On Saturday afternoon, Select Beer Store, in Redondo Beach celebrated their 5th Anniversary by bringing in craft beer from some of their favorite local craft breweries. Barley Hops Grill was also there with their special style of barbecue.
As I was going through my notes I noticed that it was five years ago, during the 7th Annual American Craft Beer Week that I first visited Select Beer Store for their South Bay Tap Takeover which featured all four of the South Bay’s breweries; El Segundo Brewing, Monkish Brewing, Strand Brewing and Smog City Brewing.
Today the South Bay alone has more than 20 breweries; things have really grown in the last five years and Select Beer is not only selling craft beer but they have also been involved with a few collaborations, at least a couple of which were available at their anniversary celebration. Continue reading
I feel quite fortunate in that I have been able to drive around most of this country with Alaska and New England being the only areas I have not visited yet. I am a fifth generation Californian and I am very proud of this fact and I think California is the most beautiful of all the states I have visited. That being said, Utah definitely ranks as the second most scenic state and I could spend weeks at a time traveling through it. We have spent days just trying to get out of Utah but there is something amazing around every turn that always seemed to keep us around a few more hours.
In April of 2011 I had an event to photograph in Tempe, Arizona and since it was close to Tanya’s birthday we decided we were going to spend a few more days in Utah, specifically in the Arches National Park area. We decided to stay in Moab the night before entering Arches and that is where we discovered Moab Brewery. Continue reading
When I left off the other day, I was reminiscing about a cross-country tour I took with a cousin in July 2011. After leaving Red Lodge Ales we drove through the Beartooth Mountains before dropping down into Wyoming where we were able to attend the Cody Nite Rodeo, then onto visit the Buffalo Bill Dam, Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Teton National Park. I had not been to Yellowstone in well over 40 years and happened to get to Old Faithful a few minutes before it erupted, so that was pretty cool. By the time we got to Grand Teton National Park we were losing daylight so we could not wander too much. We decided to call it a day when we arrived in Jackson, Wyoming. After finding a place to stay we were guided to Snake River Brewery & Restaurant.
One thing I failed to mention was that my cousin has Celiac disease; this means he is one of the people that really cannot have anything with gluten in it. As you might imagine, having a severe reaction to gluten does not make it easy when it comes to enjoying the craft beer experience. Snake River Brewery offers gluten free pasta, which was pretty tasty and my cousin enjoyed it a lot. When I look through the Snake River Brewing list of beers past and present I see that they list a gluten free beer but it was not available the night we were there.
I had a flight of the eight beers they had on tap that night; Guido’s Kolnerbrau (a Kölsch), Golden Buck Ale, Hoback Hefeweizen, Danimal’s Farmhouse Ale, Snake River Pale Ale, Pako’s IPA, Snake River Lager and Zonker Stout. If I am honest with myself, my craft beer palate was still pretty uneducated but I enjoyed everything I tried. Continue reading
Long before I decided to start the Craft Beer Guy website, I blogged about my travels around the United States and Europe on one of my other sites. The road trips I took around the US is where I first discovered craft beer, even if I was not aware that craft beer was a thing or that the marketing term of “craft beer” even existed. As time permits, and as I find the original photos, I will be posting articles and photos of some of the breweries and brewpubs I have stumbled across in my travels. I say “stumbled across” because most of these discoveries were not destinations, but rather somewhere we happened to drive by. The first of these articles is about Sam’s Tap Room & Kitchen at Red Lodge Ales Brewing Company in Red Lodge, Montana.
In July of 2011 I took a road trip with one of my younger cousins through a part of the country that I had not ever visited or had not been to since I was a young boy. We drove from Valparaiso, Indiana to Los Angeles taking the northern route through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah. That is when I first stumbled upon Red Lodge Ales Brewing Company.
Red Lodge Ales is located at the foot of the Beartooth Mountains about an hour south of Billings. It is definitely one of the more scenic brewery locations that I have visited. Red Lodge Ales was established in 1998 and they had about 10 different offerings if memory serves me well. I had a flight consisting of their Czechmate Pilsner, Beartooth Pale Ale, Bent Nail IPA, Jack’s 90 Schilling Scottish Ale, Porter and (I think) Resurrection Doppelbock. They were all solid brews and if I had more time I definitely would not have minded trying a few more. I do not recall why, but we did not try any of the food; most likely because we had eaten elsewhere before we fell into Red Lodge. Continue reading
Rated as one of the best brewers in the US and the world by two of the largest beer enthusiast websites, RateBeer and BeerAdvocate, I would be remiss if I did not include Stone Brewing in my quest for GABF award winning breweries from California. While I went to Pasadena yesterday, if you have an opportunity to visit their brewery in Escondido you should do it. Good food and great beer in a very scenic setting. It is appropriate for the entire family.
For my award winning flight I opted for a Stone Ruination IPA, a Stone Levitation Ale (2007 GABF Gold Medal), a Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale (2010 GABF Bronze Medal) and a Smoked Porter (2010 Asia Beer Award Gold Medal).
After sampling at Stone for a while, we went around the corner to Haven Gastropub and Brewing. I have been there before, but as I recall they were just starting to brew on location. I had forgotten about that, but knew I could find some award winning beers on their guest tap list. As it turns out, Gastropub Brewing has a new Head Brewer, Brian Thorson, an award winning brewer formerly with Drake’s Brewing and yesterday they released his new brew, so I included it on my flight. My flight consisted of Haven Simcoded American Pale Ale, Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin (2010 & 2011 GABF Gold medal), Eel River Acai Wheat, and The Bruery White Oak. While the beers from Haven, Eel River and The Bruery were not medal winners, the breweries and brewers have won numerous awards.
All my photos from day three of the 2013 American Craft Beer Week can be found on GotBaddog.com.
If you read my story about day one of ACBW, you will recall that I had attempted to visit Beachwood BBQ & Brewing but discovered that there were closed on Mondays. Since I had a pretty busy morning, it was decided that I would go back there on Tuesday because not only have they won multiple awards, it was a safe bet that their guest tap list would have at least one medal winner among the selections. I would not be disappointed.
As you can figure out, I am not a stranger to Beachwood BBQ & Brewing; the only thing that keeps me from going there more often is the drive. I mentioned in my last article that I got the impression that the beertender at Pizza Port San Clemente was not really into craft beer, that it was just a job for him. I have never experienced that any time I have visited Beachwood; in fact, it has always been quite the opposite. Yesterday Thomas was working and you could tell that he enjoyed his work and was a fan of not only Beachwood Brewing’s beers, but craft beer in general.
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing won a gold medal at the 2012 GABF with their Udder Love stout. Unfortunately that was not available, but they had three award winning beers available on their tap list, so I created a flight consisting of their Foam Top Cream Ale (2012 World Beer Cup Gold Medal), an El Verano Belgian Style Saison (2012 GABF Bronze Medal), Knucklehead Red American Red Ale (2012 San Diego International Beer Camp Bronze Medal) and The Falcon West Coast IPA (no awards, but delicious). To top it off, I finished with an AleSmith IPA (2011 GABF Silver Medal). It was a great set of champion beers to celebrate day two of the 8th Annual American Craft Beer Week. You can see all of the photos on www.GotBaddog.com
This year I decided to try to do something a little different; I am going to attempt to visit as many Great American Beer Festival (GABF) gold medal winners as possible in the area. In the event that I end up at a gastropub, I will attempt to purchase a gold medal winner. Should be easy, right?
Because I am somewhat limited by the hours in a day, I will be forced to limit my radius to about 60 miles. Most of the eligible breweries are inland of me, and it was close to 90 at home so I did not want to venture inland and opted for heading to Pizza Port in San Clemente, CA since it is a beach community. Pizza Port is a chain of pizza places that also brew beer. Unlike some chains, each location has their own head brewer and they are given leeway on at least some of the beers they brew. If you glance at the list of GABF winners you will notice that Pizza Port San Clemente, Solano Beach and Carlsbad have all been winners. I have never been to Pizza Port and I don’t recall ever trying anything from any of their locations prior to today; however, I have heard lots of praise about them so I was looking forward to the experience.My hopes of a cool ride by the beach turned into a blast furnace ride with temperatures close to 100. Even in San Clemente it was 90 a couple blocks from the beach. I was really looking forward to the beers.
When we arrived, my girlfriend went up to the counter to order food. We got some “beer buddies” and a small pizza. While the attitude of the employees in that portion of the brewpub was helpful and upbeat, neither of us was particularly enthusiastic about the food. The beer buddies would have been better if there was some kind of garlic dipping sauce, but it wasn’t offered and I was there for the beer anyway.
I went over to the brewery portion and could not help but notice the sign that seemed to hint that if you did not know what you wanted, to step aside and let someone else order. That attitude seemed to be held by the beertender that did not seem to be into craft beer; he was there because it was a job. I told him, “Happy American Craft Beer Week.” His response was something along the lines of, “oh, is that happening now?”
I explained that it was, and that I was seeking gold medal winning beer and Pizza Port had won a few. He agreed that they had. I asked if they served flights. He said they did flights of four, so I asked for four gold medal winners. He told me there were only two available; so I asked for those and any other award winners they had. He then directed me to a very busy board and told me the award winners had emblems by their names. It took me a few minutes to figure out where the emblems were. Eventually I figured out what the third beer was and since I was not going to wait for any assistance from him, I just picked a fourth beer to complete the flight. My flight consisted of their Lightweight Lager (it was), Nerf Herder (San Diego World Beer Cup Bronze Winner), “Pseudo” IPA (2010 GABF Gold Winner) and Pier Rat Porter (San Diego World Beer Cup Gold Winner). The beers were okay, the experience was lacking.
On the way home I figured that we could stop by Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach as they are gold medal winners and always have a great selection of beers available. To my dismay, they are not open on Mondays; luckily, Congregation Ale House, Long Beach is right next door. While they do not brew beer, they do have a very nice selection of beers on tap. I opted to go for a Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Wookey Jack (2102 GABF Gold Winner). Firestone makes a good product, so I was happy. The beer drinking ended at home with a Black Sand Imperial IPA from Strand Brewing Company in Torrance. All my photos from day one of the 8th Annual American Craft Beer Week can be found on GotBaddog.com.