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A Visit to Mother Road Brewing & Flagstaff Brewing Company – Flagstaff, AZ

After being fooled by Google in Gallup, New Mexico we got back on I-40 and continued west on our Craft Beer Tour 2016.

While there are plenty of new craft breweries in the southern half of Arizona, the same cannot be said for northern Arizona; at least until you hit Flagstaff. We saw one brewery pop up online, but that was after we had passed it; lack of an Internet signal certainly did not help much.

As we approached Flagstaff I knew there were several breweries there that I had yet to try. I had visited Beaver Street Brewery several times over the years, and Lumberyard Brewing Company a couple times, so I knew I wanted something different; I set my GPS for Mother Road Brewing Company, and I am really glad I did. Continue reading

Photos from Rock & Brews 6th Annual Local Craft Beer Fest

These photos were taken at the 6th Annual Local Craft Beer Fest which was held at the El Segundo Rock & Brews on Sunday afternoon. Admission to the family and pet friendly event included 10 beer tickets, with a choice of 12 local breweries; as well as a barbecued tri-tip lunch.

As far as the breweries pouring at the event, there was the cast of usual attendees like El Segundo Brewing, Strand Brewing, King Harbor Brewing, Ohana Brewing, Barley Forge Brewing and Three Weavers. Relative newcomers like Iron Triangle, Indie Brewing, Reel Brewery and Solarc Brewing welcomed the new kids on the block, Rob Rubens Distilling & Brewing and Two Coast Brewing Company.

While previous editions of the Local Craft Beer Fest featured games, this year they decided to replace the games with live music provided by local alternative 80’s band, The One 80’s. To say they were well received would be an understatement. They had everyone up on their feet rocking out; I think live music is a nice touch to this annual event, I hope they keep it up. Cheers! Continue reading

Media Appreciation Night at Rock & Brews PCH

These photos are from the Media Appreciation Night that was held Thursday evening at Rock & Brews PCH in Redondo Beach. The event was two-fold in that not only did they show their appreciation to local food and beer bloggers by feeding us and giving us craft beer; but they also used the opportunity to introduce the new food menu that has been introduced to all the Rock & Brews locations.

A few of the new items that are pictured include Onion Rings (they used to only be an appetizer, now they are also a side to any entree), Jalapeno Poppers, and a Mediterranean Chopped Salad. They also introduced their Kansas City Style Hot Dog, a Demon Chicken Sandwich, and the Gastropub Burger. For dessert they now added items like a Key Lime Pie and the Giant Brownie Sundae. Continue reading

Quarter Celtic Brewpub – Albuquerque New Mexico

As our Craft Beer Tour 2016 continued west on I-40 from Big Texan Brewery in Amarillo we entered New Mexico and a few hours later we found ourselves in Albuquerque. As this would be our stop for the evening, I looked around Google for food and craft beer and came upon Quarter Celtic Brewpub.

I was not sure what to expect at an Irish sounding brewpub located in New Mexico, but as soon as we walked in I could not help but notice all the family crests hanging on the wall that seemed to imply that there were at least a few people of Irish descent that lived there.

Finding Quarter Celtic took a little bit of effort and it probably helps to know where to look since apparently they are the only brewery in New Mexico with underground parking. You will not see it from the street, so when you find the Ace Hardware Store, look for the underground parking structure. With the extreme weather they have in New Mexico, I am sure the residents love it. Continue reading

Northwest Cider Masters Tour at Great Society Cider & Mead

These photos were taken at the Northwest Cider Masters Tour that was held Sunday afternoon at Great Society Cider & Mead in Long Beach. The “Harvest Party” featured two of Oregon’s finest cider makers; James Kohn of Wandering Aengus Ciderworks and Kevin Zielinsk of E.Z. Orchards Farm Market. In addition to the 20 ciders on tap, there were beer and cider blends, charcuterie, cheese pairings, and plenty of information to get people to understand the craft behind cider, as well as the history and tradition of cider. Of course, there were plenty of ciders there so it was interesting to notice the differences between them.

I was there for the “trade show” portion of the event and it was very well attended; I can only imagine how many people showed up when they opened to the general public. It just shows me that hard ciders and mead are coming into their own. Personally, I have a ways to go before I can discern the subtle nuances of different ciders; I am basically at the dry or sweet/apple or pear phase, so it may be a while before I can open Craft Cider Guy, but you never know. Continue reading

Lugosi Bottle Premiere and Halloween Celebration at Phantom Carriage

These photos were taken at the Lugosi Bottle Premiere and Halloween Celebration that was held Saturday evening at Phantom Carriage blendery and tasting room in Carson. The event featured the release of a bottled version of Lugosi, a high gravity dark wild sour ale aged in oak with Brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and Pediococcus; featuring sweet cherry, vanilla, and stone fruit.

Since it was also a Halloween party, Phantom Carriage played Universal Studio’s 1931 version of “Dracula” on a large screen in the back parking lot. As Dracula starred Bela Lugosi, and they were releasing the bottled version of Lugosi, it only made sense that this would be a good time to invite Bela Lugosi, Jr. to join the fun, which he accepted and brought along a good portion of his family. Continue reading

Pints for Prostates at Shade Hotel Redondo Beach

These photos are from the Pints for Prostates beer tasting that was put on by the Torrance Memorial Medical Center and held at the newly opened Shade Hotel Redondo Beach. The event was a kickoff to the annual Movember fundraiser that is meant to draw attention to men’s health issues; specifically prostate and testicular cancers as well as mental health and suicide prevention. When I grew a mustache for Movember back in 2010 the program was primarily to bring awareness that one in seven men would be diagnosed with prostate cancer, today it also includes suicide prevention as more men die from suicide than testicular or prostate cancer.

Pints for Prostates was sponsored by Shade Hotel, The South Bay Mo Bros’, King Harbor Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, and Hop Saint Brewing Company. Timothy Lesser, MD, Garret Matsunaga, MD, and David Wallis, MD each spoke on the importance of early detection and men’s health and a couple survivors spoke of their experience while one person told us what happened when his father delayed being examined. Continue reading

Media Night at Strand Brewing Company

Monday evening, Strand Brewing Company hosted members of the LA Beer Bloggers and other local media outlets with an intimate evening of craft beer, snacks and networking. Strand Brewing Company co-founder/co-owner Rich Marcello took time to speak with attendees individually; then took everyone on a tour of their [relatively] new 36,000 square foot facility on Dominguez Street. Marcello also showed off their shiny, new canning line which will be put into use shortly. He also made sure to let us all know that Strand Brewing will be celebrating their 7th Anniversary on the weekend of November 11 through the 13th.

In addition to the tour and plentiful beer, Marcello personally made up several snack trays that one would have thought were professionally done. Attendees also had a chance to chat with the reigning, and six times Tetris World Champion, Jonas Neubauer who also happens to run the tasting room. For those into Tetris, the World Championships have been going on for seven years, with Neubauer taking first place every year, except a couple years ago when he ranked second. We are all pretty proud of him.

Strand Brewing Company is located at 2201 Dominguez Street in Torrance. Their 7th Anniversary celebration will feature special beers, casks, music and general fun for the entire family. Visit the Strand Brewing website or their Facebook page for more information. Cheers! Continue reading

Photos from the 2nd Annual Oktoberfest at Astro Pub

These photos were taken Friday evening at the 2nd Annual Oktoberfest, which was held at the Astro Pub in Whole Foods Market, Playa Vista. They had a pretty nice turnout which was probably due in part to the pleasant weather which resulted in a lot of foot traffic; this combined with the aroma of German food and the sound of oompah music resulted in many passersby making a detour to join the festivities.

For a mere $20.00 attendees were able to have seven pours of various Oktoberfest brews including Goose Island, Spaten, Becks, Karl Strauss, Firestone Walker, Hofbräu and Weihenstephan. To go along with the bier there were pretzel bites, German potatoes, sauerkraut, and your choice of schnitzel or bacon wrapped brats.

The Astro Pub is located at 12746 W. Jefferson Boulevard in the Whole Foods Market, Playa Vista. Their beer buyer, Raul Moran puts on various beer events every few months so you might want to follow the Whole Foods Facebook page to be kept in the loop. He also keeps a nice selection of craft beer on tap and available to takeout. Prost! Continue reading

Big Texan Brewery – Truly handcrafted beer

If you have driven through the Texas panhandle on I-40 around Amarillo in the last 40 years; you have undoubtedly seen the billboards for the Big Texan Steak Ranch. They are pretty tough to miss with their promise of a free 72oz steak. I have seen them several times over the years, but this time there was a sign next to the steak offering that suggested they had a brewery there. I decided that I would stop at the Big Texan for the first time.

Let there be no mistake, the Big Texan Ranch complex, complete with motels, is a tourist stop; it is meant to break up the monotony of the drive. I got the impression that there were several people that stopped with the intention of eating a 75oz steak dinner within an hour, but there was also a shooting gallery, an ice cream and candy store; and now there was a bar offering 11 beers, crafted on site.

When we ordered our flight I told our beertender about our tour and she immediately nodded over to a gentleman to her right; “You want to talk to him; he is the brewer.” Continue reading

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