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Flights Beer Bar

Monkish Brewing Company

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

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

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

A Review of LA Beer Week 2015

LABW7 schedule

Unity release at Smog City Brewing

It has been a week or so now since LA Beer Week 2015 (LABW7) and I think I am ready to give a review of the “week-long” event. I say “week-long” because LABW7 officially ran from June 20-28 but some venues started celebrating early and others ended on the 27th. Heck, Smog City Brewing held their Unity (the official beer of LA Beer Week) bottle release on the Wednesday before, and Absolution Brewing released their LA Beer Week brew, AD/JD on Thursday. No matter when you started, it was a very long week with some very good beers to be found. There are a few events I attended but did not write about; if you want to see those photos please visit my Facebook page.

The LA Beer Week Kickoff Party was held Saturday, June 20 at Exposition Park. I have to be honest, even though I have been documenting LA Beer Week since LABW4 in 2012 I have never attended any of their kickoff events. This was due primarily to preconceived misconceptions of what a madhouse it would be; plus I really do not like driving to DTLA. On the Wednesday before the kickoff party I happened to notice an email that came in from Absolution Brewing to members of their Mug Club in which they were offering VIP tickets to the first five “Muggers” that asked for them. I asked Tanya if she wanted to go and she responded immediately with, “No!.” This was because I had been saying we were not going for the past week, so I think she was just making sure I knew she was okay with it.

As I was going to the Torrance City Hall that night anyway for a Planning Commission hearing and Absolution was basically on the way home, it was decided that we would stop by after the Planning Commission hearing and see if any passes were still available. In other words, I was going to let others have an opportunity to score the passes before me. We showed up to Absolution shortly before they closed and no one had claimed any of the passes, so we decided to attend the kickoff.

Absolution Brewing staff

Thank you to Absolution Brewing for the VIP passes

Continue reading

LA Beer Week 2015: Pink Boots Takeover at Three Weavers

Monday was day three of the 2015 LA Beer Week (#LABW7) and the celebration of Los Angeles’ craft beer scene continued with numerous events. I decided to head over to the Three Weavers Brewing Company tasting room in Inglewood where the Los Angeles Chapter of the Pink Boots Society held a fundraiser for their scholarship fund in the form of a tap takeover featuring craft beers from 20 breweries.

I have to admit that when I first heard about the event I figured we would attend primarily because it was a fundraiser for the Pink Boots Society and it would be one way I could give back to the industry. When I got there I discovered that there were some pretty outstanding beers featured and a fun group of people to enjoy them with.

The Pink Boots Society was created “to empower women beer professionals to advance their careers in the beer industry through education.” This is done via regional meetings, seminars and their scholarship fund. An example of the types of scholarships they fund would be the two-day Barth-Haas Hops Academy held in Yakima, WA this coming August. The scholarships are open to Pink Boots Society members and to become a member you must be a woman that has a paying job within the beer industry. Continue reading

LA Beer Week 2015: Father’s Day

Sunday was day two of the 2015 LA Beer Week (#LABW7) and it was Father’s Day. As my daughter wanted to take me out for Father’s Day and I wanted to take my dad out, we decided that we would all go together. My dad enjoys his craft beer but I know I have brought things over to the house that he just was not into; so I asked him if he had ever tried a wild ale or sour beer. He had not, but was willing to give it a try, so we decided that we would head over to Phantom Carriage for their Father’s Day Brunch and Vinyl Sunday.

I brought Elvis Costello’s “My Aim is True” which they put on the turntable while Tanya and I enjoyed Beer-Mosas with their Brewers Breakfast. In the meantime I introduced dad to Muis; it wasn’t his thing and he asked if they had an IPA. I brought him a Hoppy Birthday and his eyes lit up. After learning it wasn’t brewed by Phantom Carriage he said he wanted to try something else by them; I should just surprise him. Well, apparently his palate warmed up and he truly enjoyed the Dolores Nitro I presented.

We got there when they first opened and it had a decent group; by the time we finished eating, drinking and visiting the place was packed. It is good to see that they are continuing to grow. Speaking of which, they now have growlers of Muis available; bottles of some of their other brews will be there before you know it. Continue reading

Monkish Brewing Company CUP Modification Approved

Henry & Adriana

Monkish Brewing owners Henry & Adriana Nguyen

On Wednesday evening the Torrance Planning Commission heard a request by Torrance craft brewery, Monkish Brewing Company to modify their Conditional Use Permit issued in 2011 to allow extended hours and food trucks. Their application, MOD15-00004, was approved unanimously.

Monkish Brewing Company was the first production brewery in Torrance to get a Conditional Use Permit to open a tasting room, even though Strand Brewing opened a couple weeks before them. Back in 2011 when Monkish first appeared before the Planning Commission the craft beer landscape was significantly different in the South Bay than what we have today. There was Monkish and Strand in Torrance with El Segundo Brewing in El Segundo. As it was a new scene and no one really knew if craft beer was going to take hold this time (it tried 15-20 years ago with little success); in fact, when Monkish first requested to open the tasting room it was described as a “small accessory” to the brewery itself. As a consumer, I kind of figured that the three brewery owners got together and said, “Let’s open Thursday through Sunday and see what happens.”

Well, the times have changed; Torrance is now a craft beer destination. Instead of having two production breweries and one brewpub (Red Car) in Torrance, we now have five production breweries with a second brewpub (HopSaint) scheduled to open within the next two months. With the addition of each new production brewery and tasting room has come the request for longer hours and the ability to have food trucks. When Strand Brewing Company got the Conditional Use Permit for their new location, they made sure to request the ability to have longer hours and food trucks. Last night’s approval essentially leveled the playing field for Monkish Brewing giving them the ability to be open essentially seven days a week including special events. Continue reading

Photos from Strand Brewers Monster Brew at Monkish Brewing

These photos were taken at a Monster Brew put on by the Strand Brewers Club and hosted by Monkish Brewing Company. While this was a Strand Brewers Club event, home brewers from Crude Brew Crew, Pacific Gravity, Maltose Falcons and Long Beach Homebrewers were also in attendance.

For those unfamiliar with a “monster brew”, typically, a brewery will create wort then sell batches of it to home brewers who will take it home and add their own preferred yeast and additional malts, extracts, hops or whatever they desire. Since Monkish Brewing does do Belgian-style brews I was not surprised to hear that Belgian-style pale ales were a popular goal for many.

The grain bill consisted of:

78% Domestic 2-Row Malt
12% Flaked Oats
5% Vienna Malt
4% Acid Malt

The goal was a 1.051 OG wort at 25 IBUs. I did not hear how close they were, but I suspect it was very close if not dead on.

As you can see by the photos, they had a very large turnout; I left before they finished doling out the wort so I am not sure if they had extra or not. I have seen times that gallons had to be dumped because it wasn’t all sold. The point is, if you are just getting into home brewing you should watch out for these events. Getting the wort right is the toughest part, so if you can get 5-10 gallons done professionally you have a great start to a good homebrewed beer. If you are a homebrewer and haven’t joined one yet, seek out a homebrew club in your area, you will find a community of people with a willingness to help you be the best you can be as a home brewer. Cheers! Continue reading

Naja’s Place 7th Annual IPA Festival Begins

These photos are from opening day of the week-long 7th Annual IPA Festival which is being held at Naja’s Place in Redondo Beach. They are holding it a little earlier this year, which may be because they decided to coincide it with American Craft Beer Week; I will try to find out. It is safe to say that this event has become very popular and brought in people from at least as far as San Diego. Naja’s opened at 2:00 PM and by 4:00 I heard people asking, “Don’t these people have jobs?” The selection of IPAs ran the gamut from sessions to barrel-aged and there were plenty for a hophead like me to try that I only heard of; and some that I had not. It was a nice opening to what promises to be a week of great, hard to find IPAs.

The 7th Annual IPA Festival runs through Tuesday, May 19th. Today featured local IPAs from places like Strand Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, Smog City, Monkish, King Harbor, Phantom Carriage, Three Weavers and about 60 other taps from all over. Tomorrow, Thursday, will be their Ballast Point day featuring five different types of Sculpin; Saturday will be their Pizza Port day, always a crowd favorite, featuring at least 13 of their brews. They open at 2:00 PM on weekdays and noon on weekends.

If you like IPAs, and who doesn’t, be sure to head over to Naja’s Place between now and May 19th; you will be glad you did. Naja’s Place is located at 154 International Boardwalk in Redondo Beach. Cheers. Continue reading

LA Local Craft Beer & Artisanal Food Fest Photos

These photos are from the inaugural L.A. Local Craft Beer & Artisanal Food Fest that was held Saturday afternoon at the Alpine Village Restaurant in Alpine Village located in Torrance. As hinted by the name, this event featured craft beer brewed in Los Angeles County and artisanal food vendors from the Los Angeles area. I would venture to say that there were close to 500 attendees which far exceeded the expectations of Alpine Village, but for the most part things went smoothly, all things considered.

The last update that I had received suggested that there would be 31 craft breweries represented but by the time the map/program was printed only 29 were listed and not all of them were available. To say that there was some confusion would be putting it mildly. I am not going to pretend to know what arrangements were made, but it was my understanding that Alpine Village had purchased the beers rather than relying on donations from the breweries. The end result was that some of the breweries sent representatives to be on-hand to pour and some did not. Some of the beers did not even make it onto the floor until the event was half over. The breweries that I saw, or at least heard from reputable sources were there, included California 101 Cider House, Absolution Brewing, Eagle Rock Brewing, Strand Brewing, Phantom Carriage, Santa Monica Brew Works, Timeless Pints, Smog City, Wolf Creek, Hand-Brewed, Enegren, Bravery Brewing, Boomtown Brewing, Three Weavers, Solarc Brewing, Cosmic Ales, The Dudes’, King Harbor Brewing, Golden Road, Monkish, Ohana, San Pedro Brewing Company and Congregation Ale House. I am not saying others were not there, I just never spotted them. On a personal level, it was good to see Enegren Brewing represented as I have not visited them in well over two years and it was nice to finally meet the guys from Hand-Brewed and having the opportunity to try one of their brews (Deez Nuts Brown Ale). Continue reading

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