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LA Beer Week

LABW9: So You Want to Open a Brewery in LA?

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

LA Brewers Kickoff and a Proposal

These photos are from Saturday at the LA Brewers Kickoff of Los Angeles Beer Week 9 (LABW9), which was held at the Los Angeles Center Studios in downtown Los Angeles. This outstanding event featured close to 60 Los Angeles craft breweries along with 30 out of town craft brewers and about 10 food trucks. In addition to the beer and food there were games, live music and plenty of water and shade for those seeking to escape the high air temperature.

I did not ask how many tickets were sold, but I suspect there were about 1,000 people in attendance. With close to 100 booths to visit, lines were never really an issue; with the exception being when a brewery had a scheduled release of a special beer they brought. Even then, once the beer was opened, the lines seemed to disappear rather quickly. Continue reading

Ninja Turtles Invade El Segundo – Pizzas Devoured

After leaving the LA Beer Week Kickoff Festival we stopped by El Segundo Brewing Company (ESBC) for an after-party they were having. They were kind of on the way home anyway, so we headed over.

By the time we arrived the tasting room was jumping as a mixture of people that had obviously been to the LABW8 festival melded with the usual taproom crowd that flock to ESBC to enjoy their fresh brews. I had seen something mentioned on social media about the event, but I did not realize that this was more than just an after party; this was much more. Continue reading

Rob Rubens Distilling & Brewing Opens This Weekend

Back in September I informed you that Rob Rubens Distilling & Brewing would be opening in El Segundo; in fact, I predicted mid-2016 as when the doors would actually open. It turns out I was correct, as just in time for LA Beer Week, Rob Rubens will open their doors to the general public this Friday, June 17 with their soft open beginning at 4:30 PM and they will continue to be open seven days a week from that point on.

These photos include a few visits that I made over the past nine months while documenting their progress as well as their Friends & Family party that they had at the production brewery’s tasting room on Wednesday evening.

Since distilling spirits takes a little more time and money than brewing beer, Rob Rubens Distilling & Brewing is starting off with providing craft beer with the spirits becoming available in the coming months. Last night we were able to sample a few of Ruben’s flagship beers, such as their Gunpowder Cream Ale, Hitman Ale Altbier, a yet to be named pale ale and a stout. The brews were all solid and I learned something about cream ales; it is not about vanilla flavors at all. Cream ale is essentially ale brewed with ale or lager yeast at lower temperatures, and then cold aged. It reminded me of a hoppy lager with a pilsner finish; it makes for a very tasty session brew. Continue reading

Three Weavers 2016 Unity Bottle Release Party Photos

These photos were taken Friday at Three Weavers Brewing Company during their bottle release party for the official beer of the 2016 LA Beer Week, Unity. Unity is an “experimental IPA” in that it used a lot of an experimental hop so new it does not have a name yet, other than HBC 522. It got the name Unity because while it was brewed and bottled at Three Weavers, many members of the L.A. County Brewers Guild participated in the brew. While it has been said that too many cooks spoil the broth, that was definitely not the case with Unity. Unity is a delicious resinous American IPA with a slight sweetness in the finish.

Admittedly, I do not get over to Three Weavers as frequently as I might like but it is pretty obvious that they are doing quite well. I arrived early to the event and the tasting room was already packed with more people coming in the entire time I was there. Another sign of success is the growth of the brewery itself which will be seeing a new, larger brewhouse in the upcoming weeks. Congratulations to Lynne Weaver, Alexandra Nowell and the entire staff at Three Weavers.

Speaking of the 8th Annual LA Beer Week, the event runs from June 18-26 and begins with the kickoff festival which will be held Saturday, June 18 at the Los Angeles Center Studios. All 45 brewery members of the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild will be represented along with about 30 other craft breweries from around the state. If you missed last year’s kickoff event you missed a great time and this year’s event promises to be even bigger and better; you do not want to miss it. While this year’s event will be bigger, they will not be selling additional tickets so do yourself a favor and buy your tickets today. You can get more information and purchase your tickets at LABeerWeek.org. Cheers! Continue reading

A Review of LA Beer Week 2015

LABW7 schedule

Unity release at Smog City Brewing

It has been a week or so now since LA Beer Week 2015 (LABW7) and I think I am ready to give a review of the “week-long” event. I say “week-long” because LABW7 officially ran from June 20-28 but some venues started celebrating early and others ended on the 27th. Heck, Smog City Brewing held their Unity (the official beer of LA Beer Week) bottle release on the Wednesday before, and Absolution Brewing released their LA Beer Week brew, AD/JD on Thursday. No matter when you started, it was a very long week with some very good beers to be found. There are a few events I attended but did not write about; if you want to see those photos please visit my Facebook page.

The LA Beer Week Kickoff Party was held Saturday, June 20 at Exposition Park. I have to be honest, even though I have been documenting LA Beer Week since LABW4 in 2012 I have never attended any of their kickoff events. This was due primarily to preconceived misconceptions of what a madhouse it would be; plus I really do not like driving to DTLA. On the Wednesday before the kickoff party I happened to notice an email that came in from Absolution Brewing to members of their Mug Club in which they were offering VIP tickets to the first five “Muggers” that asked for them. I asked Tanya if she wanted to go and she responded immediately with, “No!.” This was because I had been saying we were not going for the past week, so I think she was just making sure I knew she was okay with it.

As I was going to the Torrance City Hall that night anyway for a Planning Commission hearing and Absolution was basically on the way home, it was decided that we would stop by after the Planning Commission hearing and see if any passes were still available. In other words, I was going to let others have an opportunity to score the passes before me. We showed up to Absolution shortly before they closed and no one had claimed any of the passes, so we decided to attend the kickoff.

Absolution Brewing staff

Thank you to Absolution Brewing for the VIP passes

Continue reading

LA Beer Week 2015: Rarest of the Rare at Smog City

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at Smog City Brewing Company’s Rarest of the Rare LA Beer Week (LABW7) event. Smog City did this once before, during the 2013 LA Beer Week (LABW5) and if you attended the last one, I am sure you came away with a similar thought, oh what a difference 18 months can make. While the first time was pretty amazing, yesterday’s event was just that much more.

I guess if there is a disadvantage to living in the middle of the current craft beer central it is that sometimes there are just too many events and not enough time to cover them all. As I was involved with the Euro Bierfest at Alpine Village I did not arrive until a few hours into the event which meant that the highly sought, limited availability Spittin’ n Cussin’ was tapped out but that could not prevent one from having a great time with options like their Bourbon O.E. from 2011 through 2015, their collaboration with Beachwood Brewing, Bourbon Collaborative Evil, Infinite Wishes, 2015 Unity with variations and beer cocktails. It was one of those kids in a candy store experiences and it seemed like I was not the only one to think so.

With all the beer options that were available, I would be willing to bet that there is still a very nice selection available. I think I will wrap this up and head over to see what I can try. Cheers! Continue reading

LA Beer Week 2015: Friday at Smog City & El Segundo Brewing

The 2015 LA Beer Week (#LABW7) is flowing along with more beer and events than any one human can possibly keep up with; I know I definitely took it a lot easier this year than in past. Anyway, it is Friday and I guess it is day seven of LA Beer Week. As I have an early event on Saturday, Euro Bierfest at Alpine Village, I decided to keep it mellow Friday night. Smog City had San Diego beerlebrity, Nate Soroko in attendance as a guest bartender.

Soroko is the chef at Toronado in San Diego, and a pretty well-known beer aficionado in the San Diego area. I happened to run into him in early 2014 during a visit to Alpine Beer Company. I was taking pictures and someone told me I should take his photo too as he was a big deal; so I did. After formally meeting him tonight I came away with the fact that he is a nice guy; and he likes his beer. While I did not see Soroko actually “tend bar” he did sweep people off their feet and had a couple chugging contests that he dominated; but I am not entirely sure he won the last one. Dan’s mug was pretty dry. Continue reading

LA Beer Week 2015: Pink Boots Takeover at Three Weavers

Monday was day three of the 2015 LA Beer Week (#LABW7) and the celebration of Los Angeles’ craft beer scene continued with numerous events. I decided to head over to the Three Weavers Brewing Company tasting room in Inglewood where the Los Angeles Chapter of the Pink Boots Society held a fundraiser for their scholarship fund in the form of a tap takeover featuring craft beers from 20 breweries.

I have to admit that when I first heard about the event I figured we would attend primarily because it was a fundraiser for the Pink Boots Society and it would be one way I could give back to the industry. When I got there I discovered that there were some pretty outstanding beers featured and a fun group of people to enjoy them with.

The Pink Boots Society was created “to empower women beer professionals to advance their careers in the beer industry through education.” This is done via regional meetings, seminars and their scholarship fund. An example of the types of scholarships they fund would be the two-day Barth-Haas Hops Academy held in Yakima, WA this coming August. The scholarships are open to Pink Boots Society members and to become a member you must be a woman that has a paying job within the beer industry. Continue reading

LA Beer Week 2015: Father’s Day

Sunday was day two of the 2015 LA Beer Week (#LABW7) and it was Father’s Day. As my daughter wanted to take me out for Father’s Day and I wanted to take my dad out, we decided that we would all go together. My dad enjoys his craft beer but I know I have brought things over to the house that he just was not into; so I asked him if he had ever tried a wild ale or sour beer. He had not, but was willing to give it a try, so we decided that we would head over to Phantom Carriage for their Father’s Day Brunch and Vinyl Sunday.

I brought Elvis Costello’s “My Aim is True” which they put on the turntable while Tanya and I enjoyed Beer-Mosas with their Brewers Breakfast. In the meantime I introduced dad to Muis; it wasn’t his thing and he asked if they had an IPA. I brought him a Hoppy Birthday and his eyes lit up. After learning it wasn’t brewed by Phantom Carriage he said he wanted to try something else by them; I should just surprise him. Well, apparently his palate warmed up and he truly enjoyed the Dolores Nitro I presented.

We got there when they first opened and it had a decent group; by the time we finished eating, drinking and visiting the place was packed. It is good to see that they are continuing to grow. Speaking of which, they now have growlers of Muis available; bottles of some of their other brews will be there before you know it. Continue reading

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