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Photos from Day One of Naja’s 9th Annual IPA Festival

Late Wednesday morning, I jumped in a Lyft and headed towards the International Boardwalk at King Harbor in Redondo Beach for day one of Naja’s Place 9th Annual IPA Festival.

In the past, the event started at 2:00 or 3:00 PM, and there would be a pretty decent line of people waiting to get in; this year, Naja’s is opening at 11:30 AM and when I arrived at 11:31 there was only four or five people waiting, so that was nice.

Another change this year is the printed beer menu. In the past they have printed one menu for the entire event, so you had to hope the beer you heart was set on was available that day. This year the menu only listed the beers that were available that day; additional menus will be printed daily as some beers tap out and are replaced. Continue reading

4th Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival Photos

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

Photos from the 5th Annual Kraft Bierfest at Alpine Village

These photos were taken at the 5th Annual Kraft Bierfest that was held Saturday afternoon at Alpine Village in Torrance. Having attended every Kraft Bierfest since inception I can say that Saturday’s event reminded me of their first event in 2012 in that there was lots of quality beer but not very many people there to drink it. Since Alpine Village buys the beer they pour, rather than relying on donations, this means it is probably going to be a good time to visit there as their tap list probably has a lot of leftovers available.

In 2012 they had about 100 beers and maybe 200 attendees (probably a generous headcount); on Saturday they had about 50 beers, if there were 100 people that showed up I would be surprised. There was very little in the way of advertising, which was the obvious reason for so few showing up. But, as was pointed out to me by a few people, what was lacking in attendance was definitely made up for with the quality of beers available. In fact, this event was one of the “biggest” I have attended as far as ABV is concerned, in quite a while. Continue reading

A Visit to zpizza Tap Room at LAX

A couple of weeks ago, while attending the Endless Rant Release Party at King Harbor Brewing I was approached by a young woman that recognized me from this site and various social media platforms. In the course of our conversation she informed me that she and her husband had recently opened a pizza place by Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and they had a craft beer tap list that they were pretty proud of. She pointed out her husband and mentioned that he was a graduate of El Segundo High School. I figured he had to be in his early 30’s so I mentioned that he probably knew one or both of my kids since they both graduated from there, and El Segundo is a pretty tight-knit community. We decided to find out, and went over to him for introductions.

She introduced me to her husband, Jason Imhoff, and almost immediately after mentioning my son’s name Imhoff began speaking about him with a lot of respect. That is an inside tip; if you want to get on my good side, speak highly of my kids.

Imhoff told me a little about his business, zpizza Tap Room, and invited me to please come by to check them out. My regular readers know that pizza is not exactly a draw for me, but I told them I would stop by the next time I was in the neighborhood. A day or two later I was talking with my son and asked him if he remembered Jason Imhoff. Like Imhoff had done with him, my son had nothing but good things to say about Imhoff; at that point I decided I would not wait until I was in the neighborhood, but would make a special trip out there. This article and the photos are from my visit there last Wednesday afternoon. Continue reading

8th Annual IPA Festival at Najas Place

It is that time of year again; Naja’s Place in Redondo Beach began their week-long 8th Annual IPA Festival on Wednesday afternoon. The event will feature well over 100 IPAs from around the country.

We headed there early Wednesday afternoon as this was not my first rodeo, and Naja’s fills up fast every year as hopheads descend upon the International Boardwalk at the Redondo Beach Pier.

Each day of the event will feature a special IPA; Wednesday’s was Russian River’s Pliny the Elder. Thursday will feature Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA; Friday will have El Segundo Brewing’s Hop Plunge and their anniversary beer El Segundo El Cinco Del Segundo. Saturday will be Pizza Port day featuring more than 20 of their specialty IPAs. Sunday will feature Knee Deep’s Simtra Triple IPA, with Monday’s featured brew being Russian River’s Blind Pig and Tuesday will have Pliny the Elder again. Continue reading

Craft Beer and Sushi

This past Sunday was Tanya’s birthday and I wanted to do something special for her. Initially we had discussed doing a craft beer tour down in San Diego or perhaps head up the California coast towards Paso Robles; both ideas were definite possibilities until I asked, “Do you want to go have sushi?” It was at that point that craft beer became a secondary destination and Matsuyama Japanese Fusion in Roseville became our primary destination.

Now, one might think that driving 400 miles for sushi was a little extreme, but if you have ever had a meal prepared by Matsuyama’s owner Song Kim, you know that it isn’t all that extreme. I have known Song since around 2008 and have introduced his work to friends of mine from around the world and everyone has loved it; even those that were not sure that they even liked sushi. Heck, Tanya would never consider sushi until she tried Song’s. I figured that since Roseville is up by Sacramento, and Sacramento’s craft beer scene has been growing, it should be easy to find a craft brewery not too far from Matsuyama. Continue reading

A Visit to STACKED Torrance

Regular readers of my site may recall that back in March I visited a STACKED restaurant in Cerritos for a beer tasting put on by Craft Beer Guild Distributing. While we had a very good time exploring the STACKED menu and trying the various craft beers that had been presented, Cerritos is almost 20 miles from my home so the likelihood of my returning just for dinner was not very good. While we were at the Cerritos location I was informed that STACKED has four locations; Cerritos, Thousand Oaks, San Diego and Torrance, which is about five minutes from my home, so I made a mental note to check it out sometime.

As a result of my article the public relations company for STACKED began inviting me to events at their other locations; but as the invites were always to Thousand Oaks or San Diego the distance was just too far to justify the drive. After the last invitation I reminded them that I lived in the South Bay; I was then invited to visit the Torrance location. After a few emails back and forth, I was told to head over to the Torrance location and was given a couple names to ask for when I got there. When we arrived yesterday I found out that the two names were managers at the Cerritos location. This was not a good start.

Tanya and I went outside to decide where we would eat when Ashley Brown, manager for the Torrance STACKED came out and asked what brought us there in the first place. After hearing that there must have been a mix-up somewhere and not wanting to lose the opportunity for some exposure, Brown invited us back in. Continue reading

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