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Flights Beer Bar

Long Beach

A Tour of Beachwood Blendery

Readers may recall that at the beginning of October I was invited to an advanced tasting of Guinness’ new Nitro IPA; while the beer and meal was quite nice, the best part of the evening was meeting a couple Guinness representatives, Keith Dunne and Jonathan Urch who had hosted the event. Dunne came out from St. James’ Gate in Dublin while Urch came out from New York City. By the end of the evening we had formed a pretty good relationship and before I left they informed me that they had one day to explore the LA craft beer scene and asked what breweries were a “must” to visit before they left. While we have several breweries that could fall under that category, one that really stands out is Beachwood Brewing & BBQ; after all, they won gold in 2013 and 2014 for Best Mid-Size and Best Large Brewpub at GABF. When I suggested Beachwood and told them of some of the awards they had received it was decided that we would meet at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing the next day. Dunne mentioned that it would be great if he could meet the owners and I said I would do my best.

I reached out to Beachwood’s Creative/Marketing Manager, Aaron Carroll and was informed that co-owner/head brewer Julian Shrago was out of town and the other co-owner, Gabe Gordon might be at the Seal Beach location but he would do what he could.

The next day we all met at Beachwood and the Guinness reps loved everything they tried. During our tastings Carroll joined us at our table and informed us that Gordon would not be available, however, he did invite us to tour the new Beachwood Blendery. They jumped on the opportunity. Continue reading

Photos from the 2015 Taste of Brews Long Beach

These photos are of the 2015 Taste of Brews Long Beach which was held Saturday afternoon at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach. The event featured dozens of craft breweries, food trucks, live music, games and great weather. A portion of the proceeds from this event were donated to the Long Beach Marine Institute.

As you know, I attend a lot of beer festivals; and there is no question that some are a lot better than others. For me personally, I like to find the breweries and beers that I have never had before. With the number of beer festivals that are held around here every year, I have come to accept that this goal is going to be more difficult with each successive beer festival I attend. The thing about Taste of Brews Long Beach is that they could have the same beer every year and I would return just because it is a great venue to hold a festival.

Yesterday was my third time attending Taste of Brews and this event just keeps getting better. There were supposed to be between 60 and 70 breweries; I did not count them but there was beer enough for everyone. The food trucks were spread around evenly throughout the park and there were two stages for the live music which featured The Tomcats and RedEye Redemption. And then there was the beer. Continue reading

Beer festival season: Upcoming events for August

It is hard to believe that it has been over a month since the last beer festival I attended, but the break is over as there are three local beer festivals coming up between now and the end of August.

The first up will be Beers Summer Fest which will be held Saturday, August 15 at The REEF, Chair Parking Lot, 1933 S. Broadway in Los Angeles. This event will feature 10 breweries; Anchor Brewing, Wicks Brewing, Absolution Brewing, The Great Brewing Company, Solarc Brewing, Mission, Figueroa Mountain, Fireman’s Brew, Escape Craft Brewery and The Dudes’.

Presented by BEERS Magazine, this inaugural event is a little different in that it costs $10 to get in, but if you want to drink beer you will have to purchase one of their commemorative pint glasses. The glasses are $25 at the door, or you can purchase them in advance via Eventbrite for $20. I am told that the entire $10 from the admission price will be donated to the beneficiaries, RISE – Reaching and Improving Society with Education and Smiles for M.I.L.E.S. Foundation.

There will be food, games and music in addition to the beer. You can get more information at http://beersfest.com/. Continue reading

Beachwood BBQ & Brewing 4th Anniversary Photos

These photos were taken at the Beachwood BBQ & Brewing 4th Anniversary celebration which was held Saturday, July 11 at the Long Beach brewpub.

One of the best things about writing about my travels is that I am easily able to refer back to the first time I visited the Long Beach location or any of the three prior anniversary parties and easily see how much they have grown in just a few short years. I had to chuckle when I looked back and saw that they had nine beers available the first time I went there; yesterday they had over 40 on tap and even more on cask. And it is not even just about the number of beers they brew, but how well done and true to style they are. I feel really fortunate to have them so relatively close to home.

I initially went to Long Beach in the morning, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I got there later than I planned on and the line was just too long so I decided I would come back later. I watched conversations on Facebook and around 3:30 the lines were done. When we arrived it was still busy with their fans ordering up from the dozens of brews available. Since Beachwood staggered the tap times of their barrel-aged brews, just about everything was still available except for the big barrel-aged brews that were available early on. Continue reading

Belmont Brewing Company: Location, location, location

BBC - Belmont Shores

Belmont Brewing Company – All about the location

On Monday morning I had some business to do in Los Alamitos; as I was finishing up around lunch time and Tanya was hungry, I asked her to get on her Smartphone to find where I should take her while I finished up. When she suggested Belmont Brewing Company, a brewpub that was 15 minutes away, I remembered that I had tried a couple of their brews at a beer festival in the past but as we had never been there before and Beachwood was closed, why not?

BBC brewhouse

BBC Brewhouse

The first thing I noticed is that parking is close to impossible. Truth be told, I could not even tell you where the best place to legally park. I guess foot and bicycle traffic is the best for them. The next thing I noticed was that this place was literally on the beach! I mean, what brewpub can afford a piece of prime real estate like a Southern California beachfront? Not many that I know of; but Belmont Brewing Company has been at this location since 1990, property was a little cheaper back then. Okay, I don’t know if they own or lease, but I suspect they own the property.

When we entered, we were offered our choice of sitting inside or out on the extensive outdoor patio they have. I got the impression that the hostess was a little surprised when I said we wanted to sit at the bar. It was a little hazy that afternoon, so the view wasn’t that spectacular; and I wanted to get a little history of the place. Continue reading

4th Annual Firestone Trilogy at Congregation Ale House

After the Euro Bierfest and Smog City’s Rarest of the Rare event, we went home, fed the dogs and relaxed a little before heading out to Long Beach for the 4th Annual Firestone Walker Trilogy Event at Congregation Ale House, Long Beach. Since Congregation is essentially next door to Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, the first few photos are from there; where we stopped for dinner. If you have not been to Beachwood Long Beach lately, prepare to be surprised. In the past they would have maybe 10 of their own beers and 25 guest taps. Now, because of their expansion, they are able to provide close to 25 of their in-house brews so the guest taps are closer to 10, but you know they will be good.

After enjoying some Macaroni and Cheese and a lamb burger we walked over to Congregation Ale House to join up with Firestone Walker’s own David Walker on the final stop of the 4th Annual Trilogy event. “The Trilogy” included stops at the three Congregation Ale House locations; Azusa, Pasadena and Long Beach. Each location featured core Firestone Walker beers and each had at least one special brew that was not readily available, if at all, outside the taproom. Those included Tequila Merkin at the Azusa location, Bravo in Pasadena and the Maltose Falcons collaboration in Long Beach.

The fact that this was going on during LA Beer Week was purely coincidental; this was the 4th Annual Firestone Trilogy and it always happens during June or July. The fact that it coincided with David Walker’s birthday may have been coincidental, I did not ask. The fact that it was a Firestone Walker event was enough to convince me to be there. It was a nice end to a great beer day. Cheers! Continue reading

National Beer Day 2015 with Firestone Walker’s Traveling Oak

Tuesday, April 7 is National Beer Day which commemorates when prohibition on beer was lifted on April 7, 1933. To commemorate this milestone event, I accepted an invitation from the Yard House in Long Beach to attend an event they were having in conjunction with Firestone Walker. Firestone Walker had a very limited release of their Traveling Oak which is Parabola aged in oak barrels that originally aged Old Rip Van Winkle Bourbon for over 10 years and then were used to age Del Maguey Mezcal. After that, Firestone Walker’s Master Brewer, Matt Brynildson got a hold of them. The Parabola was added and aged for a year. To say it was different would be an understatement; pretty much everyone said they really enjoyed it.

Now, I visit Yard House at various times, usually because they are somewhere close that I know is going to have something I like. If I go to Staples, there is a pretty good chance I am stopping at Yard House. What I did not understand was why a limited release beer, that they say will never be made again, would only be made available at six locations in the country (Boston (Fenway), Denver (Downtown), Long Beach, CA, Portland, OR and Seattle), and they are all Yard House locations. Well, Yard House, in addition to having what must be a couple hundred taps of craft beers from around the world, also have a few house brews. While they are currently contract brewing with Uinta Brewing Company out of Salt Lake City, Firestone Walker brewed their beers beforehand.

To help welcome the Traveling Oak, Firestone Walker Master Brewer, Matt Brynildson was spotted serving snifters to customers while such beerlebrities as Firestone’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Dave Macon and Regional Sales Manager, Shane Kral chatted to the fans that showed up. As there is just a small amount of Traveling Oak available for each location, I do not know if they blew the keg or not; but I would not expect it to last past Wednesday if it makes it through the night. Like I said, they have a couple hundred taps so if it is gone, do not despair; I am sure they will have something you like. If you live in one of the cities I named above, check out your local Yard House to see when Traveling Oak is traveling there. 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

Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing

This morning, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing held their drawing for the 4th Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle at their Long Beach location. To enter the contest, one merely paid $5.00 for a chance at a full pint of the 2015 Pliny the Younger. This year Beachwood raised about $11,600 from the ticket sales which equates to about $40,000 being donated over the course of four years to the beneficiary of the raffle, the Melanoma Research Foundation. The drawing was streamed live via the Four Brewers podcast and 140 winners were picked; to my surprise, I actually was one of the winners and I rarely ever win raffles.

For those that were unable to watch the Four Brewers Podcast, the winning raffle ticket numbers have been posted on the Beachwood BBQ website. Winners will also be contacted via telephone and/or email so you will want to check your email today and be sure to answer your phone, even if you do not recognize the calling number. Winners must collect their pint of Pliny between Tuesday February 24 and Thursday March 5, 2015. You must bring your raffle ticket with you and redeem it at the location designated. Unfortunately, where you bought the ticket may not be where you will have to go to redeem it (100 will go to the Seal Beach location and the other 40 will redeem their winning ticket at the Seal Beach location). If you do not claim your pint of Pliny by March 5 it will be considered donated to the staff of Beachwood and they thank you from the bottom of their collective hearts. Continue reading

4th Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Raffle Ticket Sales Begin

pliny fights cancer

Tickets on sale from January 20 thru February 21

Last month at this time, kids around the world were getting excited for the upcoming Christmas festivities; for craft beer aficionados the excitement builds for the release of Pliny the Younger, the seasonal triple IPA released by Russian River Brewing every February. A couple weeks after that, a few kegs are sent out to select Russian River accounts. One of those accounts is Beachwood BBQ and Beachwood BBQ & Brewing.

For the past four years Beachwood has been having a charity raffle for chances to win one (or more) of the 130 pints they will have available between their Seal Beach and Long Beach locations. The beneficiary of 100% of the monies raised goes to the Melanoma Research Foundation done in memory of a long time Beachwood friend, Tony Carbone who passed away in 2008 from Stage 3 Melanoma.

Pliny raffle tickets

I bought the first two tickets!

The process is simple and if you read this through to the end, there is a special offer for you. Raffle tickets are $5.00 each and there will be 130 winners. Tickets are on sale at both the Seal Beach and Long Beach locations between January 20 and February 21, 2015 at 10:00 PM. All ticket purchases are cash only. The drawing will be held Monday, February 23 and will be streamed live via the Four Brewers webcast. Winners will be directed to which location they can get their pint and they must be redeemed between February 24 and March 5, 2015; you want to drink Pliny fresh. Continue reading

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