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Business & Beer visits the new ESBC tasting room

These photos are from the Business & Beer networking event that was held Thursday evening at El Segundo Brewing Company. As this was Business & Beer’s first return to El Segundo Brewing since they opened the new tasting room, there was a lower than expected turnout; although I did get a text 10 minutes after I left that a couple more people had arrived. Those that did attend were treated to pizza and some of Tanya’s mustards that she created using El Segundo’s White Dog IPA; it turns out that homemade mustard and pizza go pretty well together. And of course, there was the beer. El Segundo has a couple new brews up including Pine Tar Incident, Wet Hop Simcoe Pale and Spark Plug; of course, Power Plant has returned as well. In addition to the Free Beer drawing, Reverend Dee brought some Mystifying Mints that she gave away in a drawing.

Business & Beer is a small networking group that meets on the second Tuesday of every month and has been doing this for over three years. If you are a small business owner or networking is what you do and you enjoy craft beer, this is the group for you. Friendly people, no dues, great beer and they meet at all the production breweries and brewpubs in the South Bay that you have always wanted to visit. Next month they are meeting at the new Strand Brewing Company location. You can get on their mailing list, found on the BusinessNBeer website or Like them on Facebook to be kept in the loop. Cheers! Continue reading

Coming Soon to El Segundo: Rubens Distilling & Brewing

Rubens street view

Rubens Distilling & Brewing

As you might imagine, I hear a lot of rumors about what may or may not be happening as far as the craft beer scene in this area. As a result, I get asked questions like, “What is happening with Strand Brewing Company’s old brewhouse?” Well, while the fermenting tanks are moving to their new Dominguez location, the brewhouse is moving to a new home in El Segundo; Rubens Distilling & Brewing. Yes, I said distilling and brewing. Wednesday morning I made a visit to the home of this future distillery and craft brewery and met Rob Rubens, the owner of Rubens Distilling & Brewing to find out a little more about what the plans are.

Rubens grew up in Illinois and he has relatives that opened a speakeasy in Chicago during Prohibition, so I guess one could say that whiskey is in his blood. Rubens Distilling & Brewing will be the first combination distillery and brewery in the Los Angeles area, and one of three in the state; the others being Ballast Point and Anchor Steam.

Rubens today

Future distillery and brewery

Continue reading

A Visit to the L.A. Arts District: Mumford Brewing & Angel City

If you have been following along you know that on Saturday I was at the BEERS Summer Fest in downtown Los Angeles. As the day approached I could see by the weather reports that it was going to be a hot day in DTLA, and unless The Chair parking lot, where the event was being held, had a lot of trees it was going to have to be a pretty entertaining event for me to stay long. Luckily, I knew that Mumford Brewing was just a couple miles away and I knew Angel City was walking distance from there, so I had a backup plan. If not for the BEERS festival, I was going to save my visit to the L.A. Arts District breweries for when everyone was up and running. I had heard good things about Mumford and I think Angel City’s location is one of the more interesting breweries to photograph so it did not take much convincing to head over to the Arts District for some exploring.

When we arrived at Mumford Brewing I was not really sure what I thought. The exterior of the building was brightly colored, but as soon as you see the door you are greeted by the face of a stern Mr. Mumford and the first seating looked like something found in a hip or hep coffee shop. As I turned my gaze to the left I noticed the familiar chalkboards listing the available brews and a room that looked more like the tasting rooms I am familiar with; lots of concrete and basic tables with stools. There were not very many people at the time when compared to what I see in the South Bay breweries, but they had a fair number of customers. By the time we finished our flight it seemed like most tables had suddenly become occupied. Continue reading

Business & Beer joins the crowd at Monkish Brewing Company

These photos were taken at the last Business and Beer which was held Thursday, August 13 at the Monkish Brewing Company tasting room in Torrance. Do not let the lack of photos lead you to believe that there wasn’t much of a turnout, because that would not be accurate. The reality is that Monkish was so crowded it was a little difficult to move around to set up shots!

As one of the co-founders of the Business & Beer networking group, our goal was two-fold; the first was to provide a networking opportunity for small business owners beyond what a typical Chamber of Commerce might provide and to give greater exposure to our local breweries, brewpubs and gastropubs. I remember a time that when we brought a group of 5, 10 or 15 people to one of our local tasting rooms it actually made an impact on the number of patrons the brewery was having that night. Last night, someone happened to share a photo on Facebook from September 2012; it is fun to remember when we could all fit into the front alcove of the tasting room and there would still be room for the other patrons. On Thursday there was a line out the front door most of the evening; I guess we can declare mission accomplished as far as garnering exposure to our craft breweries. Cheers! Continue reading

Torrance approves Scholb Premium Ales Conditional Use Permit

Scholb partners

Scholb Premium Ales granted their Conditional Use Permit

A few weeks ago I was visiting Absolution Brewing when Nigel Heath, one of the owners approached me and commented that this area was going to become a craft beer destination. When I suggested that Torrance already was a craft beer destination, he clarified by saying that the industrial park we were standing in was going to become a craft beer destination as Scholb Premium Ales would be opening a brewery and tasting room a few hundred feet to the west of Absolution Brewing. Naturally, at that point I started investigating who was behind the project.

I soon met with the Schulz and Kolb families where I learned how the name “Scholb” came to be (a combination of the two families last names) and a little about their history and the style of beers that would be brewed. It was then that I was also invited to attend and speak at their upcoming CUP Hearing with the Torrance Planning Commission. Last night the planning commission met and Conditional Use Permit, CUP15-00012 was granted.

Essentially they were granted the ability to brew beer and do retail sales via the tasting room, have food trucks and they can be open five days a week; Wednesday and Thursday from 3:00 to 9:00 PM, Friday and Saturday from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM and noon until 6:00 PM on Sundays. They were also granted the ability to be open on New Year’s Eve and the night before Federal holidays. Continue reading

Craft Beer Guy Presents: A 40 Tap South Bay Tap Takeover

tap-takeover

40 Taps of South Bay Craft!

If you follow this site with any regularity you may recall that a few weeks ago I visited Flights Beer Bar in Hawthorne for the first time. To say that I was impressed would be an understatement and I believe I got that message across in the article that I wrote. A couple days after writing the article I received an email from Flights owner Jerry Jamgotchian suggesting that they would like to throw a private party for Craft Beer Guy. While I was definitely flattered, several of the local craft breweries had just had a birthday party for me a couple days before so I suggested that I would rather have a party that showcased all the breweries that had made the South Bay the craft beer destination that is has become. After speaking with Jerry and his manager/beer buyer Marc Dacal it was decided that they would let me curate a 40 tap, tap takeover featuring 10 production breweries that were based in the South Bay. That’s right, 40 taps of South Bay craft from 10 South Bay breweries.

While I have been to a few “South Bay tap takeovers” over the past few years, never before have we had 40 taps dedicated to just the South Bay’s breweries. The 10 that will be participating include Strand Brewing Company, Monkish Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, Absolution Brewing Company, Smog City Brewing, Three Weavers, The Dudes’, King Harbor Brewing, Phantom Carriage and introducing HopSaint! If you are thinking, “But HopSaint isn’t open yet.” you would be correct, but the brewhouse has been delivered and Brian Brewer will be brewing before their new brewpub opens. This tap takeover will likely be the first time any of us will be able to try Brian’s brews under the new label. UPDATE: HopSaint will not be able to make it, in their stead, Cosmic Brewery will step up. Continue reading

Churchkey Beer: A Gimmick with a Gadget

Regular visitors to this site have probably noticed that I do not usually review individual beers here; if you really want to know what I feel about a beer, you can look at my Untappd page. My opinion is that there are many sites out there that will tell you what you should think about a particular beer; I do not expect others to feel the same way about a specific beer as I do, so I will just show you where to experience the brew and you can develop your own thoughts about it. That being said, this article is a little different because there is no tasting room to visit and at the time of my writing this, I am not convinced there is anywhere you can find it on tap. I am talking about Churchkey Pilsner by Churchkey Can Company out of Seattle, Washington.

Churchkey Pilsner will be coming to the Los Angeles and Orange County markets soon, so I was asked if I wanted to give it a try. Naturally, I wanted to see what the deal was; when I was a kid, a churchkey was a pretty standard household gadget as it was the days before flip tops and aluminum cans. Since there are many breweries opting for canning over bottling, I understood why someone might can their beer; I just wasn’t sure why you would want to need a special opener to get to it. Continue reading

Absolution Brewing Granted CUP Modification

Absolution Brewing crew

Absolution Brewing crew after CUP hearing

On Wednesday evening, Torrance production brewery Absolution Brewing Company appeared before the Torrance Planning Commission with a request to modify (MOD15-00001) their previously approved Conditional Use Permit (CUP13-00026). Absolution’s request included the ability to be open seven days a week, to have food trucks, hold special events and to have live entertainment. Most of Absolution’s requests were granted; the only one that was not was the request to have live entertainment.

When Absolution Brewing Company appeared before the Planning Commission in November of 2013, the standard operating hours of the existing Torrance tasting rooms were pretty much Thursday through Sunday, with the hours of 4:00-9:00 PM on Thursday and Friday; noon until 9:00 on Saturdays and noon until 6:00 PM on Sundays. When Absolution submitted for their Conditional Use Permit they requested that they be allowed to be open from 3:00 until 9:00 PM on Wednesday and Thursday; 11:00 AM until 9:00 PM on Friday and Saturday and noon until 6:00 PM on Sunday. I remember wondering whether or not Absolution would be able to justify being open that many hours a week; it is one thing to have permission from the city, but it is another to have enough of a demand to make it worthwhile to be open that long. Well, time has proven that they can justify being open on the additional days and some of the other Torrance breweries have followed their lead and are now open on Wednesday’s as well. Recently, Strand Brewing Company and Monkish Brewing Company have appeared before the Planning Commission and were given permission to hold private events on Mondays and Tuesdays; Absolution decided to take it a step further and request that they be allowed to be open on Monday through Thursday from 3:00-10:00 PM; Friday and Saturday 10:00 AM until 10:00 PM and noon until 10:00 PM on Sunday.

Although the Planning Department was not entirely in favor of allowing Absolution the ability to be open on Monday and Tuesday, primarily because it had not been done before in Torrance, after hearing arguments in favor of allowing the extended hours, the Planning Commission allowed the extended hours as requested along with the ability to have food trucks and to hold special events. Continue reading

4th of July at the Bravery Brewing 3rd Anniversary

As you know, Saturday was the 4th of July and as I tried to figure out what we would do for the day I remembered that Bravery Brewing was having their 3rd Year Anniversary party, and if you have ever visited the Bravery Brewing tasting room you know that they are about as patriotic as they come with the memorials and memorabilia displayed prominently. Heck, one of the co-owners is R. Lee Ermey, who is a retired United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant and an honorary Gunnery Sergeant. You might remember him from his role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in the movie Full Metal Jacket. Anyway, long story short, I could not think of a more patriotic craft brewery to visit on the 4th of July.

Since Lancaster is a bit of a drive for me, I contacted my friends at Transplant Brewing Company and told them I was going to be in the neighborhood so I would stop by their future production brewery to take a photo of the new sign they had put up. Watching their Facebook page I could see that they were very proud of it so I thought I grab a few shots for them. As it was the 4th of July and they are still putting things together, I knew they were not open and I certainly did not expect anyone to be there. Instead all three owners, Corey Cordovano, Matt and Sarah Luker, came out to open the doors for me to check out the progress thus far.

Transplant Brewing Company plans on being the first production/craft brewery in the city of Palmdale. I say “plans on being” because another brewery, Lucky Luke Brewing Company, is literally right around the corner from Transplants and they both plan to be making beer before this year is over. Transplants actually hopes to be able to have a soft open on Labor Day weekend. Right now they are waiting for the brewhouse which is on a slow boat somewhere. In the meantime, Transplants Brewing has been doing collaborations with the other Antelope Valley breweries, Kinetic Brewing Company and Bravery Brewing Company. It appears that the Antelope Valley is experiencing their own craft beer boom; and all the breweries are friends with each other and it shows with their collaborations. That is one thing that I am surprised I have not seen yet, or I missed it; a collaboration between Torrance or South Bay breweries. Continue reading

LA Beer Week 2015: Rarest of the Rare at Smog City

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at Smog City Brewing Company’s Rarest of the Rare LA Beer Week (LABW7) event. Smog City did this once before, during the 2013 LA Beer Week (LABW5) and if you attended the last one, I am sure you came away with a similar thought, oh what a difference 18 months can make. While the first time was pretty amazing, yesterday’s event was just that much more.

I guess if there is a disadvantage to living in the middle of the current craft beer central it is that sometimes there are just too many events and not enough time to cover them all. As I was involved with the Euro Bierfest at Alpine Village I did not arrive until a few hours into the event which meant that the highly sought, limited availability Spittin’ n Cussin’ was tapped out but that could not prevent one from having a great time with options like their Bourbon O.E. from 2011 through 2015, their collaboration with Beachwood Brewing, Bourbon Collaborative Evil, Infinite Wishes, 2015 Unity with variations and beer cocktails. It was one of those kids in a candy store experiences and it seemed like I was not the only one to think so.

With all the beer options that were available, I would be willing to bet that there is still a very nice selection available. I think I will wrap this up and head over to see what I can try. Cheers! Continue reading

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