These photos are from the Samhain Ball which was held Saturday evening at the Phantom Carriage blendery and tasting room. For those that would otherwise have to Google it, Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. As you may have noticed, this is another culture’s celebration that falls within our Halloween season and Dia de los Muertos. Like visiting Bravery Brewing was the logical choice on the 4th of July, Phantom Carriage was pretty much made for these types of holidays. Besides, it was also co-owner and founder of Phantom Carriage, Martin Svab’s birthday so it truly was the logical choice.
We were among the first to arrive and there was a little stress because there was not a line outside, but it was pretty early, on a Saturday night and it was Halloween; there would be nothing to worry about. Within an hour the tasting room began filling up with TV and movie characters, ghouls, sexy Indians and the clamor of a few hundred people having a good time.
The Samhain Ball featured an evil DJ spinning Halloween-inspired tunes, a costume contest and haunted horror film screenings throughout the night both. Of course, they also had a special beer list including their own Haunted Dolores and Lugosi as well Alesmith’s “Evil Dead Red” and Tap It Brewing’s “No Soul Sour Red”. It was a fun night with good beer and imaginative people; congratulations to Phantom Carriage and happy birthday to Martin Svab. Cheers! Continue reading
On Saturday afternoon Tap & Cheer Events presented their 6th Annual Beer, Art and Music Festival, lovingly known as BAM Fest, which was held at the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica. The 18th Street Arts Center is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization and is the beneficiary of all the proceeds from the BAM Fest fundraiser. The event featured beers and ciders from more than 30 craft breweries as well as foods from six food trucks and live music provided by Nick Shattuck, Heaps N Heaps and Whiskey Sunday.
Considering the heat index was well over 100 degrees out when BAM Fest started, they had a very nice turnout. I am not really sure how the crowd size compared to previous years because people seemed to be seeking shade more than normal which probably resulted in more art being seen this time; it did appear that there were more art exhibits opened to the public this year and I am sure everyone that took advantage of them appreciated it. The weather pretty much forced everyone to get to know their neighbor since the parking lot had about three umbrellas that most attendees tried to fit under at some point. Continue reading
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