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Old Orange Brewing Company

Flame Pizzeria, Reseda: Best Pizza & Beer or Best Anywhere?

The other day I got a phone call from “Joseph” telling me that he had just gotten involved with a pizzeria and that they had an outstanding tap list that I really should try. In the course of discussion he mentioned that he and his business partner were the new owners of Old Orange Brewing Company. Oh yeah, he did mention that his partner was one of the founders of Shelton Brothers; the importers that bring you great beer and outstanding beer festivals. My interest was slightly piqued; but as I told Joseph, Reseda is kind of a drive from the South Bay. I would “try” to make it out but in my heart, I had a feeling it wasn’t happening because pizza and beer is rarely worth a 60 mile round trip drive in LA traffic. That’s just reality.

Joseph had followed up the telephone call with an email containing a PDF of the craft brews they had on tap. The only ones I was readily familiar with came from Old Orange, and I probably knew more about the brewery than the beer. But I was definitely intrigued, the fact that I would have to look up every beer made me very interested.

I perused the Flame Pizzeria website that listed none of the beers I had been presented but it spoke highly of their chef, Chef Richard Florczak. Chef Richard has been a personal chef for such local celebrities as Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tyson Chandler and Kevin Nealon. Continue reading

4th Annual Brew at the LA Zoo

These photos were taken Friday night at the 4th Annual Brew at the LA Zoo, a fundraiser for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. The craft beer festival featured close to 40 different craft and microbreweries from all over California; including Port Town Brewing, San Pedro Brewing Company, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Lagunitas, Firestone Walker and Heretic Brewing Company. While the lines were a little longer that what I normally notice at local craft beer festivals, no one seemed to mind as there were smiles everywhere and lots of laughing.

In addition to the wide variety of craft beers there was live music provided by Indian School, the Spazmatics, and Jug or Nots as well as DJ Johnny Hawkes. Most of the zoo was closed off to the public but the 4,000 plus attendees were able to visit zoo exhibits like Elephants of Asia, Campo Gorilla Reserve, LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates and Reptiles) and the new Rainforest of the Americas. The gorillas seemed to be the biggest hams while I got the impression the other animals would have been happy to just go to sleep.

Last year there were 23 breweries and this year there were almost 40, so that is a pretty big leap. I was talking to L.A. Zoo Director John Lewis and he informed me that every year this event seems to get bigger and bigger and the LA Zoo really appreciates the support from the community. As this event has sold out for at least the last two years you must keep in the loop of craft beer events if you want an opportunity to go next year. I will try to find out with enough lead time to alert you next year so you can get tickets if you have not had the opportunity to attend a Brew at the LA Zoo yet. Continue reading

The Ultimate Beerfest OC – The good, the bad & the ugly

On Saturday October 19, a fundraiser for Villa Chardonnay, a 501(c)(3) non-profit horse rescue operation in Temecula, CA was held at the Costa Mesa Fairgrounds in the form of The Ultimate Beerfest OC. The event was scheduled to have 20+ breweries, food trucks, a beer pong tournament and a Best of Show beer competition voted on by attendees that had VIP tickets. The Ultimate Beerfest OC was one of six scheduled beer festivals put on by the organizers with the others being scheduled for Los Angeles, San Diego, Pasadena, San Francisco and San Jose. The Los Angeles event was originally scheduled as the first but was postponed until 2014 due to logistical issues with the selected venue. When I first learned of the event, the Los Angeles venue was the one I planned on attending. When it was postponed I volunteered to cover the event in Costa Mesa.

The event was scheduled to be held over the course of two sessions; the first beginning at 11:00 AM for VIP entries and noon for general admission and running until 3:00 PM with the second session running from 6:00 – 9:00 PM with VIP getting in an hour early. While the Ultimate Beerfest website specifically stated to “plan on arriving up to one hour early for event check-in” I really did not pay much heed to that suggestion as I have yet to attend a beer festival that had that many people show up; I kind of figured it was wishful thinking. It turned out that this was going to be bigger than I imagined.

As the event was outside, I was able to look in the beer garden as we approached and even though it was about 15 minutes until the VIP admission was to begin it was readily apparent that not all of the breweries had arrived. As I was coming from the opposite direction that the line to get in was forming, I could see that there was a pretty long line forming. I attributed it to the fact that many people were there as general admission and they were arriving an hour early as suggested. After all, VIP admission was $75 and General Admission was $50; it never dawned on me that everyone in line had paid for VIP admission. Continue reading

Ultimate Beerfest OC October 19 at Costa Mesa Fairgrounds

As you are probably aware, we are deep into the beer festival season; with multiple local beer festivals, Oktoberfest and the Great American Beer Festival all going on this week, I have one more to add to your itinerary. The Ultimate Beerfest-OC will be held at the Costa Mesa Fairgrounds on October 19, 2013. They are having two 3-hourlong sessions; the first from noon until 3:00 PM with the second one running from 6:00 – 9:00 PM for general admission ticket holders. All ticket holders receive a commemorative tasting cup while VIP ticket holders get in an hour early and get to judge the beer competition.

In addition to the 20+ breweries represented there will be numerous food trucks and vendors (purchases not included with admission) and there will be the Ultimate Beer Pong Tournament, sponsored by Redhook Brewery. The beer pong tournament is limited to 64 entries per venue, so if interested in participating, I would recommend registering soon.

Among the breweries scheduled to attend are Redhook Brewery, Manzanita Brewing Company, Firestone Walker, Latitude 33 Brewing Company, Kona Brewing Company, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Fox Barrel Cider, Mission Brewery, Blue Moon Brewing, Back Street Brewery, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, Rough Draft Brewing, Crispin Cider, Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing, Carlsberg Group, Crabbie’s Ginger Beer, Kronenbourg Brewery, Fireman’s Brew, Stadium Brewing Company, Surf Brewery, Old Orange Brewing Company, Aztec Brewing Company, Lost Coast Brewery, Batch 19, Oceanside Ale Works, and Tap It Brewing.

This is a fundraiser for Villa Chardonnay, a 501(c)(3) non-profit horse rescue operation in Temecula, CA. There will be no tickets sold at the door so if you want to attend, be sure to buy your tickets ahead of time. I hope to see you there. Cheers!

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