These photos are from the 2015 Pacific Brewers Cup homebrew competition which was held Saturday afternoon at Four Points by Sheraton at LAX. The event was hosted by Strand Brewers Club, Long Beach Homebrewers, and Pacific Gravity. There were 458 entries consisting of beer, mead and ciders.
While these photos were all taken Saturday, the fact of the matter is that with 458 entries, the judging portion actually started two weeks ago when members of the Strand Brewers Club had to sort the 1300 plus bottles into categories and get all the information entered in the competitions database. I helped out on the sorting by scanning in the entries with their assigned competition number; this gave me an opportunity to see where the entries came from. I have to admit, I was pretty surprised at how far and wide they came from; with several entries coming from out of state. Because of the substantial number of entries, there were a couple judging sessions done ahead of time.
As you might think, it is quite the task to judge 458 beers, mead and ciders and it truly takes a lot of work by an organized team to pull that off. The team yesterday consisted of 70 judges and 42 stewards. I met one of the judges yesterday that came all the way from Chandler, Arizona “for the love of beer” as opposed to trying to escape Chandler’s 100+ weather. While the judges were truly put to the test, I doubt that the event could have moved as smoothly as it did without the efforts of the stewards. Head Steward Barbara Bovee is to be congratulated for keeping things as organized as they were. Continue reading
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.
These photos are from the South Bay Tap Takeover that was held Thursday evening at Flights Beer Bar in Hawthorne. To say that this event was a success would be an understatement; some might suggest that it was too successful as there were times that the staff seemed overwhelmed with all the customers. The event officially began at 4:00 PM, but when I arrived at 3:30 people had already arrived and by 4:30 it was pretty well packed; and it stayed that way until about 11:30.
There were some delays in getting the beer served in the beginning because there were 40 new taps with beers that had never been poured there and many people were ordering flights. Flights brought in some additional help and eventually the beers were learned and things moved faster. The food situation was pretty much a no-win situation because while Flights could install a new walk-in to store beer, there was no way to increase the size of the kitchen. The food took a little longer to get out to us, but it was the same high quality that we have come to expect.
I do not know how many people showed up last night but I do know that we had 200 t-shirts to give away and I would venture to guess that at least as many people did not get shirts as those that did, so I don’t think estimating a turnout of at least 400 people would not be a stretch. Continue reading
First off, the beer. When I was approached about the idea of having a “Craft Beer Guy” party I immediately knew that I wanted to showcase the South Bay’s breweries. I also knew that 40 new kegs was quite an order so I was pleasantly surprised when Flights owner Jerry Jamgotchian didn’t blink an eye and said that 40 kegs was not a problem. A couple people asked me, “But where is he going to keep all that beer?” It was a great question that only had one solution; he was going to need a bigger cold box; so that is what he did. He had a second, bigger cold box added.
A couple weeks ago someone suggested maybe having a few shirts made and raffle them off; buy a beer, get a ticket. I brought it to Jerry for some input and his response was, “How about we make hundreds and give them to everybody?” Well, that is what he did; there will be free t-shirts for the first couple hundred people that ask for one (as supplies/sizes last). Continue reading
These photos were taken at the So Cal Brew Fest After Hours, which was held Saturday afternoon at the Farmers Park Market located at the historic Anaheim Packing District. This particular beer festival was a fundraiser with the beneficiaries of this event being the Anaheim Homeless Collaborative and Project Hope Alliance.
I have to say, this was a pretty nice event with a nice variety of beers from local favorites such as Phantom Carriage, Bootlegger’s, Absolution Brewing, Backstreet and Wicks Brewing as well as the larger breweries such as Ballast Point, Lagunitas and Sierra Nevada. Ciders were represented by County Cider, Troy Cider and California 101 Cider House. I had read that Mike Hess Brewing was going to be there, but I never spotted them if they showed up.
In addition to the nice selection of beer, the price of admission included food from Umami Burger, Bronx Sandwich Company, Brandy’s Sweets and street tacos from a company whose name escapes me. There was music provided by a DJ and lots of games including cornhole, hula hoop, Jenga and even Bocce Ball. There were a couple drawings, including one for a $75 gift card from Total Wine and More. Continue reading
It is hard to believe that it has been over a month since the last beer festival I attended, but the break is over as there are three local beer festivals coming up between now and the end of August.
The first up will be Beers Summer Fest which will be held Saturday, August 15 at The REEF, Chair Parking Lot, 1933 S. Broadway in Los Angeles. This event will feature 10 breweries; Anchor Brewing, Wicks Brewing, Absolution Brewing, The Great Brewing Company, Solarc Brewing, Mission, Figueroa Mountain, Fireman’s Brew, Escape Craft Brewery and The Dudes’.
Presented by BEERS Magazine, this inaugural event is a little different in that it costs $10 to get in, but if you want to drink beer you will have to purchase one of their commemorative pint glasses. The glasses are $25 at the door, or you can purchase them in advance via Eventbrite for $20. I am told that the entire $10 from the admission price will be donated to the beneficiaries, RISE – Reaching and Improving Society with Education and Smiles for M.I.L.E.S. Foundation.
On Monday morning, members of the South Bay’s craft beer community were shocked to hear of the loss of one of their own, Jeff Sanders. Jeff was a long time (if not lifetime) resident of the South Bay that loved animals, friends and craft beer. Jeff was a member of the Strand Brewers Club and as such, many members of the club joined his other friends for a memorial at Phantom Carriage on Tuesday evening.
I must admit that I was not really sure what I was going to write to accompany these photos and over the past 24 hours many ideas have wandered through my head; death, friendship and depression being the original topics that came to mind. Soon after arriving at Phantom Carriage last night, I was pretty sure that I was going to have to let the photos do most of the talking.
I cannot speak for where you live, but the South Bay’s craft beer community is just that, a tight-knit community. Last night, the community seemed a lot more like family. I knew Jeff, but it is not like we hung out together. I probably first met him at a Strand Brewers Club meeting, but I saw him at many events and when I look at the photos that I captured him in, he always seemed to be smiling and having a good time. It was very obvious that many of those attending last night’s gathering knew him a lot better than I and that they all felt they had lost a very good friend. Continue reading
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
A little over a week ago Absolution Brewing Company, along with El Segundo Brewing, Strand Brewing Company, Smog City Brewing, Phantom Carriage and King Harbor Brewing Company threw a birthday party for me at Absolution’s tasting room. Since I was the guest of honor, Tanya and I had decided that it would not be very polite for me to spend time taking photos instead of interacting with the guests that showed up. Tanya brought her camera, but we both knew that the photos would be rather minimal in comparison to what I would normally shoot if I was behind the camera, but hey, it was a party.
When we arrived at the Absolution Brewing Company tasting room, Absolution’s CTO (Chief Tasting Officer), Nigel Heath approached me and said, “You cannot take photos of your own party,” at which time he introduced me to one of the Absolution patrons, Luis Paredes, who just happened to be there with his big Nikon. Luis had offered to take photos in exchange for some free beer and food. I was more than happy to include Luis in the shindig.
Luis owns LP Photography and he can be reached via his Instagram page, https://instagram.com/luisparedesphotography/. These are some of the photos he took.
Thanks again to Luis, Absolution Brewing, Strand Brewing, Phantom Carriage, King Harbor Brewing, Smog City, El Segundo Brewing and everyone that came out. I hope you had as good a time as I did. Cheers! Continue reading
On July 9, the Business & Beer networking group had their July gathering at Torrance production brewery, Absolution Brewing Company. As we were saying our goodbyes, Absolution Brewing co-owner and main sales guru Steve Farguson happened to overhear a conversation I was having with an old friend when the topic of my upcoming birthday came up. When Steve heard “birthday” his ears perked up and he suggested that perhaps they would have a birthday party for me if he could generate enough interest with the other local breweries. I was flattered, but I explained that my birthday was in 10 days and that really did not seem like enough time to pull something like that off. It was decided that Steve would ask around and we would play it by ear.
To my surprise, a couple days later Steve informed me that El Segundo Brewing and Phantom Carriage were on board; then it just started to grow with eventually Strand Brewing, Smog City and King Harbor Brewing Company also joining in. By the time all was said and done we had representatives from local breweries and various craft beer industry types joining a few of my family members and personal friends.
My darling Tanya spent the two days prior slaving over a hot stove creating treats for the guests including pulled pork with homemade rolls made from spent grain and carrot cake. Others brought in treats like cheeses, meatballs and shrimp; and of course, there were lots of growlers and crowlers so everyone had an opportunity to try a wide variety of locally crafted beer. Continue reading