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LABW6

LA Beer Week 6 Day 5: Tap Takeovers at Simmzy’s & Naja’s Place

Wednesday was day five of the 2014 LA Beer Week and in the South Bay we had a tap takeover by Firestone Walker at Simmzy’s in Manhattan Beach and another by Allagash Brewing Company at Naja’s Place in Redondo Beach. We started off at Simmzy’s where Shane Kral, Regional Sales Manager at Firestone Walker hosted the event. In addition to the Firestone Double DBA, Union Jack, XVII Anniversary, Pivo Pils and Bretta Weiss, he also brought along Jeffers Richardson, the original brewmaster for Firestone Walker and the current Barrelmeister and Director of the Firestone Walker Barrelworks in Buellton. It was interesting to talk with him a little about Firestone Walker and their planned location in Culver City. As of now, look for that location to open sometime in the middle of 2015.

I have only visited Simmzy’s a few times, but I have always been impressed with their tap list and the food is pretty good too. We had a salad that was delicious but I admit I saw a coupe burgers come out of the kitchen that looked really good; I just do not know that my mouth would open wide enough to fit one in. Simmzy’s is located at 229 Manhattan Beach Boulevard in Manhattan Beach.

After leaving Simmzy’s we headed over to Naja’s Place in Redondo Beach where they were holding their Allagash Brewing Company tap takeover. This was a “must attend” event for any Allagash fan as Naja’s brought out several archived Allagash beers and Allagash brought some special beers that have never made it out here before. With 20 different taps pouring Allagash brews there was definitely something for everyone. Continue reading

Finding Craft Beer: The Mega Stores

As much as I like to support local business; sometimes it just makes sense to shop at the major chains. This can hold true whether you are buying tires for your car or craft beer for your fridge. My last article about the local bottle shops was an article that I have been planning on writing for several months, but I wanted to give one of the locations a chance to finish some construction first. Initially I was going to compare two independent bottle shops to Total Wine, after I discovered that Costco had a wide selection of craft beer I decided that I would write two articles; the last one about the local independents, and another about the chains that carried craft beer. This article will visit Total Wine & More in Redondo Beach, Costco in Hawthorne and Whole Foods in El Segundo. You should probably know this going in, not all Costco or Whole Foods are created equal; not all locations are as good as those visited for this article.

Of any place I go to buy craft beer, Total Wine in Redondo Beach gets more of my business than probably everywhere else combined. The reasons for this are many, but the main reason is that it is basically across the street. It takes almost as much time to drive and park as it does to walk there. The convenience factor is strong with this one. The second thing is that they carry about 3,000 different varieties of beer and you can purchase individual bottles/cans so experimenting is a piece of cake. Not only do they carry American craft beers but their International beer selection is better than any place I have ever been. Their pricing is usually very good; I have found locally brewed beers being sold for significantly less that it would cost at the tap room it came from.

As a tip, if you visit Total Wine, feel free to walk into the cooler; there are lots of surprises to be found including Pliny and Blind Pig. Most of the time there will be bottle limits, so bring your friends and neighbors. Continue reading

Bottle Shops: The South Bay’s Hidden Treasures

The president of the newly formed Los Angeles County Brewers Guild, Jeremy Raub, said that the goal of this 6th Annual LA Beer Week is to “showcase the many diverse components” of the local craft beer scene. This includes the brewers, bar owners, distributors and journalists that help get fresh craft beer to you and make you aware of these brews. Since I usually spend my time promoting breweries, craft beer bars, home brew clubs and gastropubs, I thought I would do something a little different and discuss some of the local bottle shops that specialize in good beer; whether local or international as long as it is craft. It is nice to be able to walk into a tasting room whenever you like, but that just is not possible [around here] primarily due to the limited hours that tasting rooms are open. Besides, as much as I enjoy the beers that are brewed around here, when it comes to beer variety is definitely the spice of my life. Today I am going to introduce you to three locations in the South Bay that will likely provide many of the hard to find brews that are available to the person that doesn’t mind searching a little. The three bottle shops are Number 1 Liquor and Adam’s Fine Wines & Liquors in Redondo Beach; and 3Ten Liquor in Torrance.

Number 1 Liquor has been at the same location on the corner of Aviation and Grant Avenue since the 1970’s; although they did not start promoting craft beer until 2012. To be honest, the first time I heard about Number 1 I was told to not tell anyone about it. They were one of the only bottle shops in the South Bay that had a Russian River allocation, making it one of the few places around here that you could buy a bottle of Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig or any other Russian River beers. The downside to it was that you had to know that they had it in stock in order to get some. That was actually my main turn off to the place; it seemed like they had more beer in the back room than they had displayed and you had to know what to ask for otherwise it was a matter of telling them what style or brewery you preferred and they would bring out what they thought was close. It was less than ideal; but there was no doubt that they carried more varieties of hard to find craft beer than any other independent liquor store that I was aware of. 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

Locals Night at Naja’s Place LA Beer Week 2014

The 6th Annual LA Beer Week begins Saturday, September 20 but Naja’s Place in Redondo Beach kicked it off a day early with their “Locals Night” which included close to 50 beers on tap from 18 local craft breweries. The local breweries spotlighted in last night’s event included, The Brewery at Abigaile, Angel City, Beachwood, Bottle Logic, The Bruery, The Dudes’ Brewing, Eagle Rock Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, Golden Road, Hangar 24, Kinetic Brewing, King Harbor Brewing, Ladyface, LA Ale Works, Monkish Brewing, Noble Ale Works, Smog City and Strand Brewing Company.

Naja’s Place will continue their celebration of LA Beer Week on Saturday by showcasing 30+ Pizza Port beers, followed by an Allagash tap takeover on Wednesday and a Firestone takeover next Saturday, September 27.

Los Angeles Beer Week (LABW6) officially runs from September 20 through September 28. There are events happening all over the Greater Los Angeles area; you can find the most up to date schedule of events on the LA Beer Week website. There are some great beers being brewed around here now, go out and celebrate it. Cheers! Continue reading

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