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LABW9: So You Want to Open a Brewery in LA?

These photos were taken Tuesday evening at Los Angeles Ale Works, in Hawthorne, at the sixth edition of “So You Want to Open a Brewery in LA?” an LA Beer Week panel discussion moderated by Celebrator Beer News writer Tomm Carroll. If you have attended any of the previous five seminars hosted by Carroll, you know that he typically puts together a great group of panelists and last night was no exception.

The panelists included Laurie Porter of Smog City Brewing, Greg Bechtel of Simmzy’s Burbank, Gary Croft of Yorkshire Square, Bill Baker of Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room, Rick Blankemeier of Modern Times, Will Shelton of Concrete Jungle Brewing Project, Brent Knapp of Common Space Brewery, Kip Barnes of LA Ale Works, and Brendan Lake of Burnin’ Daylight Brewing Company. Continue reading

Inaugural Long Beach Craft Beer Festival Photos

These photos were taken at the inaugural Long Beach Craft Beer Festival which was held Saturday afternoon and put on by the Forty-Niner Shops at California State University Long Beach (CSULB). Proceeds from the event went to help support student education through the growth and development of the Hospitality Management program at CSULB.

When I first started thinking about what I would write about this event, I was going to say that for an inaugural event it was very well run; but the fact of the matter is that would not really be a fair assessment. This may have been their inaugural event but you would not know it if you had not been told beforehand. Someone had done their homework; it was run like they had been putting on craft beer festivals for years.

I could nitpick and complain about the plastic tasting “glassware”, or maybe suggest that the food options be spread out a little more equally; but other than that I am not sure what anyone could complain about. One thing is for sure, the beer options were outstanding. Continue reading

Photos of the 4th Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest

These photos were taken at the 4th Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest which was held at the Alpine Inn Restaurant at Alpine Village in Torrance. The craft beer event featured beers from all over the United States with a couple very rare Belgian brews added for good measure. While I did not take the time to count each of the breweries represented or the number of various beers available for sampling, they advertised over 40 breweries and 100 beers. I know there were a couple other craft beer events going on in Southern California this past weekend, but if you drove away from the South Bay instead of towards it, you may have messed up.

The Kraft Bierfest was held over the course of two sessions, beginning Friday evening and concluding with an afternoon session on Saturday afternoon. This was the second time they have split the event up over two sessions. Last year, to avoid the possibility of the best brews running out during the first session, Alpine’s event coordinators decided to split up the beers by day and put up a schedule of appearance for the brews so people could choose which day would have the most beers that they wanted to try. This time they made every brew available on both days but cut off serving brews that were limited on Friday so some would be available on Saturday. While there were people that were not too happy when the Agrestic or Winter Harvest ran out on Friday, the people that showed up on Saturday were quite grateful.

While I do not have the final numbers, it seemed like there may have been people in attendance on Friday night than Saturday afternoon; I doubt if either session had more than a couple hundred people in attendance. The only line I recall seeing that had more than four people in it were the first few people that arrived Saturday and headed straight for the Agrestic. I would not be surprised to see this event go back to being a one session deal. Continue reading

4th Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest Coming December 4-5 – Promo Code

fun times at Alpine Village

Join the Fun at the 4th Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest

I am happy to announce that Alpine Village in Torrance is holding their 4th Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest at the Alpine Inn at Alpine Village in Torrance. The event will be held over the course of two days, beginning Friday December 4 from 7:00 to 11:00 PM and continuing Saturday from 11:00 AM until 3:30 PM. Tickets at the door will be $45 but there are several limited Early Bird options that allow you to save up to 50%, but you had better order your tickets today because Friday night’s allocation of 50% off are already gone. They still have 25% off for Friday and both Early Bird options are still available as of now. Since you guys are all special in my book, I have arranged to get you an additional discount by using Promo Code: brownie827.

It has been a real pleasure watching the evolution of this craft beer festival; the first one in 2012 had almost as many beers as attendees but attendance has increased every year since. In 2014 it was decided to hold the event over the course of two sessions and it worked very well. Last year each session had different special beers; this year both sessions will have every beer. When asked how they would ensure that certain beers were not tapped out on Friday, leaving Saturday’s attendees without, I was told that they would be monitoring lines and weighing kegs if that became an issue. Continue reading

Photos of the 2015 BAM Fest

On Saturday afternoon Tap & Cheer Events presented their 6th Annual Beer, Art and Music Festival, lovingly known as BAM Fest, which was held at the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica. The 18th Street Arts Center is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization and is the beneficiary of all the proceeds from the BAM Fest fundraiser. The event featured beers and ciders from more than 30 craft breweries as well as foods from six food trucks and live music provided by Nick Shattuck, Heaps N Heaps and Whiskey Sunday.

Considering the heat index was well over 100 degrees out when BAM Fest started, they had a very nice turnout. I am not really sure how the crowd size compared to previous years because people seemed to be seeking shade more than normal which probably resulted in more art being seen this time; it did appear that there were more art exhibits opened to the public this year and I am sure everyone that took advantage of them appreciated it. The weather pretty much forced everyone to get to know their neighbor since the parking lot had about three umbrellas that most attendees tried to fit under at some point. Continue reading

6th Annual BAM Fest Coming October 10 – Promo Code

BAM Fest attendee

Join the fun at BAM Fest 2015

It is that time of year again; the 6th Annual Beer, Art & Music Festival (BAM Fest) will be held Saturday afternoon, October 10, in Santa Monica at the 18th Street Arts Center. The 18th Street Arts Center is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization and is the beneficiary of all the proceeds from this fundraiser.

This will be my fourth time attending BAM Fest and all I can say is that if you enjoy craft beer, live in the Los Angeles area and have never attended BAM Fest, you are doing yourself a disservice. From the first time I attended in 2012 I have been nothing but impressed; and the event just seems to get bigger and better every year and 2015 appears to be no exception.

The current list of beer and cider vendors totals 38, with six food trucks available to pair with your favorite beer and live music provided by three groups. Continue reading

Crawl 4 Nepal in the South Bay

On April 25, the village of Barpak in the Gorkha district of Nepal was hit with a severe earthquake with a magnitude ranging from 7.8 to 8.1. The earthquake was the most severe to hit Nepal since 1934 and killed upwards of 8,000 people with more than 14,500 injured. The quake literally flattened villages and left hundreds of thousands homeless. The earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, which killed at least 19, making it the deadliest day on the mountain in recorded history. Needless to say, when I opened up my Facebook and Twitter feed that morning Nepal was definitely trending, to use the vernacular of the day.

To be honest, I am not really sure where I saw it first, or whose suggestion it was, but someone in the local craft beer community suggested that the beer community should do something to raise monies to help the relief efforts in Nepal. It was not long before Kelly Erickson and Nick Gingold of Craft Media Solutions teamed up with Global Giving and more than 30 craft breweries, brewpubs, gastropubs and bottle shops to form Day of Action: Crawl 4 Nepal OC/LA. Each location had a selection of beers that you could purchase with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the Global Giving account.

I decided to visit three of the South Bay locations that were participating, beginning with Phantom Carriage in Carson. Phantom Carriage tapped a one-off keg of Muis, their 100% Brett wild blonde, with organic blood oranges. When I was talking with Phantom Carriage co-owner, Martin Svab and Assistant Brewer Brendan Lake they both relayed the same story to me in that the day before they were not sure how the blood oranges were going to work as the flavor just was not coming out the way they hoped. By Saturday morning the flavors had settled and it was delicious with subtle blood orange flavor at the finish. It was so good that the keg tapped out in a couple hours; 100% of the proceeds from this keg were donated to Crawl4Nepal. Continue reading

3rd Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest Coming November 14-15: Promo Code

2nd Alpine Bierfest

Great beer and fun people

I am happy to announce that the Alpine Village in Torrance will be holding their 3rd Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest over the course of two days; the first session will be held Friday November 14 with the second session taking place Saturday November 15. This craft beer festival will feature more than 40 craft breweries providing more than 100 craft beers and mead.

When it comes to the Alpine Kraft Bierfest I treat it almost like it is my own. I have watched this event evolve from the first one in 2012 that had almost as many beers as attendees, to last year’s amazing event that had closer to 500 attendees. Since Kraft Bierfest has become quite popular it was decided to split the event up into two sessions, over the course of two days.

While some past beer festivals have been less than successful with having multiple sessions, Alpine Village has something going for it that most beer festival promoters do not have; the ability to cellar beers. Last year there were discussions about having two sessions, but the real possibility of running out of “all the good beers” caused them to re-think the idea and have just one session. This year, more planning has been made to ensure both sessions have plenty of access to really good beer. For example, Alpine Kraft Bierfest will feature eight beers from Allagash; Fluxus 2014, Golden Brett, Interlude, James Bean, Red Howe’s, Saison Rye, Victor and Victoria. Four of them will be available at the first session on Friday and the other four will be at the second session on Saturday. And it is not just Allagash; Anderson Valley will have three split up over two days, Figueroa Mountain will have four, Stone will have eight and The Bruery will have five split between Friday and Saturday! The published beer list is only a partial list but I think it proves what I say when I mention that Alpine Inn at the Alpine Village is one of the best kept secrets when it comes to craft beer. You never know what they are going to pull out of the cellar. Continue reading

Vegan Oktoberfest Photos

On Saturday afternoon, Santa Monica was the site of what was billed as the first ever Vegan Oktoberfest. I happen to have several friends in Germany and when I asked them if they had ever heard of such a thing they agreed that this very likely was the first; it was definitely the first any of them had ever heard of.

Since it is October, it is beer festival season which means I usually have a couple events I can photograph on any given weekend and Saturday was no exception as the Taste of Brews Oktoberfest was happening in Corona while Vegan Oktoberfest was happening in Santa Monica. I am not a vegan by any stretch of the imagination but since triple digit temperatures were expected in Corona and it is three times further away I figured the Santa Monica was the logical choice; after all, you could see the ocean from the festival site, it had to be cooler. Well, if it was cooler it was not by much as the air temperature was in the high 90’s and combined with the event being held on an asphalt parking lot the numbers just went higher.

With 22 breweries represented at this inaugural event, there were plenty of options available for those that wanted beer to quench their thirst but it seemed to me that there were almost as many food vendors and the food lines were definitely longer than the beer lines. We tried one of the vegan options, a grilled cheese sandwich that had macaroni added as a filler. It was enough to make me not want to bother with any of the other food options; like I said, I am not a vegan and tofu is not a viable meat substitute in my opinion. Continue reading

Vegan Oktoberfest Santa Monica, October 4

As October steadily creeps up on us, so do the additional Oktoberfest celebrations; including Vegan Oktoberfest which will be held at Beach Park 1 in Santa Monica on October 4. While I am not sure I ever heard of a German vegan, this event looks like it should be pretty entertaining.

This inaugural event is a fundraiser for Expand Animal Rights Now, an organization that uses the legal system to help animals. Since this is a vegan event it is a safe bet that you are not going to find any bratwurst or sauerbraten available but there will be plenty of gluten free pretzels and food trucks such as Sage Organic Bistro, The Grilled Cheese Truck, The Green Truck, and Southern Fried Vegan which will be providing traditional Bavarian food such as pretzels, potato pancakes, chicken, sauerkraut and ice cream. There will be vegan sausages available also.

The breweries in attendance that will be pouring their vegan beer include Angel City, Anderson Valley Brewing, Bravery Brewing, Golden Road Brewing, Saint Archer Brewing, Karl Strauss Brewing, Drakes Brewing, Lagunitas, Bison Brewing, Modern Times Beer, Epic Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Ace Premium Hard Cider, Eel River Brewing Company, Coronado Brewing Company, Hangar 24, Venice Duck Brewery, Four Sons Brewing, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Ninkasi Brewing Company, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Lammsbrau and Einstock. Continue reading

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