It was two years ago that I made my first visit to Flights Beer Bar and met the owner Jerry “Jammer” Jamgotchian. Within days of our meeting, Jerry expressed interest in having a Craft Beer Guy event at his recently opened 40 tap gastropub. At the time, the South Bay had 10 production breweries and I requested that all 40 taps be dedicated to these 10 breweries for the 1st Annual South Bay Tap Takeover. Jerry not only agreed to this, but also invested in a new cold box so Flights could store the additional beers that were brought in for the event. To say the event was a rousing success would be an understatement. Continue reading
These photos were taken Tuesday evening at Los Angeles Ale Works, in Hawthorne, at the sixth edition of “So You Want to Open a Brewery in LA?” an LA Beer Week panel discussion moderated by Celebrator Beer News writer Tomm Carroll. If you have attended any of the previous five seminars hosted by Carroll, you know that he typically puts together a great group of panelists and last night was no exception.
The panelists included Laurie Porter of Smog City Brewing, Greg Bechtel of Simmzy’s Burbank, Gary Croft of Yorkshire Square, Bill Baker of Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room, Rick Blankemeier of Modern Times, Will Shelton of Concrete Jungle Brewing Project, Brent Knapp of Common Space Brewery, Kip Barnes of LA Ale Works, and Brendan Lake of Burnin’ Daylight Brewing Company. Continue reading
The South Bay has a new production brewery and tasting room as Los Angeles Ale Works held their soft open over this past weekend. If you did not hear about it, do not feel too bad as it was intentionally kept under wraps since LA Ale Works wanted to make sure they were ready for their anticipated crowds. Founder/Partner Kristofor “Kip” Barnes said that he wanted to be sure that first time visitors had a pleasant experience; after my visit on Sunday, I do not think that is going to be a problem.
The soft open will continue every Wednesday through Sunday until their Grand Opening, which will be held Saturday, February 11. According to their website, their hours are currently 3:00 to 10:00 PM on Wednesday and Thursday; 3:00 to 11:00 PM on Fridays; 12:00 to 11:00 PM on Saturdays, and 12:00 to 8:00 PM on Sundays. The Grand Opening will likely be a ticketed event, but the details on that have not been figured out yet. Continue reading
These photos were taken Thursday evening at Flights during their 2nd Annual South Bay Tap Takeover. This year we featured 15 of the best production breweries in the South Bay; with Absolution Brewing, Brouwerij West, El Segundo Brewing, Honest Abe Hard Ciders, HopSaint Brewing Company, King Harbor Brewing, Phantom Carriage, Rob Rubens Distilling & Brewing, San Pedro Brewing Company, Scholb Premium Ales, Smog City Brewing, State Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, The Dudes’ Brewing, and Three Weavers Brewing filling all four tap lines. I watched as people in the craft beer industry as well as the hundreds of craft beer fans looked with amazement at what a South Bay tap list looks like.
While it did get a little crowded during the peak hours, Flights staff, under the guidance of their manager Michelle Pettie kept food and beer flowing with ease. It was pretty obvious that the additional year of experience by the serving staff made a huge difference; I did not notice any of the delays that were experienced last year. I am sure cutting back on the food menu helped as the kitchen was faster which meant people could eat and drink a little quicker and the steady flow of new guests did not cause any of the lines I heard existed last year. Continue reading
Those of you that attended our inaugural event last year will recall what a great time was had, with an amazing turnout; we had 40 taps of South Bay craft beer from 10 South Bay production breweries. This year we are going to make it even better by featuring 15 breweries from the South Bay. Continue reading
These photos are from the South Bay Tap Takeover that was held Thursday evening at Flights Beer Bar in Hawthorne. To say that this event was a success would be an understatement; some might suggest that it was too successful as there were times that the staff seemed overwhelmed with all the customers. The event officially began at 4:00 PM, but when I arrived at 3:30 people had already arrived and by 4:30 it was pretty well packed; and it stayed that way until about 11:30.
There were some delays in getting the beer served in the beginning because there were 40 new taps with beers that had never been poured there and many people were ordering flights. Flights brought in some additional help and eventually the beers were learned and things moved faster. The food situation was pretty much a no-win situation because while Flights could install a new walk-in to store beer, there was no way to increase the size of the kitchen. The food took a little longer to get out to us, but it was the same high quality that we have come to expect.
I do not know how many people showed up last night but I do know that we had 200 t-shirts to give away and I would venture to guess that at least as many people did not get shirts as those that did, so I don’t think estimating a turnout of at least 400 people would not be a stretch. Continue reading
While I have been to a few “South Bay tap takeovers” over the past few years, never before have we had 40 taps dedicated to just the South Bay’s breweries. The 10 that will be participating include Strand Brewing Company, Monkish Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, Absolution Brewing Company, Smog City Brewing, Three Weavers, The Dudes’, King Harbor Brewing, Phantom Carriage
and introducing HopSaint! If you are thinking, “But HopSaint isn’t open yet.” you would be correct, but the brewhouse has been delivered and Brian Brewer will be brewing before their new brewpub opens. This tap takeover will likely be the first time any of us will be able to try Brian’s brews under the new label. UPDATE: HopSaint will not be able to make it, in their stead, Cosmic Brewery will step up. Continue reading
As I have mentioned before, friends and followers of this site frequently direct me to the latest beer bar that they visited, or that they had heard was opening in the area. I have learned to not bother rushing off because as often as not the selection isn’t really that special or the business is not going to survive the winter. I first heard about Flights Beer Bar in late March or very early April. When I asked my informant what was special about the place they could not tell me as they had yet to visit.
Over the next two months a few more people approached me; some inquiring because they had not been there yet either, and a couple that had made their way over to Hawthorne to check it out. I ended up getting a personal invitation from the owner and another recommendation or two from people that have similar tastes as me, so I decided that I would begin my birthday weekend by going to Flights for a beer and maybe take some photos if it was warranted.
Flights is located at 5119 W. El Segundo Boulevard in Hawthorne, which means it is right off the 405 on the east side of the freeway; it is also on the north side of the street so you need to know it is there or you will do some u-turns to get back there. To make it easy, it is between the Subway and Burger King. The sign is big, but the color scheme isn’t ideal at 12:30 PM. I was told it does light up at night and they have several runway lights above it on the roof. I will have to return at night time to see how visible it is. Continue reading
As much as I like to support local business; sometimes it just makes sense to shop at the major chains. This can hold true whether you are buying tires for your car or craft beer for your fridge. My last article about the local bottle shops was an article that I have been planning on writing for several months, but I wanted to give one of the locations a chance to finish some construction first. Initially I was going to compare two independent bottle shops to Total Wine, after I discovered that Costco had a wide selection of craft beer I decided that I would write two articles; the last one about the local independents, and another about the chains that carried craft beer. This article will visit Total Wine & More in Redondo Beach, Costco in Hawthorne and Whole Foods in El Segundo. You should probably know this going in, not all Costco or Whole Foods are created equal; not all locations are as good as those visited for this article.
Of any place I go to buy craft beer, Total Wine in Redondo Beach gets more of my business than probably everywhere else combined. The reasons for this are many, but the main reason is that it is basically across the street. It takes almost as much time to drive and park as it does to walk there. The convenience factor is strong with this one. The second thing is that they carry about 3,000 different varieties of beer and you can purchase individual bottles/cans so experimenting is a piece of cake. Not only do they carry American craft beers but their International beer selection is better than any place I have ever been. Their pricing is usually very good; I have found locally brewed beers being sold for significantly less that it would cost at the tap room it came from.
As a tip, if you visit Total Wine, feel free to walk into the cooler; there are lots of surprises to be found including Pliny and Blind Pig. Most of the time there will be bottle limits, so bring your friends and neighbors. Continue reading