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Otto Radtke

Great Society Cider & Mead Welcomes Moonlight Meadery

These photos were taken Thursday evening at Great Society Cider & Mead in Long Beach when they held another in their continuing series of “Meet the Maker”; where cider and mead aficionados get an opportunity to meet the owners behind the cideries and meaderies that produce the brews that are the primary focus of Great Society Cider & Mead. Thursday evening’s event featured Michael Fairbrother, founder of the world renowned Moonlight Meadery.

The evening was broken up in two sections; the first was open to the public and everyone was able to enjoy a Moonlight flight or any of ciders and mead that completed the 20 tap list while chatting with Fairbrother. It was obvious that many people had come from as far away as the San Diego area for the opportunity to speak with him. Some people just wanted to tell Fairbrother how much they enjoy his product while others brought samples and came with questions on the process when it comes to making cider or [especially] mead. The second portion of the evening was a private event featuring five pours of various Moonlight products paired with specific appetizers. Continue reading

Photos from the Great Society Cider & Mead Grand Opening

These photos were taken Tuesday afternoon when Great Society Cider & Mead officially opened with a ribbon cutting and the presentation of a Certificate of Recognition by the City of Long Beach. With that, the cider and mead began flowing and some very good food started coming from the kitchen.

The event was attended by family, friends, and representatives from the City of Long Beach and the Downtown Long Beach Associates along with what is bound to be the first group of Great Society regulars. Everyone seemed really enjoy experimenting with the various ciders and mead that were available. Continue reading

Photos from the Beachwood BBQ & Brewing 5 Year Celebration

All day Saturday, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, the world’s best large brewpub, celebrated five years with hundreds of their fans by providing at least 30 of their beers on tap, four casks, and hourly releases of such favorites as 8 Buffalo, Sadie and Jean-Quad Van Damme along with a special food menu, wandering magicians, balloon artists, and other side show acts turning their Long Beach location into a carnival fit for any adult that enjoys craft beer.

We arrived around 1:00 PM and while there was no line to get in, there was a two hour wait to get a table. We did like many and just opted to stand in the bar until a community table opened up. Getting a beer or ordering food at the bar was quick and easy; and it appeared to me that people were getting seated quicker than two hours. 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

3rd Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest Photos

When Alpine Village held their first Alpine Kraft Bierfest in the big tent back in 2012 they had almost as many beers as they did attendees. I suspect it had something to do with the timing in that it was held the week before Oktoberfest, so some people may have just thought the ads were for Oktoberfest rather than the American craft beer event it was intended to be.

In 2013, the 2nd Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest was moved into the Alpine Inn, more breweries and beers were added, a little more advertising was done and the attendance level more than doubled.

For 2014 it was decided that the event would stay inside the Alpine Inn, but the event would be held over the course of two sessions; one on Friday evening with the second session being held Saturday afternoon. 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. It seemed to work pretty well. Continue reading

Photos from the 2014 Euro Bierfest at Alpine Village

It must have been six or seven months ago when Alpine Village General Manager Otto Radtke first mentioned the idea of a European beer festival to me. While I was not entirely sure how well it would be received, there was one thing I was quite confident of, the Alpine Village in Torrance would be the one logical location in the South Bay, possibly in Southern California that could pull this off. Saturday afternoon they proved me right by holding their first ever Euro Bierfest 2014, featuring more than 50 beers from France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Iceland, England, Czech Republic and Sweden to probably 300 attendees.

I do not know if I have ever attended a beer festival that had so few IPAs; there were three only Belgian IPAs, none of which displayed the hoppiness to which Southern Californians have become accustomed but the ciders, sours, Pilsners, stouts, porters, guezes, tripels, quads and various bocks more than made up for it. For people with Untappd accounts, this was an excellent opportunity to rack up some of those more difficult to achieve badges like Belgian Holiday, Johnny Appleseed and Crisp as Day. Even more important was the opportunity to try beers that are rarely seen in any of the beer bars I frequent. It was really fun trying brews that I really had zero knowledge of only to discover how delicious they were.

In addition to the fine biers, there was a buffet of German and American foods available to help soak up some of the alcohol; and there was a Chicken Dance in which contestants displayed their Oktoberfest dancing skills for a chance to win some Alpine Village t-shirts. All in all, this was a blast and I personally enjoyed meeting those of you that came up to say hello. Meeting you people is part of what makes my covering of these events so enjoyable; I thank you. Continue reading

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