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Sonoma Pride Tour

Sonoma Pride was originally conceived by Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing in July 2015 to celebrate living and working in Sonoma County. Since then they have released two beers annually under the Sonoma Pride brand. After the wildfires of early October, Russian River began brewing Sonoma Pride, a blonde ale, with all the proceeds from that beer going to help victims of the wildfires. To ensure the monies they raised went to the people that need it, they teamed with the King Ridge Foundation to begin a fundraiser for the victims of the Sonoma County wildfires. In a show of unity, more than 60 craft breweries and craft beer related businesses joined in to donate a brew that proceeds would be donated from; to date they have raised over $400,000.

When I left Sparks I had friends to visit and breweries to see, so I headed west on I-80. As there had been snow overnight, it made for a very scenic drive. Continue reading

Craft Breweries of Sparks Nevada

As I mentioned in my last article, I went to Sparks to bury my good friend, George. I did not bother using Google to check out the craft beer scene in Sparks because I did not know how much free time I would have; besides my friend Jon Urch had gifted me a bottle of Leafy Greens from Revision Brewing a couple months ago, so I had a good idea where I was going to head after the reception.

The reception after the funeral was held at Paddy & Irene’s Irish Pub, which meant nothing to me at the time but when I pulled into the Victorian Square parking lot I immediately got the feeling that George was looking out for me as right across the walkway from Paddy & Irene’s was Great Basin Brewing Company. Continue reading

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: Coast-to-Coast-to-Coast

As I left Yuma I thought about the epic craft beer tour I was completing and decided that if I was going to make this series of articles truly coast-to-coast-to-coast, I was going to have to end it by visiting a California craft brewery that won a medal at the most recent GABF.

With at least 15 breweries in Southern California to choose from, my main obstacles were going to be the same as I had encountered over the past several weeks; day of the week, and time of day. As I looked over the list of GABF winners I realized that if I wanted to avoid rush hour traffic I was going to have to aim for breweries close to me. Fortunately, I live where I do and two of my favorite local breweries had won medals and they are both brewpubs, meaning they would be open by noon; Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, and HopSaint Brewing Company in Torrance. Continue reading

Strand Brewing Celebrates 8th Anniversary

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at Strand Brewing Company’s 8th Anniversary Party. The event featured live music, food by Chefs in Shorts Catering, and 12 Strand Brewing beers on tap. As fate would have it, it was also Strand Brewing Company co-founder Rich Marcello’s 50th birthday, so everyone had even more reason to celebrate.

Congratulations to Joel Elliott, Rich Marcello and the entire Strand Brewing Company team on your success; and happy birthday to Rich.

Strand Brewing Company is located at 2201 Dominguez Street in Torrance; they are open Tuesday through Sunday, sell cans, bottles and growlers to go and are dog friendly. Cheers!

Back to Strand Brewing Company 8th Anniversary Photos
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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: New Mexico

Leaving El Paso, I headed west for about an hour to Las Cruces, New Mexico which was a planned stop for the day. I was aware of three craft breweries in Las Cruces, but as it was Monday, one was closed; I chose High Desert Brewing because it was the closest to my motel.

High Desert Brewing Company is a brewpub that has been open since July of 1997 and is apparently the second oldest brewery in New Mexico. Everything they brew is done in small batches of about 100 gallons each. Apparently they brew 27 different beers; on the night of my visit they had 11 available as well as their root beer.

While being shown around the brewhouse, I was told that High Desert Brewing never had any aspirations of becoming bigger than they are; they always just wanted to be a simple, local spot for craft beer and food lovers. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2017: Texas

These photos were taken over the course of three days in Texas, beginning with Grapevine Craft Brewery on October 21, Jester King Brewery, Freetail Brewing, and Pint & Plow on October 22, and finishing with Ode Brewing on October 23.

When I left Louisiana I set my sights on Grapevine, Texas and Grapevine Craft Brewery.

Grapevine Craft Brewery is a production brewery that has been around for four years. I picked it as a destination primarily because I thought Grapevine was Van Horn; which meant once again I had no idea where I was. I had meant to avoid Dallas, but there I was; at least I had a friend that lived down the road a piece and she met me at Grapevine. Continue reading

State Brewing Company: From the Beginning

Arguably, one of the most awaited tasting room openings in the South Bay has been that of State Brewing Company in Gardena. These photos have been taken at State Brewing, periodically since June of 2016 and through today, November 10, 2017; the official day of the beginning of State Brewing Company’s soft open.

When I first started going to State Brewing, they had a different brewer and a different idea of what kind of beers they would brew. At the beginning of 2017, State said farewell to their original brewer and welcomed Robert Sanchez and Rob Scott, both formerly of Kinetic Brewing, and things immediately changed. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2017: Louisiana

These photos were taken Saturday, October 21 at the Great Raft Brewing 4th Anniversary, in Shreveport, Louisiana.

As I spent the previous night in Vicksburg, which is on the east side of the Mississippi, and Louisiana is only a couple hours wide from the Mississippi border to Texas, I was going to have to plan this well if I wanted to visit any breweries in Louisiana. Fortunately, a name that kept coming up in conversation east of the Mississippi was Great Raft Brewing. Great Raft is located in Shreveport which is almost on the Louisiana/Texas border. Since it was a 2 1/2 hour drive from Vicksburg to Shreveport, and Great Raft opens at noon on Saturdays, I figured I would be able to arrive at Great Raft close to opening time, making it easy to try a few beers and snap some photos prior to moving on to Texas. I have to admit, I was pretty surprised when I arrived shortly after they opened only to discover their parking lot was full and I was going to have to park at a second lot down the street. Continue reading

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