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Smog City & El Segundo Brewing Birthday Bash Photos

These photos were taken Saturday, when Smog City Brewing in Torrance and El Segundo Brewing in El Segundo combined forces to celebrate Smog City’s third and El Segundo’s fifth anniversaries.

I started the morning off at the VIP session of Smog City’s festivities. They had opened up the cellar room that connects directly to the south of the main tasting room where they added two beer stations. One had their sours, like Cuddlebug, Snugglebug and Jason’s now famous Cuddle Paloma; and a citrus station where you would find Bloody Optimist, Mexican Vacation and Kumquat Saison. The main taproom had an additional Brewers Station back in the brewhouse where you would find brews like Bourbon O.E., Infinite Wishes and The Nothing. The Old Fashioned O.E. made its return from last year; I was glad Tanya got one so I could taste it.

The group was limited to 200 people which might sound like a lot for the tasting room, but with the cellar room being opened up, it was quite comfortable and the Smog City staff was keeping up handily with any lines that formed. Continue reading

A Craft Beer Valentine’s Day in the South Bay

As I sat down to write this, I asked Tanya what we did last year for Valentine’s Day. Neither of us could recall off hand but after a little research we discovered that we may be becoming creatures of habit with traditions we did not realize we had.

Anyway, this year Smog City Brewing re-released their Death By Hops DIPA so we decided to start the day off there. They had a brisk business going on with many beerlebrity sightings as hop heads from near and far came to check out the latest release; they would not be disappointed. Regular readers of Craft Beer Guy have probably noticed that I do not do beer reviews on this site (you can visit my Untappd account if you want those) but I will say that this batch is amazing. If you enjoy a good in-your-face hop bomb you will want to get over there before it is all gone. One thing that came to mind as I enjoyed it was just how lucky we are to live in an area that turns out so many great brews and the double IPAs. When you stop to think about Smog City’s Death By Hops, Strand Brewing’s White Sand, El Segundo Brewing’s Hammerland, and The Brewery at Abigaile’s Beetlejuice, to name but a few, the South Bay is turning out some of the best brews around.

After enjoying a beer at Smog City and speaking with a few people we headed down Western to Mulligan Family Fun Center to race go-karts. They have gas powered karts and governors equipped to prevent them from going very fast but it was still a lot of fun. No photos of this part of the day are available because I have yet to figure out how to race and work the camera at the same time. Continue reading

LA Beer Week continues: Torrance tasting rooms & Caskforce at Beachwood

Sunday was day two of the 6th Annual LA Beer Week and I decided to start the day off by visiting a couple of the Torrance tasting rooms since they were not around last year. The afternoon began at Torrance’s oldest production brewery, Strand Brewing Company. It was not particularly crowded, but they did have a nice group in there; due in part to LA Craft Beer Tours bringing a group in. I had the opportunity to visit with a few people and wish Nikki good luck as she will be leaving us soon to take on a new job with Drake’s Brewing. Congratulations, Nikki. Strand Brewing Company is located at 23520 Telo Avenue in Torrance.

I then headed over to The Dudes’ Brewing Company to see what has been going on there since their grand opening last week. The first thing I noticed was that they now have ample seating for everyone; to celebrate LA Beer Week The Dudes’ held raffles for beer, shirts, hats and other swag over the weekend. In addition to eight or nine beers on tap they also offered one on nitro and one on cask. It looks like The Dudes’ have gotten the hang of the tasting room and they should be quite successful as time goes on. The Dudes’ Brewing Company is located at 1840 W. 208th Street in Torrance.

For my final production brewery stop, I paid a visit to Absolution Brewing Company. It has been a few weeks since I was there and again, one of the first things I noticed was that they rearranged their pews to make it easier for people to sit together and talk while enjoying a guilt free Absolution brew. Judging by all the new kegs that were waiting to be filled it would be safe to presume that their distribution to bars and restaurants must be doing pretty well. Absolution Brewing Company is located at 2878 Columbia Street in Torrance. Continue reading

Photos from South Bay Progressive II

Saturday evening I joined a few dozen others for the South Bay Progressive’s second “pub crawl” which included five South Bay venues that specialize in craft beer; each of whom showcased a different American craft brewery. The five venues and the breweries they featured were Brewco, Manhattan Beach featuring Smog City Brewing; The Brewery at Abigaile featuring Stone Brewing Company; Silvio’s Brazilian Barbecue featuring Modern Times Beer; Naja’s Place featuring The Bruery; and Select Beer Store who featured Great Divide Brewing Company. Transportation for the event was provided by LA Craft Beer Tours.

We started our tour at Naja’s Place since it was the closest with the best parking options; the fact that they were showcasing The Bruery made the decision process a little easier. I have to admit, I was a little shocked when I saw the Naja’s tap list as it was emptier than I have ever seen. I was then reminded that Naja’s is having their 6th Annual IPA Festival this coming Wednesday so they are in the process of cleaning all their lines. If you enjoy IPAs you will want to head to Naja’s Place for this week long event.

My intent was to visit The Brewery at Abigaile next with a stop by Silvio’s on the way back but a scheduling conflict resulted in Silvio’s closing at 7:00 PM for a private party so we headed to Silvio’s first then walked up the street to Abigaile. After grabbing a beer, some food and photos we headed to Brewco in Manhattan Beach. As one might imagine, Saturday night in Manhattan Beach meant a pretty large crowd but the service was fast and the people were friendly. After enjoying a beer most of us got back on the bus and headed back to Naja’s Place which was now jumping with live music and an even more lively audience.

South Bay Progressive is a collaboration between the five South Bay venues with a cross-promotion of some of the production breweries that have helped make the South Bay a craft beer destination. The event started last September for LA Beer Week and included four of last night’s participating five venues, with The Brewery at Abigaile joining in the fun this time around. This was the first time I have participated in an event like this but I have to say, if South Bay Progressive continues I will do my best to be there next time as well. Cheers! Continue reading

Local craft brewers give back to the community

TEF banner

Torrance Education Foundation Donors

It was Saturday morning, March 1 when I received a text from Torrance City Councilman Pat Furey with a simple question; would the Torrance breweries be interested in donating items for the Torrance Education Foundation (TEF) fund raising event? Furey’s idea was that if I could get a few donations put together from the various breweries the TEF could put it together as one nice live auction item at their event which was held last Friday, March 28. I told him I would do what I could.

Since it was a Saturday and a beer sounded pretty good, I decided to make a visit to the Torrance tasting rooms to see what I could muster up. It was encouraging as I traveled from Smog City Brewing Company to Monkish Brewing Company to Strand Brewing Company to Absolution Brewing Company to answers that were always the same and with no hesitation; they would all be happy to contribute to the cause! While I was at Monkish Brewing, an LA Craft Beer Tours van pulled up so I asked Dale, a co-owner and driver that day, if they would be interested in participating. Again, the response was immediate; LA Craft Beer Tours was on-board. Since The Dudes’ Brewing Company and King Harbor Brewing Company did not have tasting rooms open yet, I contacted them over the next couple of days and both said they would contribute. Red Car Brewery had already been contacted by someone else from the TEF, so all the Torrance and Redondo Beach production breweries and brewpubs were now involved. Continue reading

South Bay Breweries Valentines Weekend

Since we have been on the road lately, I decided that this weekend we would stick around and give a little love to the South Bay’s craft beer brewers for the Valentine’s Day weekend. Friday, Valentine’s Day, we headed over to The Brewery at Abigaile, a brewpub in Hermosa Beach. Since it was Valentine’s Day and we had not made any reservations we took advantage of their Happy Hour seating and grabbed a couple seats at the bar where we were able to enjoy a flight of their brews; including their 002 2nd Anniversary DIPA and Dark Matter a Belgian dark ale that can only get better with age. One of the best things about the release of the 002 DIPA is that it means the anniversary party for Abigaile must be coming soon.

On Saturday I headed over to Smog City Brewing where they were hosting a fundraiser for the LA Derby Dolls Enforcers. The Derby Dolls are a Southern California, all-female banked track roller derby league. The Enforcers are the referees for the league. The fundraiser consisted of a raffle for Derby Dolls and Smog City swag as well as beer floats in four different varieties and a pie versus cake sale. Between the people that came out specifically for the fundraiser, the various beer tour buses and those that just wanted to come have a beer, Smog City was packed to the brim. After sampling a couple beers and Tanya’s Death by Chocolate (The Nothing with chocolate ice cream beer float) we headed over to Monkish Brewing.

We got there about the same time as the LA Craft Beer Tours van, so we found Monkish to be almost as crowded as Smog City. When I think back to when we first started going to Monkish and compare it to today it is pretty obvious that the craft beer scene in Torrance is really exploding. People frequently ask me if there are too many breweries here; when I visit multiple local breweries like I did Saturday I can’t help but think how crowded these locations would be if there were only one or two available. Continue reading

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