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Breweries of Highway 395

At the beginning of November I had to go to Sparks, Nevada to bury a friend; since I would be driving up CA-395 I knew there would be several breweries along the way that I had yet to try or visit. I decided to leave a day early and visit as many as possible; George would have wanted it that way.

From the Los Angeles area, the easiest way to get to CA-395 is via CA-14. CA-14 begins in the Antelope Valley and ends at CA-395. As I was in the Antelope Valley far too early to stop by and visit any of their breweries, my first visit was to Indian Wells Brewing Company in Inyokern.

The Indian Wells Brewing tasting room is a pretty interesting place; in fact, I will go so far as to say it may be the most unusual brewery I have ever visited. I walked around a few minutes in what seemed to be a cross between a gift store at a ghost town and a Cracker Barrel with a small museum thrown in just because. With all the soda pop for sale, I had to confirm that yes; they do brew all their beer in-house. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2017: Arizona

These photos were taken Tuesday, October 24 at Saddle Mountain Brewing Company in Goodyear, and Prison Hill Brewing Company in Yuma, Arizona.

When I woke up Tuesday in Las Cruces, I had one goal and that was to make it to Yuma by the end of the day. It was going to require close to 600 miles of driving, but with Arizona’s speed limits and the fact that I was going to gain another hour as soon as I hit the Arizona border, it was definitely doable. I had thought about stopping in Tucson but I received a text informing me some friends were in the Phoenix area, so I looked for something a little closer for them. I recalled that Saddle Mountain Brewing won gold at GABF, and they were close to I-10, so we made plans to meet at Saddle Mountain.

Saddle Mountain Brewing is a brewpub that opened in late 2014; I actually visited them once before in April 2016. They took gold at GABF this year for their Clan Destine Scottish Ale, so I was looking forward to experiencing Saddle Mountain 18 months later. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2017: West Michigan

These photos are of the breweries I visited in Michigan; in order, they were Founders Brewing (two visits), Bell’s Brewery, New Holland Brewing, Our Brewing, Rockford Brewing, Perrin Brewing, Elk Brewing, and Greyline Brewing Company.

After driving back and forth between Grand Rapids and Detroit, in the pouring rain, and another four hours of technical work, I was ready for Craft Beer Tour 2017 to get back on course. First stop would be the Founders Brewing taproom.

As we were pulling off the freeway it was easy to spot the huge red brick building with “Founders Brewing” emblazoned with yellow letters. As we were parking I could not but help notice the fermenters in the windows; they appeared to be three stories tall, but I could not see clearly enough to see where their feet were. I hoped I would have a good view of the brewhouse, because it looked a little too busy for me to ask for a quick personal tour like I do at the smaller breweries. Continue reading

Hand-Brewed Beer – A nano-brewery for Chatsworth?

As the Craft Beer Guy I try to stay on top of developments in the craft beer world, especially when it comes to new breweries in the area. It is pretty funny when I think back to the time not that long ago that I would have to ride down to the Stone Brewery in Escondido if I wanted to find a fresh craft beer; now I have breweries popping up so fast around me I can barely keep track. It seems like there is a new brewery or two opening every week within a 50 mile radius; which is less than half the distance I used to ride to Escondido. The most recent brewery to make themselves known to me is Hand-Brewed Beer; a new nano-brewery that is looking to open a brewery with a tasting room in Chatsworth, CA.

Founded by long time friends Anthony Castañeda and Brian Hand, the pair started their brewing journey like many; with their college roommates as a fun way to get good, inexpensive beers. All in all, they have been brewing for about eight years out of their homes. They currently have a 1.5 barrel custom built pilot-system with two 60-gallon conical fermenters. They are currently looking around for a location to lease for a small space to begin brewing and distributing to bars in the Los Angeles area. They are hoping to have a location by the end of November 2013. To this end they have started a Kickstarter campaign.

With a modest goal of raising $10,000 they are currently about $4,000 short with 11 days left on the campaign. The monies will be used to help obtain cold room storage, building a bar top and tap wall for their proposed tasting room and kegs for distributing to bars. While Chatsworth does fall under the authority of the City of Los Angeles and tasting rooms seem to take a lot of work there, they are confident that with the support of local elected officials, their dream will become a reality. Looking at the list of beers they currently brew I look forward to their success and I hope to run across their Incident Isotope IPA sometime soon. Cheers! Continue reading

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