These photos were taken Thursday evening at the Colorado Convention Center, where the Brewers Association is holding their 36th annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF). The event runs through Saturday.
If you have never attended GABF, think what it might be like to be a kid locked overnight in a candy factory; where would you begin? That is precisely the predicament I faced as I entered the huge venue, filled with 800 breweries pouring more than 3800 beers. In a word, it is a little overwhelming; I probably wandered around for close to 30 minutes, chatting with friends from various Southern California breweries and taking photos before I had my first beer. I did not want to spend my time drinking beer I can easily get at home, but with 800 breweries to choose from, where do you start? Continue reading
These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at the Beer Camp on Tour craft beer festival held at Queen Mary Events Park and presented by the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.
This was my first time attending Beer Camp, and while I had heard some negativity about last year’s event, it was pretty evident to me that they had learned from whatever mistakes those were as this was truly an amazing event to close out LA Beer Week. While I did not make the effort to count all the breweries in attendance, there were reportedly at least 100 breweries, pouring well over 200 beers. In addition to the beer, there were a dozen food trucks, live music from The Expanders and Orgone, games, plenty of shade and much cooler temperatures than the 100+ degree weather we experienced at the kickoff festival last week. Continue reading
These photos were taken Sunday at the 4th Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival which was held at Ernie Howlett Park in Rolling Hills Estates. This annual fundraising event was presented by the Rotary Clubs of El Segundo, Palos Verdes Peninsula and South Bay Sunrise; the event featured about 30 craft breweries as well as 15 wineries and food from close to 30 local restaurants. All proceeds fund the community outreach programs of Rotary Clubs within the South Bay and Harbor cities of Los Angeles.
The beer portion of the event was curated with the assistance of Beer Paper L.A.’s own Daniel Drennon, which has caused some to know the festival as the Daniel Drennon (DFD) Invitational. The list of breweries pouring was pretty much an A to Z list of craft with everything from Absolution Brewing and Arts District Brewing to Yorkshire Square Brewery and Zymurgy Brew Works. Of course, the selections were not limited to Los Angeles area breweries as we were joined by Avery Brewing and Ska Brewing from Colorado, as well as such California powerhouses as Sierra Nevada and Firestone Walker. Continue reading
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
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
These photos were taken at the 2nd Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival which was held at the South Coast Botanical Garden in Rancho Palos Verdes on Sunday afternoon. This outstanding event was hosted by Toyota and South Bay Equity Lending and sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of El Segundo, Palos Verdes Peninsula, and South Bay Sunrise. 100% of the proceeds from the event will go to support the humanitarian programs of the El Segundo Rotary Club, Palos Verdes Peninsula Rotary Club, and South Bay Rotary Club. Live music was provided by Detour.
While this was the 2nd Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival it was the first one that I attended, so I cannot compare it to last year’s event other than to say that I overheard a couple people that suggested that yesterday’s festival was bigger than their inaugural event. As a first time attendee I have to say that the stars must have been in perfect alignment as it appeared that Sunday’s event went off flawlessly.
I do not know how many people were in attendance, but when divided up between almost 30 breweries, close to 10 wineries and more than 20 restaurants lines were pretty much non-existent. There were not even lines for the restrooms. Continue reading
The 2nd Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival is hosted by Toyota and South Bay Equity Lending and sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of El Segundo, Palos Verdes Peninsula, and South Bay Sunrise. Proceeds from this 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. They also support international projects such as worldwide eradication of polio, clean water projects, and wheelchair purchases and distribution. Continue reading
Thursday was day four of the 9th Annual American Craft Beer Week and as the weekend approaches the craft beer festivities picked it up a notch or two with Barrel Night at the venerable Naja’s Place, the oldest craft beer bar in the South Bay. It was appropriate that Naja’s was included in the tour of local craft beer establishments if for no other reason than they were the first place we visited when I first started “celebrating” American Craft Beer Week in 2012. Long before American craft beer was a household word, Naja’s Place was known for their wide selection of beers although, as I recall they were predominantly imports. These days their 88 taps is like a who’s who of craft beers and last night was a fine example of that.
Every month or two it seems that Naja’s has some kind of special event and those in the know know that Naja’s does not do anything half way; go big or go home and fear no beer are the mantras attendees come in chanting to themselves. For American Craft Beer Week Naja’s brought out 43 barrel-aged brews from breweries such as Allagash, Almanac, Ballast Point, The Bruery, Deschutes, Drakes, Epic, Firestone Walker, Goose Island, Ironfire, Russian River, Sierra Nevada, Widmer and many others. The beers ran the gamut of styles with sours, stouts, porters, lagers and pretty much anything that could be barrel-aged making an appearance.
While there was a very large number of people in attendance there was more beer than could be consumed in one evening; so if you look at the photo of the Barrel Night tap list and see something you want to try you might want to head over to Naja’s and grab some before they do tap out. Naja’s Place is located at 154 International Boardwalk in Redondo Beach. Continue reading
While it may not be as well-known as the Napa-Sonoma wine region of California, the Temecula Valley area of the Inland Empire has at least 35 wineries and has gained considerable respectability with the wines they provide. Like Napa-Sonoma has exploded with craft breweries, the same can be said for Temecula and the Inland Empire; even if not to the same extent. This past weekend I headed out to Temecula and spent a little time checking out the craft breweries that have popped up since my last visit in 2012.
Wiens Brewing Company, as it turns out, opened a couple weeks before I did my 2012 brewery tour. My son lives in the area and he told me about a special anniversary ale that he had heard great things about. Unfortunately, by the time we got there it was all gone. I guess that is to be expected with a limited release. If the Wiens name sounds familiar, it could be because they also own Wiens Family Cellars, a Temecula Valley winery. Wiens had about 11 different beers on tap so we opted for a flight to do a major sampling. At $1.00 each for their flagship beers, it was a great deal. We sampled their Front Street Lager (nice maltiness), Far Post brown ale, Stout, Red Ale, Millennium Falconers IPA, Type 3 IPA (probably my favorite), Insomnia IPA and Descend Black IPA. For dessert we tried their Niflheim Russian Imperial Stout. All the beers were solid brews with the IPAs being my favorite. They offer a few other big beers so I am going to have to plan an overnight trip to Temecula so I can walk back to my hotel after experimenting more. Wiens does bottle many of their beers, so we did pick up one or two to try at home. Wiens Brewing Company is located at 27941 Diaz Road in Temecula.
When we were driving to Wiens some of the street names sounded familiar so I knew we had to be close to Black Market Brewing Company, which we had visited in late 2012. While we were looking for places we had never visited before we had such a good time the first time we were there I was okay with making a return visit. Besides, after a year and a half there had to be some brews we had not tried yet. Black Market Brewing is in a word, huge; they also appear to have a nice barrel aging program. The first time we visited them we had a room at the La Quinta across the street so we were able to take advantage by getting each of the 10 beers they had on tap. By take advantage I mean, they were giving six ounce pours for $1.00 so I could order one of each. This time I was driving, so we limited ourselves to a flight of four; Espionage on Nitro, Rotating IPA, Quadrophenia and Embargo. In my opinion, their big beers really show off Black Market’s brewing skills. Luckily, they bottle and can so we bought a couple bottles to bring home for later. Black Market Brewing Company is located at 41740 Enterprise Circle North in Temecula. Continue reading