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Flights Beer Bar

HopSaint

For your eyes only: HopSaint Soft Open Going on Now

Okay, I am going to make this short and sweet; the HopSaint Brewing Company brewpub in Torrance has unofficially begun their soft open. I say “unofficially” because they are not really advertising it quite yet; consider it a soft, soft open.

The photos were taken over 14 months, but primarily from their initial opening for investors and family and then again Saturday night. They are open seven (7) days a week, but right now food service will not begin until 4:00 or 5:00 PM and some items may be limited. Tonight was the first time I had an opportunity to look at the food menu and there are a few items that I cannot wait to try.

Currently, Brian Brewer has three of his brews on tap; Cacophony IPA, $1.00 from every pint sold goes to Ales for ALS, Eleven-Eight which is like an ESB and Bubble Butt Blonde which is as tasty as it sounds. They have a very extensive tap list so there are no worries about not finding something you will like. Continue reading

Business & Beer Ends 2015 at The Brewery at Abigaile

These photos are from the December gathering of the Business & Beer networking group which met at The Brewery at Abigaile in Hermosa Beach. It was Business & Beer’s first return to the Hermosa Beach brewpub since they brought on the new brewer, Paul Papantonio. The last time I visited Abigaile in mid-October, Papantonio had only one brew under his belt with his new brewing system; a very nice black IPA. As of last night he had added three more brews to his portfolio, including a Vienna lager, a brown ale and an IPA. Everyone in our group seemed to enjoy the brews, with special praise given to the barrel-aged Sugar Daddy that I am sure has been aging since Brian Brewer’s days.

Next month, January 14, Business & Beer will be meeting at Torrance’s newest brewery, HopSaint Brewing Company. HopSaint is a brewpub and the brewer is Brian Brewer, who most of you know from his stint at The Brewery at Abigaile. I have had a little preview so you can trust me when I say that you definitely want to be there on January 14 between 6:00 and 8:00 PM. Please RSVP on Business & Beer or the Business & Beer Facebook page. Cheers! Continue reading

Photos from the 2015 Pacific Brewers Cup

These photos are from the 2015 Pacific Brewers Cup homebrew competition which was held Saturday afternoon at Four Points by Sheraton at LAX. The event was hosted by Strand Brewers Club, Long Beach Homebrewers, and Pacific Gravity. There were 458 entries consisting of beer, mead and ciders.

While these photos were all taken Saturday, the fact of the matter is that with 458 entries, the judging portion actually started two weeks ago when members of the Strand Brewers Club had to sort the 1300 plus bottles into categories and get all the information entered in the competitions database. I helped out on the sorting by scanning in the entries with their assigned competition number; this gave me an opportunity to see where the entries came from. I have to admit, I was pretty surprised at how far and wide they came from; with several entries coming from out of state. Because of the substantial number of entries, there were a couple judging sessions done ahead of time.

As you might think, it is quite the task to judge 458 beers, mead and ciders and it truly takes a lot of work by an organized team to pull that off. The team yesterday consisted of 70 judges and 42 stewards. I met one of the judges yesterday that came all the way from Chandler, Arizona “for the love of beer” as opposed to trying to escape Chandler’s 100+ weather. While the judges were truly put to the test, I doubt that the event could have moved as smoothly as it did without the efforts of the stewards. Head Steward Barbara Bovee is to be congratulated for keeping things as organized as they were. Continue reading

6th Annual BAM Fest Coming October 10 – Promo Code

BAM Fest attendee

Join the fun at BAM Fest 2015

It is that time of year again; the 6th Annual Beer, Art & Music Festival (BAM Fest) will be held Saturday afternoon, October 10, 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 this fundraiser.

This will be my fourth time attending BAM Fest and all I can say is that if you enjoy craft beer, live in the Los Angeles area and have never attended BAM Fest, you are doing yourself a disservice. From the first time I attended in 2012 I have been nothing but impressed; and the event just seems to get bigger and better every year and 2015 appears to be no exception.

The current list of beer and cider vendors totals 38, with six food trucks available to pair with your favorite beer and live music provided by three groups. Continue reading

40 Taps of South Bay Craft September 3 at Flights Beer Bar

tap-takeover

40 Taps of South Bay Craft! September 3 at FLIGHTS!

As I announced almost a month ago, and have tried to continually remind you on my Facebook page, this Thursday, September 3, Flights Beer Bar in association with CraftBeerGuy.com will hold their first ever 40 Taps of South Bay Craft Tap Takeover. I have to admit, there are a couple things about that opening line that I would like to point out. The first is, I am unaware of any prior event in the South Bay that has ever dedicated 40 taps to 10 South Bay craft breweries, so it isn’t just their first ever, I am pretty sure it is the first ever. Secondly, I was not sure if I should call it their inaugural event or 1st Annual because there is already talk of making this an annual event; these comments are coming from participating breweries and the owner of Flights, who has gone to the extreme for this event. Let me give you a couple examples.

First off, the beer. When I was approached about the idea of having a “Craft Beer Guy” party I immediately knew that I wanted to showcase the South Bay’s breweries. I also knew that 40 new kegs was quite an order so I was pleasantly surprised when Flights owner Jerry Jamgotchian didn’t blink an eye and said that 40 kegs was not a problem. A couple people asked me, “But where is he going to keep all that beer?” It was a great question that only had one solution; he was going to need a bigger cold box; so that is what he did. He had a second, bigger cold box added.

A couple weeks ago someone suggested maybe having a few shirts made and raffle them off; buy a beer, get a ticket. I brought it to Jerry for some input and his response was, “How about we make hundreds and give them to everybody?” Well, that is what he did; there will be free t-shirts for the first couple hundred people that ask for one (as supplies/sizes last). Continue reading

Craft Beer Guy Presents: A 40 Tap South Bay Tap Takeover

tap-takeover

40 Taps of South Bay Craft!

If you follow this site with any regularity you may recall that a few weeks ago I visited Flights Beer Bar in Hawthorne for the first time. To say that I was impressed would be an understatement and I believe I got that message across in the article that I wrote. A couple days after writing the article I received an email from Flights owner Jerry Jamgotchian suggesting that they would like to throw a private party for Craft Beer Guy. While I was definitely flattered, several of the local craft breweries had just had a birthday party for me a couple days before so I suggested that I would rather have a party that showcased all the breweries that had made the South Bay the craft beer destination that is has become. After speaking with Jerry and his manager/beer buyer Marc Dacal it was decided that they would let me curate a 40 tap, tap takeover featuring 10 production breweries that were based in the South Bay. That’s right, 40 taps of South Bay craft from 10 South Bay breweries.

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

Monkish Brewing Company CUP Modification Approved

Henry & Adriana

Monkish Brewing owners Henry & Adriana Nguyen

On Wednesday evening the Torrance Planning Commission heard a request by Torrance craft brewery, Monkish Brewing Company to modify their Conditional Use Permit issued in 2011 to allow extended hours and food trucks. Their application, MOD15-00004, was approved unanimously.

Monkish Brewing Company was the first production brewery in Torrance to get a Conditional Use Permit to open a tasting room, even though Strand Brewing opened a couple weeks before them. Back in 2011 when Monkish first appeared before the Planning Commission the craft beer landscape was significantly different in the South Bay than what we have today. There was Monkish and Strand in Torrance with El Segundo Brewing in El Segundo. As it was a new scene and no one really knew if craft beer was going to take hold this time (it tried 15-20 years ago with little success); in fact, when Monkish first requested to open the tasting room it was described as a “small accessory” to the brewery itself. As a consumer, I kind of figured that the three brewery owners got together and said, “Let’s open Thursday through Sunday and see what happens.”

Well, the times have changed; Torrance is now a craft beer destination. Instead of having two production breweries and one brewpub (Red Car) in Torrance, we now have five production breweries with a second brewpub (HopSaint) scheduled to open within the next two months. With the addition of each new production brewery and tasting room has come the request for longer hours and the ability to have food trucks. When Strand Brewing Company got the Conditional Use Permit for their new location, they made sure to request the ability to have longer hours and food trucks. Last night’s approval essentially leveled the playing field for Monkish Brewing giving them the ability to be open essentially seven days a week including special events. Continue reading

Business & Beer Experiences Resurgence at The Brewery at Abigaile

On Thursday evening the Business & Beer networking group met at The Brewery at Abigaile, a brewpub in Hermosa Beach. As one of the co-founders of Business & Beer I will admit that over the last couple of months we have been seriously discussing whether or not to continue with the monthly meeting format. Recent gatherings have been very small; the blame can be placed on weather, holidays, the loss of Daylight Saving Time or any number of factors; the reality is that the only reason it was decided to continue was because over the past couple of weeks three or four people said they really wanted to come to their first Business & Beer. Since the Brewery at Abigaile is one of my favorite locations in the Business & Beer rotation and the meeting date happened to coincide with the Craft Beer Guy anniversary date, it was decided to carry on at least one more month. It was a great decision.

Even though it was a rather cold and blustery evening we had one of the largest turnouts in close to a year; we had a nice mix of regulars, returnees and several first time attendees. As Abigaile is currently seeking a new brewer (their former brewer, Brian Brewer, is concentrating on his new endeavor as a partner with the soon-to-be HopSaint brewpub in Torrance) the selection of house brews was down to three with their Amber Ale, Pale Meridian and Beetlejuice DIPA; but there were plenty of guest taps for those that desired something different. Between the beer selections, the food and the great group of people that came out, we had a great time. I would like to thank Michael and Peggy Michino who were kind enough to bring a bottle of Green Flash Silva Stout that was autographed by Green Flash head brewer Chuck Silva, as an anniversary present. Continue reading

Brewtopia at Abigaile Restaurant Photos

These photos are from the Brewtopia Beer Garden which was held at Abigaile Restaurant and the Ocean Bar & Lounge located in Hermosa Beach. This was the second “beer garden” event held at Abigaile in the last four months that showcased LA Brewers Guild breweries and this time it featured a few breweries that came from out of the area.

The breweries that I noticed in attendance included Mammoth Brewing Company, Bootlegger’s, Hangar 24, Bravery, Kinetic, El Segundo Brewing, Monkish, Smog City, Taps Fish House, The Bruery, Three Weavers, Absolution, Golden Road, Eagle Rock, Coachella Valley Brewing, King Harbor and Noble Ale Works. Included in the price of admission was all the food you could get your hands on from Chef Tin’s grill which appeared to be quite popular; I just wish I had three hands so I could hold food and beer while still taking photos.

While this event seemed to be as well attended as the prior Novem-BEER-Fest as far as beer drinkers, the faces behind the breweries were not very well represented. Beerlebrity sightings while I was there was limited to Nigel Heath from Absolution Brewing and Brian Brewer, former brewer for The Brewery at Abigaile and brewer for the soon to be HopSaint brewpub that will be opening in Torrance. I also noticed several Craft Beer Guy followers, and I always personally appreciate that. Continue reading

The 2014 Craft Beer Guy Year in Review

As 2014 winds down I faced the question posed to me by a few people; “Will Craft Beer Guy be writing an article about the year?” Initially I thought I would do a Top 10 list and just discuss the Top 10 breweries and brewpubs in the South Bay. I figured it would be easy because there were only 10 craft brewers here, but in the last month so many new locations have opened that we now have 12 if you count Phantom Carriage that has not “officially” opened yet. The South Bay now has the following breweries and brewpubs in its confines; in order of seniority (I think) they are: Red Car Brewery, San Pedro Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, El Segundo Brewing Company, Monkish Brewing Company, The Brewery at Abigaile, Smog City Brewing, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Absolution Brewing Company, King Harbor Brewing Company, Three Weavers Brewing and Phantom Carriage. 2015 should bring us a few more including Hop Saint, Brouwerij West and Port Town Brewing; and those are just the ones that come to mind. There will also be some moves and expansions among those listed above. With that I now present you The 2014 Craft Beer Guy Year in Review.

January 2014

Noble flight

Noble Ale Works Flight

As I look through my articles from January I see that it was a pretty mellow month or the calm before the storm if you prefer. I would have to say my personal highlight of the month was a Sunday afternoon that we spent visiting several of the Orange County craft brewery tasting rooms and brewpubs. The day included stops at Bootlegger’s Brewery, Taps Fish House & Brewery, Noble Ale Works, Tustin Brewing Company and Brewbakers. Each of these stops were first time visits and I would not have a problem recommending any of them. The thing is, in the past year Orange County has opened so many new tasting rooms and brewpubs that it is getting tough to try and keep up with them all; but I will try. Continue reading

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