South Bay residents may recall hearing about a terrible crash that happened in Torrance on March 7 that resulted in the death of 16 year old South High School student, Jesse Esphorst, Jr. The circumstances surrounding the accident and Jesse’s death were bad enough; but Jesse’s father, who was driving when they were hit by two cars that blew through a red light, was also seriously injured. The family, who had numerous other obstacles draining their bank account at the time of the accident, now had to deal with funeral expenses for Jesse and medical expenses for his father who is currently unable to work due to his injuries.
If I have my facts right, Jonathan and Laurie Porter of Smog City Brewing live next door to a family whose mother went to school with Jesse’s mother. Being the community involved people that they are, Smog City Brewing held a fundraiser Thursday evening to assist the Esphorst family with their financial burden. Continue reading
These photos were taken Friday at the 2nd Annual California Craft Beer Summit which was held at the Sacramento Convention Center. The day started off with seminars and panels covering various topics, such as understanding yeast, a preview of the taste panel training for cicerone hopefuls, how to build a beer list and how to discuss beer styles with uneducated customers.
After a few hours of education, the exhibit hall reopened with numerous vendors offering everything from hops and malts, to brew houses to canning machines and labels. Also, there were more panels and even some beer and food pairings for attendees to sample. A few of the local homebrew clubs were representing with a couple doing brews at the Craft Beer Summit. Of course, all the brewers guilds in the state were represented and providing samples to attendees. Continue reading
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
On Saturday afternoon I moderated a panel at the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library to highlight Torrance’s prominence in the South Bay’s burgeoning craft beer industry. Hosted by the Torrance Public Library, the panel consisted of Rich Marcello from Strand Brewing Company, Laurie Porter from Smog City Brewing, Alex Rabe from The Dudes’ Brewing, and Bart Bullington from Absolution Brewing Company.
The questions ranged from why was Torrance chosen to set up shop, how they got into craft beer and challenges faced by new breweries, to what would you do if AB InBev approached with suitcases full of money (apparently $1 billion is the magic number).
It was a fun discussion and hopefully those that attended learned a little more about the breweries and the craft beer community in general; it was nice having two panelists that are primarily on the sales side of their respective breweries (Marcello and Porter); and two panelists that are the brewers for their brewery (Rabe and Bullington). Continue reading
These photos are from the Business & Beer networking event that was held last night, September 12, at Smog City Brewing Company, a Torrance microbrewery. We had an excellent turnout of more than 20 people with a majority of them being first time attendees. In addition to the wide variety of delicious brews and multiple networking opportunities, Laurie Porter, co-owner of Smog City gave a little talk on the history of Smog City covering everything from how they chose their name and logo to how her husband and head brewer Porter comes up with the interesting tweaks to his base beers to come up with something a little different. After that, Laurie turned us over to assistant brewer Chris Walowski who took us on a tour of the operation. It was quite informative and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.
If you live or work in the South Bay area and networking is part of your job description or it is a vital part of your business’ success, you might want to take a look at Business & Beer. Business & Beer is an informal networking group that meets on the second Thursday of every month at a different microbrewery or brewpub in the local South Bay area. Our geographical boundaries are limited to between El Segundo and Torrance. We have no dues, no rules or mandatory meetings. Since it is held after normal work hours, you are more than welcome to bring your significant other or a friend. No special invitations are required; if you are free, stop on by. You can find the upcoming schedule and sign up for the mailing list on the Business & Beer website at BusinessNBeer.com. Cheers! Continue reading