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Craft Beer Tour 2017: Coast-to-Coast-to-Coast

As I left Yuma I thought about the epic craft beer tour I was completing and decided that if I was going to make this series of articles truly coast-to-coast-to-coast, I was going to have to end it by visiting a California craft brewery that won a medal at the most recent GABF.

With at least 15 breweries in Southern California to choose from, my main obstacles were going to be the same as I had encountered over the past several weeks; day of the week, and time of day. As I looked over the list of GABF winners I realized that if I wanted to avoid rush hour traffic I was going to have to aim for breweries close to me. Fortunately, I live where I do and two of my favorite local breweries had won medals and they are both brewpubs, meaning they would be open by noon; Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, and HopSaint Brewing Company in Torrance. Continue reading

Craft Beer LB Fest Photos

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at the inaugural Craft Beer LB Fest, which was held at the Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site. The event featured craft beer from 12 Long Beach breweries, as well as food from Long Beach restaurants The Red Leprechaun and Roe Seafood. The event also featured live music from several bands and a Kid Zone, making the event truly family friendly.

It seems that this is a great time to live in Long Beach if you enjoy craft beer. As someone pointed out, it is almost as if Long Beach has been watching what is happening in Torrance and has decided to get on board the craft beer revolution.

Featured breweries included old-timer Belmont Brewing Company, who has been open since 1990, as well as breweries that just opened within the last week or so, like Long Beach Beer Lab and Ten Mile Brewing. There were also a couple that have not opened yet, but hope to be open soon, such as Liberation Brewing and Hog Canyon Brewing. Other breweries in attendance included Beachwood Brewing, Beachwood Blendery, Ballast Point, Congregation Ale House, Smog City, Rock Bottom, Dutch’s Brewhouse, and Timeless Pints. Continue reading

Beer Camp on Tour – Long Beach Photos

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at the Beer Camp on Tour craft beer festival held at Queen Mary Events Park and presented by the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.

This was my first time attending Beer Camp, and while I had heard some negativity about last year’s event, it was pretty evident to me that they had learned from whatever mistakes those were as this was truly an amazing event to close out LA Beer Week. While I did not make the effort to count all the breweries in attendance, there were reportedly at least 100 breweries, pouring well over 200 beers. In addition to the beer, there were a dozen food trucks, live music from The Expanders and Orgone, games, plenty of shade and much cooler temperatures than the 100+ degree weather we experienced at the kickoff festival last week. Continue reading

6th Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle Results

These photos were taken Monday afternoon at the Beachwood Blendery in Long Beach, where employees, friends, and family gathered for the drawing of the raffle tickets sold for Beachwood’s 6th Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle.

To enter the raffle, you could buy a $5.00 raffle ticket at the Seal Beach or Long Beach restaurant locations. Winners will receive a full pint of the 2017 Pliny the Younger; those that were not picked can feel better knowing that their donation is going to a good cause, the Melanoma Research Foundation. Beachwood founder and co-owner Gabe Gordon stated that this year’s raffle brought the total raised over the past six years to almost $75,000. Continue reading

Smog City – Steelcraft to Begin Selling Beer To-Go

smog city steelcraft

Laurie & Jonathan Porter at Smog City- SteelCraft

As I mentioned three weeks ago, Smog City Brewing’s satellite tasting room at SteelCraft has begun their soft open providing the ability for Long Beach area residents, and those further south, the ability to sample most Smog City beers that are served on tap. Unfortunately Smog City was not allowed to sell growlers or bottles to-go under their permit with the City of Long Beach; that changed last night when Smog City appeared before the City of Long Beach Planning Commission; the Planning Commission approved Smog City’s Conditional Use Permit Application 1611-19.

Laurie Porter, co-owner/founder of Smog City Brewing informed me that the decision was unanimous and they will begin offering growlers and bottles to-go beginning January 31, 2017.

I was unable to attend last night, but I did submit a written letter to the Planning Commission in support of the application. I have decided to post the letter I sent, not for any kind of “atta boy” but rather so others can use my letter as a template; trust me; I have used all my previos letters of support as a template for the next one I write. Feel free to use this to support your local craft brewery. Continue reading

Smog City Brewing – SteelCraft Soft Open Begins

The long anticipated opening of Smog City Brewing Company’s SteelCraft location has arrived. These photos were taken late Wednesday afternoon at the “friends and family” soft open that was held primarily for the friends and family of the people that assembled the SteelCraft enclave. After talking to a few attendees, it seemed like the news spread around the Bixby Knolls neighborhood quickly as the SteelCraft park began filling up with locals that expressed that they were happy to save the Uber expense of traveling to Torrance as the SteelCraft location was walking distance from their homes.

For those unfamiliar with the SteelCraft concept, essentially, a vacant 14,500 square-foot lot of the corner of Long Beach Boulevard and Bixby Road has been set up with about a dozen shipping containers that will house businesses selling various foods; such as hamburgers, ramen, and shaved ice, there is also a coffee shop, and of course, Smog City’s beer. Continue reading

Great Society Cider & Mead Welcomes Moonlight Meadery

These photos were taken Thursday evening at Great Society Cider & Mead in Long Beach when they held another in their continuing series of “Meet the Maker”; where cider and mead aficionados get an opportunity to meet the owners behind the cideries and meaderies that produce the brews that are the primary focus of Great Society Cider & Mead. Thursday evening’s event featured Michael Fairbrother, founder of the world renowned Moonlight Meadery.

The evening was broken up in two sections; the first was open to the public and everyone was able to enjoy a Moonlight flight or any of ciders and mead that completed the 20 tap list while chatting with Fairbrother. It was obvious that many people had come from as far away as the San Diego area for the opportunity to speak with him. Some people just wanted to tell Fairbrother how much they enjoy his product while others brought samples and came with questions on the process when it comes to making cider or [especially] mead. The second portion of the evening was a private event featuring five pours of various Moonlight products paired with specific appetizers. Continue reading

Northwest Cider Masters Tour at Great Society Cider & Mead

These photos were taken at the Northwest Cider Masters Tour that was held Sunday afternoon at Great Society Cider & Mead in Long Beach. The “Harvest Party” featured two of Oregon’s finest cider makers; James Kohn of Wandering Aengus Ciderworks and Kevin Zielinsk of E.Z. Orchards Farm Market. In addition to the 20 ciders on tap, there were beer and cider blends, charcuterie, cheese pairings, and plenty of information to get people to understand the craft behind cider, as well as the history and tradition of cider. Of course, there were plenty of ciders there so it was interesting to notice the differences between them.

I was there for the “trade show” portion of the event and it was very well attended; I can only imagine how many people showed up when they opened to the general public. It just shows me that hard ciders and mead are coming into their own. Personally, I have a ways to go before I can discern the subtle nuances of different ciders; I am basically at the dry or sweet/apple or pear phase, so it may be a while before I can open Craft Cider Guy, but you never know. Continue reading

Photos from the Great Society Cider & Mead Grand Opening

These photos were taken Tuesday afternoon when Great Society Cider & Mead officially opened with a ribbon cutting and the presentation of a Certificate of Recognition by the City of Long Beach. With that, the cider and mead began flowing and some very good food started coming from the kitchen.

The event was attended by family, friends, and representatives from the City of Long Beach and the Downtown Long Beach Associates along with what is bound to be the first group of Great Society regulars. Everyone seemed really enjoy experimenting with the various ciders and mead that were available. Continue reading

Great Society Cider & Mead Now Open In Long Beach

Cider and mead lovers of Long Beach can rejoice as the long awaited opening of Great Society Cider & Mead is officially beginning their soft open Thursday, August 4 at 4:30 PM. Last night I had the opportunity to attend their private soft opening and if the turnout was any indicator of the future of Great Society Cider & Mead, it is bright indeed.

Great Society Cider & Mead provided 20 taps of ciders and mead as well as numerous bottles that pours could be purchased from. If you are someone that thinks ciders are all apples, pears and pineapple, you really owe it to yourself to check out their wide range of delicious beverages. The first we tried was the Grand Opening Gose prepared for Great Society by 101 Cider House; it really set the tempo for the interesting flavors we would experience. The Gose saltiness with a cider was unexpectedly tasty. The Space Bloody Orange by Ace Cider was my first attempt at a food pairing with a cider; it was great with the salmon cakes we got from the kitchen. The Black Fang and Savage Bois were both delicious examples of the mead available; to be honest, I cannot wait to get back to try even more. Continue reading

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