you added in the aircraft it was pretty difficult to concentrate on the beer. But to be honest, I am not sure that craft beer was the number one thought of the attendees at this fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Orange County/Inland Empire, The Little Red Dog out of Tustin and Ocean Education Outreach out of Newport Beach. I think it was one of those fundraisers that was priced so that it was more about the charity than the buzz. I don’t know, it just seemed a little classier than the standard local beer festival.

They did have some good food provided by Stonefire Grill, Rubio’s and Sol Agave; and some pretty tasty desserts from Nothing Bundt Cakes and Paradise Bakery to go with the various wines I saw being poured, so maybe that had something to do with it. So while I may have stayed for the cool museum pieces, I came for the beer. Continue reading

Twilight Tasting Returns to Lyon Air Museum: Promo Code

Twilight Tasting Banner

Taste of Brews Twilight Tasting 2015

This coming Saturday, March 7, Taste of Brews will host their Second Annual Twilight Tasting at Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana, California. This Taste of Brews’ upscale event promises to be a remarkable evening featuring unlimited tastes of premium craft beers, hard ciders, wines and tasty foods with all proceeds benefiting various charities.

Breweries from Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Diego County and the Inland Empire will be featured as well as a few from Northern California, Vermont, Illinois and even Iceland. Local breweries scheduled to be on-hand include Beach City Brewery, Four Sons Brewing, Barley Forge, Bootlegger’s, Phantom Ales, Left Coast, Coronado, Karl Strauss, Stone Brewing, Mission Brewery, Hangar 24 and Absolution Brewing. Other, not so local breweries featured in the lineup include Firestone Walker, Drake’s, Einstok, Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada and Goose Island. The growing hard cider community will be represented by Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider and Woodchuck Cider. Continue reading

Bourbon County Black Friday Release at Bar 225

These photos are from the 2014 Bourbon County Black Friday release which was held at Bar 225 which is inside Whole Foods Venice. This is the second year that Goose Island’s annual event included the Los Angeles area market, which is most likely a direct result of the 2011 purchase of Goose Island by Anheuser-Busch InBev back in 2011. While the Brewers Association immediately downgraded Goose Island from being considered craft due to this change of ownership, I have yet to meet more than a handful of people that have turned their noses at their Bourbon County Brand Stout (BCBS). In my personal opinion, the merger has not changed much except now BCBS is now available locally.

When I was approached to cover the event, I immediately accepted for several reasons. I guess the most obvious was that I can always use the work, followed closely by the fact that I now knew I would be able to score some of the latest release without having to drive around town trying to find someone that still had it in stock. Apparently no one was supposed to sell it before Black Friday but rumor has it some locations were selling [out of] their stock on the day before Thanksgiving. The third reason was that it seems that over the past year or two I have met several people in the craft beer industry that included Whole Foods Venice on their resume. I have come to realize that not all Whole Foods are created equal so I looked forward to seeing what the Venice location had to offer with their Bar 225.

I had forgotten who it was that told me they had worked at Whole Foods Venice and was pleasantly surprised that one of them was Drew Murphy, the manager of Bar 225, whom I had done some work for back in February. Goose Island Brand Ambassador Raul Moran was there assisting in pouring flights consisting of several high octane brews carrying the Goose Island name for those that were there for more than the purchase of whatever Bourbon County brews they could get their hands on. Continue reading

3rd Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest Photos

When Alpine Village held their first Alpine Kraft Bierfest in the big tent back in 2012 they had almost as many beers as they did attendees. I suspect it had something to do with the timing in that it was held the week before Oktoberfest, so some people may have just thought the ads were for Oktoberfest rather than the American craft beer event it was intended to be.

In 2013, the 2nd Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest was moved into the Alpine Inn, more breweries and beers were added, a little more advertising was done and the attendance level more than doubled.

For 2014 it was decided that the event would stay inside the Alpine Inn, but the event would be held over the course of two sessions; one on Friday evening with the second session being held Saturday afternoon. To avoid the possibility of the best brews running out during the first session, Alpine’s event coordinators decided to split up the beers by day and put up a schedule of appearance for the brews so people could choose which day would have the most beers that they wanted to try. It seemed to work pretty well. 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

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