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Business & Beer Pays Visit to Strand Brewing Company

On Thursday evening the Business & Beer networking group paid one of its final visits to the Strand Brewing Company tasting room with a handful of attendees. The reason I say it was one of their final visits to the Strand Brewing tasting room is that Strand Brewing should be moving over to the Ale Triangle section of Torrance before too long. For those unfamiliar with the area I just described as the Ale Triangle, that is the part of Torrance that Smog City, Monkish Brewing and The Dudes’ are located; over by Western and Del Amo. I will have more information on that move as it becomes available and I am allowed to disclose it.

After the poor showing at last month’s Business & Beer networking event, the question arose; “Has Business & Beer run its course? Should we continue?” Between the handful of people that came to Strand Brewing for the event and those Strand customers that were curious enough to come over and talk to us about the group, it was decided that the group shall continue; at least for the time being.

One of those that came over and asked about the group was Nikki of Nikki’s Atomic Oven. She does meal preparations and came bearing gifts, some really delicious cookies. Hopefully Nikki will be able to join us at future gatherings. Continue reading

Brewtopia at Abigaile Restaurant Photos

These photos are from the Brewtopia Beer Garden which was held at Abigaile Restaurant and the Ocean Bar & Lounge located in Hermosa Beach. This was the second “beer garden” event held at Abigaile in the last four months that showcased LA Brewers Guild breweries and this time it featured a few breweries that came from out of the area.

The breweries that I noticed in attendance included Mammoth Brewing Company, Bootlegger’s, Hangar 24, Bravery, Kinetic, El Segundo Brewing, Monkish, Smog City, Taps Fish House, The Bruery, Three Weavers, Absolution, Golden Road, Eagle Rock, Coachella Valley Brewing, King Harbor and Noble Ale Works. Included in the price of admission was all the food you could get your hands on from Chef Tin’s grill which appeared to be quite popular; I just wish I had three hands so I could hold food and beer while still taking photos.

While this event seemed to be as well attended as the prior Novem-BEER-Fest as far as beer drinkers, the faces behind the breweries were not very well represented. Beerlebrity sightings while I was there was limited to Nigel Heath from Absolution Brewing and Brian Brewer, former brewer for The Brewery at Abigaile and brewer for the soon to be HopSaint brewpub that will be opening in Torrance. I also noticed several Craft Beer Guy followers, and I always personally appreciate that. Continue reading

A Preview of Beachwood Blendery

It goes without saying; this is a great time to be living in Southern California when it comes to craft beer. I cannot imagine where the beer scene would be if it had taken off in the 1980’s the way it has in recent years. Living in the Los Angeles area when I became of legal age, I really knew nothing of craft beer. As I spent a lot of time in San Francisco, Guinness was my “special occasion” brew, but that was not really easy to find around here so I found myself drinking the typical Bud and Miller Lite with the occasional Beck’s Dark thrown in for good measure.

About 10 years ago I started discovering craft beer, even though I did not know it was called craft beer; to be honest, I am not even sure they called it “craft” yet. As I ventured into places like BJ’s and Gordon Biersch I started learning names like Pale Ale, IPA, Hefeweizen, Marzen, and Pilsner. Today, there are literally thousands of craft breweries around the country and worldwide; and there are relatively new, at least to me, styles than are coming on like gang busters. A new vocabulary had to be learned with sours, wild ales, lambics and guezes. As the beer drinking public developed their thirst and palates for sours, a few local breweries have decided to try their hand at brewing various sour styles and this has resulted in a new word that is becoming more popular, blendery. Continue reading

Photos from the Torrance Craft Brewery Walk

On Sunday afternoon, we held the second of what will hopefully become a series of walks and, possibly later, bicycle rides between the craft breweries located in the South Bay area. If you will recall, last Saturday we had our first walk, the Super Bowl Warmup Brewery Walk. That walk started off at Smog City Brewing Company before walking to Monkish Brewing then The Dudes’ Brewing before heading back to Smog City. For our first walk we had a very nice turnout, with close to 20 participants and two dogs. Yesterday we had 10 participants and four dogs. We also reversed the route to mix it up a little by walking from Smog City to The Dude’s before moving on to Monkish and back to Smog City.

Last week I polled a few of the people that joined us and I knew ahead of time that many of the people that came last week would not be able to make it this week; as it turned out only three of us have participated in both walks and we have people coming in from as far away as Echo Park and El Monte so this was a first time visit to our local tasting rooms for several in our group. I would, once again, like to thank everyone that came out yesterday; it was a lot of fun.

Next week we are going to do something a little different by increasing the distance on our next walk. The first two walks were just a little over one mile in total; the walk between King Harbor Brewing and Absolution Brewing is 2.5 miles each way. There are very few hills; in fact I would not really consider any portion of the route to be hilly. Each direction should take about an hour, so figure four hours in total between drinking and walking. Please visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1406342963000228/?ref=3&ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular for more details and to let us know if you will join us. At this time we have five people that have said they are walking; I do not really expect a bigger group, but it would be nice. I have mentioned to a few people that I would like to develop this into a charity walk, so I am testing some mobile apps that we can use to track our mileage and make donations accordingly. If you have suggestions, please don’t hesitate to tell me about them. Continue reading

Infinite Wishes and Finite Bottles

Anyone that goes to Smog City Brewing Company on even rare occasions has noticed the oak bourbon barrels that have lined the walls for the past year or so. In them we have seen such wonders as Goldie, their bourbon barrel-aged Belgian Golden Strong Ale and today they released Infinite Wishes, a bourbon barrel-aged version of The Nothing Imperial Stout. If you got to Smog City by 2:00 PM you may have been lucky enough to purchase a bottle; if not, sorry. They sold the bottles out quickly and it really should be no surprise. The Nothing is an amazing imperial stout and to age it in bourbon barrels can only serve to make it better, and it did. While the bottles of Infinite Wishes sold out in about two hours, they still had it on tap; at least they did when I left. If you enjoy bourbon barrel-aged beers and will be in the South Bay area Sunday, I suggest stopping by Smog City and trying it before it is gone. By the way, there is a new batch of Infinite Wishes in the bourbon barrels for next year’s release.

While the Infinite Wishes was probably the main draw, they also re-released bottles of The Nothing. This is going to be a seasonal release and they still had plenty of bottles the last I saw. They have both the 2014 and 2015 versions of The Nothing on tap so you can use the opportunity to compare the difference after a year of aging. If you still have a bottle of the 2014 version of The Nothing you can start building your vertical. Unfortunately, I opened my bottle a couple months ago without realizing it was my last and not going to be replaceable; oh well.

For those that have not been to Smog City, they are located at 1901 Del Amo Boulevard in Torrance. You have a good reason to head over there this weekend with these limited release brews. Cheers! Continue reading

Business & Beer Begins 2015 at Smog City Brewing

The Business & Beer business networking group returned to the Smog City Brewing tasting room on Thursday evening for their first networking event of 2015. The group of attendees included a couple of first timers as well as a number of people that have been attending since the group’s inception in July of 2012. As Business & Beer enters its third year we look forward to seeing additional growth for this informal group of like-minded business people.

In addition to the business networking and beer, co-founder Tanya Martin provided some of her locally renowned cookies and crackers that were made with flour she made from some spent grains provided by Smog City. While her two versions of crackers were well-received, the homemade peanut butter cookies were definitely a crowd favorite.

The group was also treated to a tour of the Smog City Brewing operation by Assistant Brewer Chris “Sour” Walowski, who not only explained the brewing process but also told us a little of Smog City’s future plans as well as his own personal preferences when it comes to beer. Everyone that took the tour seemed to appreciate the insight; thank you Chris. Continue reading

The 2014 Craft Beer Guy Year in Review

As 2014 winds down I faced the question posed to me by a few people; “Will Craft Beer Guy be writing an article about the year?” Initially I thought I would do a Top 10 list and just discuss the Top 10 breweries and brewpubs in the South Bay. I figured it would be easy because there were only 10 craft brewers here, but in the last month so many new locations have opened that we now have 12 if you count Phantom Carriage that has not “officially” opened yet. The South Bay now has the following breweries and brewpubs in its confines; in order of seniority (I think) they are: Red Car Brewery, San Pedro Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, El Segundo Brewing Company, Monkish Brewing Company, The Brewery at Abigaile, Smog City Brewing, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Absolution Brewing Company, King Harbor Brewing Company, Three Weavers Brewing and Phantom Carriage. 2015 should bring us a few more including Hop Saint, Brouwerij West and Port Town Brewing; and those are just the ones that come to mind. There will also be some moves and expansions among those listed above. With that I now present you The 2014 Craft Beer Guy Year in Review.

January 2014

Noble flight

Noble Ale Works Flight

As I look through my articles from January I see that it was a pretty mellow month or the calm before the storm if you prefer. I would have to say my personal highlight of the month was a Sunday afternoon that we spent visiting several of the Orange County craft brewery tasting rooms and brewpubs. The day included stops at Bootlegger’s Brewery, Taps Fish House & Brewery, Noble Ale Works, Tustin Brewing Company and Brewbakers. Each of these stops were first time visits and I would not have a problem recommending any of them. The thing is, in the past year Orange County has opened so many new tasting rooms and brewpubs that it is getting tough to try and keep up with them all; but I will try. Continue reading

A visit to REV Brewing and Alosta Brewing Company – Covina

On Saturday I had a couple of events to photograph out in Irwindale so I decided to use the opportunity to visit two new craft breweries in neighboring Covina; REV Brewing Company and Alosta Brewing Company.

Our first stop was REV Brewing Company, a production brewery that opened the doors to their tasting room a week ago. REV Brewing is a craft brewery that grew from their original REV Winery, so this tasting room offers beer and wine and provides lots of wine barrels that will be used later in the brewery’s upcoming barrel program.

REV’s Brew Master is Erick “Riggz” Villar, a home brewer for 10 years and most recently was the head brewer at Ohana Brewing Company. Since Riggz is an old friend of wine maker and owner Eddie Romero it did not take much for Riggz to come on board with REV Brewing. Continue reading

Abigaile Restaurant Hosts Novem-BEER-Fest

On Sunday afternoon, Abigaile Restaurant and The Brewery at Abigaile in Hermosa Beach hosted their inaugural Novem-BEER-Fest beer garden, featuring 20 of Los Angeles’ finest craft breweries. While the event was initially scheduled to take over the entire Abigaile complex, it was later decided to keep it confined to the Ocean Bar and its rooftop lounge. It was a great decision as it was a beautiful day to hang out with a couple hundred craft beer drinkers outside a block from the beach and it made it easy to see who was there for the beer.

The breweries in attendance brought out some very interesting brews. Some of my favorites included Alosta Brewing Company’s Saison Bleu, Angel City’s Rum Barrel Aged Mexican Cola Ale, El Segundo Brewing’s Ka-PAU! IPA, Back Home Gingerbread Stout by Golden Road Brewing and Progress Brewing’s Mustang Tripel. I would say my overall favorite was Wicked White IPA by Timeless Pints. Other offerings included Wanderin’ Possessed Pumpkin Porter by Absolution Brewing Company, Citraholic by Beachwood Brewing, Pomegranate Saison by Angel City, Buster’s Brown Ale by Bravery Brewing, Revolution XPA by Eagle Rock Brewing, Potential Blonde by Kinetic, Post-Season DIPA by King Harbor Brewing, Blind Ambition by Ladyface, False Prophet by Monkish Brewing, The King’s Taxes by MacLeod Ale Brewing, Acorn Ambition by Ohana Brewing, Smog City’s Groundwork Coffee Porter, Stand Brewing’s Harvest Ball, Three Weaver’s Knotty DIPA and Golden Eagle Ale by Wolf Creek Brewery.

In addition to the beers, several of the breweries had owners and/or brewers with them to socialize with their fans. Celebrity sightings included Alexandra Nowell of Three Weavers, Brian Avery and Roger Morrissey of Bravery Brewing, Rob Croxall of El Segundo Brewing Company, Steve Farguson of Absolution Brewing, Phil McDaniel and Tom Dunbabin of King Harbor Brewing, Rich Marcello of Strand Brewing and Brian Brewer of The Brewery at Abigaile. Continue reading

Abigaile to host first ever Novem-BEER-Fest

Novem-Beer-Fest

22 Craft Breweries under one roof

As the craft beer festival season draws to a close, Abigaile Restaurant and The Brewery at Abigaile will host their inaugural Novem-BEER-Fest Beer Garden on Sunday, November 16 from noon until 7:00 PM. The event will feature 22 craft breweries from Lancaster to Lakewood and Covina to the Pacific; just about every production brewery (and a couple brewpubs) in this massive geographic area will be included. To give you an idea of what a great list of local breweries are attending, there are three breweries I have yet to visit and one (Alosta) whose beer I have never even tasted yet.

The breweries in attendance include Absolution Brewing, Alosta Brewing, Angel City, Beachwood, Bravery Brewing, Eagle Rock Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, Golden Road, Kinetic Brewing, King Harbor Brewing, Ladyface, Monkish Brewing, MacLeod Ale, Ohana Brewing, Progress Brewing, Smog City, Strand Brewing, Timeless Pints, The Dudes, Three Weavers, Wolf Creek and, of course, The Brewery at Abigaile. Several of these breweries are very new, like Three Weavers that just opened their tasting room this past weekend. To visit each of these breweries tasting rooms would take a month of weekends and Abigaile has brought them all together under one roof.

The Novem-BEER-Fest beer garden will take advantage of the entire Abigaile facility including the Ocean Bar, which can have some very nice views, weather permitting. Admission to this first ever event is $30 for General Admission; which includes a commemorative tasting glass, 10 4oz. pours from any of the breweries and one food item from the grill. VIP admission is $50 and includes the commemorative tasting glass, unlimited 4oz. pours from any of the breweries and one food item from the grill. If you have never eaten at Abigaile I have to say that Chef Tin creates some amazing dishes and Chef Jorge is a great addition to the kitchen. I am sure you will enjoy it. Continue reading

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