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Indiana Craft Beer: From North to South

If you have been following along you will recall that Craft Beer Tour 2016 technically began after visiting my buddy George in Reno, Nevada. It was there that I asked Tanya if she wanted to visit her family in Indiana; if she had not been up for it, my backup plan was to head to the Portland, Oregon area. When she said she wanted to go to Indiana, the only brewery that was a planned destination was Three Floyds Brewing in Munster. We have both been there numerous times; and while the rest of the trip would concentrate on visiting places I never heard of, there was no way I was going to northwest Indiana without another stop at Three Floyds.

I remember it was around 2:00 PM on Sunday afternoon at Big Grove Brewery when I told Big Grove managing partner Doug Goettsch and Tanya that we would be having dinner at Three Floyds Brewpub that evening. Goettsch reminded me that it was still another three or four hours to Munster; but as they would be open until 11:15 PM this would not be a problem; or so I thought. Continue reading

Visits to Fort Collins Brewery, Colorado Plus and Baere Brewing

When we left Laramie on Thursday morning we cut across the bottom eastern half of Wyoming to get to I-25 southbound towards Denver. Denver has plenty of craft beer and if I was not careful I could end up there for a few days; however, the real reason I even drove down there was to see family that live in the Denver area.

Since food was a pretty important concern, and it was already after noon, we set the GPS for Fort Collins Brewery & Tavern, a massive brewpub located in Fort Collins.

When I say it was massive, I mean it was probably bigger than anything we have in the South Bay area. When we were there they had 12 brews on tap; each of them pretty solid for their style for the most part. I don’t recall thinking the Apricot Sour Ale was very sour; while I did enjoy the Far Away IPA. Oh yeah; their Oktoberfest was pretty dead on.

As we were going to meet my brother and his wife in a few hours for dinner, we had their Grilled Indian Fry Bread as an appetizer to hold us over; it was pretty tasty. Continue reading

A Tour of Reno & Elko Nevada Craft Beer

When I last posted here, I was at the California Craft Beer Summit in Sacramento (thanks again to HopSaint Brewing Company for the support); I was in need of a road trip so I figured since I was already there, I should make the two hour drive to Reno, Nevada to visit George, a friend of mine that is stuck at the VA hospital there because of all the Agent Orange he was doused with in Viet Nam. We have known each other since 1972 but I have not seen him in close to 10 years; I wanted to see him before it was too late.

After we signed George out of the VA and he wanted to go to lunch at a steakhouse in one of the big casinos; when we arrived we found out the steakhouse did not open for several more hours. George had another place he enjoyed, so we drove over there.

When we pulled up I was more concerned with finding a shady spot to park (for the dogs) than what the name of the place was, and I was really there to visit with my friend; I was not very concerned with where his appetite had brought us. Continue reading

Business & Beer Visits Rob Rubens Distilling & Brewing

These photos are from the August gathering of Business & Beer which was held Thursday evening at El Segundo’s newest production brewery, and Los Angeles’ only combination distillery and brewery, Rob Rubens Distilling & Brewing. As a co-founder of the Business & Beer networking group I have come to expect smaller than normal turnouts when we bring the group to the outback of El Segundo, so I was pleasantly surprised at the large turnout we had last night.

Founder and Master Distiller, Rob Rubens gave the group a tour of their operation, discussing the distilling as well as the brewing sides, their similarities and the differences. The group seemed to really enjoy the tour as there were plenty of questions being asked. One of the main differences is that it is a lot faster to distill spirits than brew beer; so while the spirits are not quite ready, they should be soon. Continue reading

Business & Beer Celebrates Four Years

These photos are from the Business & Beer gathering that was held Thursday evening at the Smog City Brewing Company tasting room in Torrance. This marked the 4th anniversary of the networking group’s existence, which probably accounted for the better than average turnout. There was a mix of old and new in attendance with at least a couple first time attendees, and at least seven people that had attended the first Business & Beer at Select Beer Store back in 2012.

To help mark the occasion, Business & Beer co-founder Tanya Martin baked up a bunch of calzones which were readily consumed. Instead of having their monthly beer drawing, all attendees received a coupon for a free beer at an upcoming Business & Beer gathering.

The next Business & Beer will be held at El Segundo’s newest production brewery, Rob Rubens Distilling & Brewing on August 11. You can find more details about the event on the Business & Beer website. Cheers! Continue reading

Business & Beer Returns to Monkish Brewing Company

These photos were taken Thursday evening when the Business & Beer networking group met at the Monkish Brewing Company tasting room. The group was small, but it did not prevent new relationships to be established as most of the attendees were first timers for Business & Beer and a couple had never visited Monkish before this event.

In addition to the beer and networking, the Mad Pambazos food truck was there with some pretty tasty sandwiches for those so inclined.

Business & Beer will celebrate their 4th Anniversary on July 14 at Smog City Brewing Company. The gatherings begin at 6:00 PM and last until people leave, but 8:00 PM is the official end time. If you own a small business or have a job that requires networking and you enjoy fresh craft beer you should look into Business & Beer. Cheers! Continue reading

The Road Back From the 5th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational

When we left Paso Robles on Sunday morning I was not really sure where we would stop throughout the day; I had planned on visiting a brewery that shall remain nameless, but due to their only having two brews available it was decided to skip them. Two beers after three years just did not do it for me. The backup destination was an easy choice since I had been thinking it since I got my tickets on Wednesday, BarrelHouse Brewing Company.

Tanya and I first visited BarrelHouse Brewing in February 2014 when they were just announcing their first anniversary was coming up. We were both impressed with what we tried; so much so that our beer stash from that trip consisted of several bottles from BarrelHouse.

A couple weeks ago I was covering the South Bay Beer & Wine Festival and ran into Mathew Jacobs, lead brewer for BarrelHouse, and Billy Thompson, their sales manager. I told them how much I enjoyed everything about our experience two plus years ago when Jacobs expressed that I really should return to see how much they have progressed. Judging by the Curly Wolf they were pouring at the event, I totally agreed. Continue reading

The Road to the Firestone Invitational 2016

If you asked me a week ago if I would be attending the 5th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival (FWIBF16), I would have hung my head and responded that I would not be there. On Wednesday afternoon a good friend of mine put out an alert on Facebook announcing that he was not going to be able to make it, so he had two tickets available to the first person that contacted him; I was that guy.

We headed out late Friday morning with the intention of visiting as many new [to me] craft breweries as possible. After two hours, in which we covered a mere 70 miles, we stopped for a Starbucks break in Camarillo; it was at this point that I realized that I had left my camera at home! I have to admit, this was a pretty depressing revelation because I knew that traffic was getting worse and it would likely take me five or six hours to get back to Camarillo.

While Tanya was inside the store I recalled the previous evening when I saw Tanya pack her Canon T1i Rebel in case we stopped somewhere that she felt like photographing. I knew she would not have any extraneous equipment, like an external flash or the Sigma lens I like but it would be better than trying to cover the event using my Smartphone … maybe. Continue reading

Smog City & El Segundo Brewing Birthday Bash Photos

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

Photos from the Scholb Premium Ales Ribbon Cutting

These photos were taken at the ribbon cutting for Torrance’s latest craft brewery, Scholb Premium Ales; which was held at the production brewery’s tasting room in Torrance on Friday afternoon. The Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC) ribbon cutting was attended by friends and family of the Schulz’s and Kolb’s as well as the City of Torrance Mayor Pat Furey and city council members Kurt Weideman, Heidi Ashcraft and Mike Griffiths along with many TACC representatives.

For their grand opening, Scholb introduced a couple new beers to their taps, bringing the number of brews currently available to eight. Today they offered their SoCal Blonde, Roll With It Brown, Cherry Wood Smoked Brown, Columbia Street Pale, Havanuther Session IPA, Dad’s IPA, Not Lyin’ Rye IPA and my current favorite, Bat Ray Red IPA. Continue reading

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