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Barrel-Aged Beer Day at GABF with Avery Brewing Company

Friday was day two of the 36th annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF), and it also happened to be Barrel-Aged Beer Day which was very convenient as I was invited to a guided beer tasting with Avery Brewing Company’s Andy Parker, the “Chief Barrel Herder” at Avery Brewing, which was held at Tap Fourteen in Denver. The press-only event featured pours from five different barrel-aged brews; Tweak, Coconut Porter, Amicitia, Ginger Sour, and Islay.

While we enjoyed the various options, Parker gave us a little background on his 10 year history of barrel aging and how when he brought up the idea of buying some barrels to Adam Avery, Avery’s response was so enthusiastic that Parker didn’t bother saying anything else, he just got the barrels and the rest is history. Continue reading

GABF Begins: Day One

These photos were taken Thursday evening at the Colorado Convention Center, where the Brewers Association is holding their 36th annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF). The event runs through Saturday.

If you have never attended GABF, think what it might be like to be a kid locked overnight in a candy factory; where would you begin? That is precisely the predicament I faced as I entered the huge venue, filled with 800 breweries pouring more than 3800 beers. In a word, it is a little overwhelming; I probably wandered around for close to 30 minutes, chatting with friends from various Southern California breweries and taking photos before I had my first beer. I did not want to spend my time drinking beer I can easily get at home, but with 800 breweries to choose from, where do you start? Continue reading

GABF 2017: The Warmups

These photos are from Wednesday in Denver as the city and I prepared for the 2017 Great American Beer Festival.

My day started at the Colorado Convention Center, where I picked up my media credentials for GABF which begins on Thursday evening. Wednesday was set aside for brewers, sponsors and media to get checked in and while I was there a pretty steady stream of participants came in to register. I could peek into the venue, but I will not be allowed in until Thursday so I did not bother trying to photograph it; instead I went looking for a beer. My first stop was Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery. Continue reading

The Road to GABF: Day One

Thanks to the Brewers Association, I am attending my first Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver, Colorado. As I have recently become the patriarch of my family, I decided that I would drive to Denver so I could use it as my jumping off point for my Craft Beer Tour 2017.

I left Monday morning, but got a later than planned start, which ended up messing with my scheduled craft beer stops; those being Zion Brewery and Moab Brewery. Because of my late start, Zion ended up being too far off I-15 for me to make the detour. After that, there just was nothing along the way in Utah. My advice is that if you are traveling through southern Utah, bring some craft beer with you; the drive is beautiful, but dry.

So, while the title of this article is The Road to GABF: Day One, the photos do not really begin until Tuesday, when I arrived in Grand Junction, Colorado and visited Kannah Creek Brewing Company. Continue reading

Craft Beer LB Fest Photos

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at the inaugural Craft Beer LB Fest, which was held at the Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site. The event featured craft beer from 12 Long Beach breweries, as well as food from Long Beach restaurants The Red Leprechaun and Roe Seafood. The event also featured live music from several bands and a Kid Zone, making the event truly family friendly.

It seems that this is a great time to live in Long Beach if you enjoy craft beer. As someone pointed out, it is almost as if Long Beach has been watching what is happening in Torrance and has decided to get on board the craft beer revolution.

Featured breweries included old-timer Belmont Brewing Company, who has been open since 1990, as well as breweries that just opened within the last week or so, like Long Beach Beer Lab and Ten Mile Brewing. There were also a couple that have not opened yet, but hope to be open soon, such as Liberation Brewing and Hog Canyon Brewing. Other breweries in attendance included Beachwood Brewing, Beachwood Blendery, Ballast Point, Congregation Ale House, Smog City, Rock Bottom, Dutch’s Brewhouse, and Timeless Pints. Continue reading

Rob Rubens One Year Spirits & Beer Anniversary

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at Rob Rubens Distilling & Brewing, when they held their Rob Rubens One Year Spirits & Beer Anniversary party. Now, if it seems like I just covered a one year anniversary at Rob Rubens, you would be correct; back in June they held an anniversary party to celebrate one year of brewing beer. As spirits take longer than the typical craft beer to ferment, Rubens launched by brewing beer, following shortly thereafter with the distilling of spirits.

Currently, Rob Rubens is bottling Rob Rubens Rye, Single Malt, and Wheat whiskies along with their American Vandal Vodka, Eighteenth Amendment Gin, Hideaway Whiskey, Mickey’s Beach Rum, and Rob Rubens Bourbon along with their numerous beers which range from a Gose and Kolsch to a Russian Imperial Stout and a Belgian Quad, and everything in-between. Continue reading

2nd Annual Pub at the Club Photos

These photos were taken Sunday afternoon at the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club, where the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club Junior Foundation held their 2nd Annual Pub at the Club Craft Beer, Wine and Food Festival. 100% of the ticket sales went to the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club Junior Foundation, a charity dedicated to developing champions on and off the court by supporting all athletes, including special needs and Para-athletes.

Price of admission included unlimited tastings from more than 15 breweries, 10 vintners, and 10 local restaurants. The breweries that I noticed in attendance included El Segundo Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, Stone Brewing, Rob Rubens Distilling & Brewing, Lagunitas, Eel River Brewing, Coronado Brewing Company, Black Market Brewing Company, Bootleggers Brewery, Smog City Brewing, Sierra Nevada, Speakeasy Ales and Lagers, Los Angeles Ale Works, Ritual Brewing Company, and Santa Monica Brew Works. Continue reading

Photos from the 3rd Annual South Bay Tap Takeover

These photos were taken Thursday at the 3rd Annual South Bay Tap Takeover, which was held at Flights, in Hawthorne. The event featured 18 of the South Bay’s best production breweries and brewpubs, filling up 39 tap handles.

Although I did not arrive until a little after 4:00 PM, my Facebook feed indicated that people began streaming in pretty much as soon as the doors opened. By 6:00 we had the place packed and it remained that way until close to 10:00; after that, people kept arriving to sample some outstanding brews.

I had the opportunity to speak with many of the attendees and discovered that this was the first time visiting Flights; it seems safe to say that they will all return. Continue reading

Bernie Wire Farewell Party at El Segundo Brewing

It is an end of an era for the Los Angeles craft beer scene as long time craft beer photographer and general all-round nice guy, Bernie Wire enters his last few days as a Los Angeles resident.

Saturday afternoon, a steady stream of Bernie Wire fans and friends came to El Segundo Brewing Company to bid farewell to Bernie as he and his wife Anne Marie prepare to move back to Minnesota; Anne Marie hails from the Land of 10,000 (closer to 12,000 actually) Lakes, so they have plenty of family out there.

Bernie took time to visit with everyone that came out, and then treated us to a little concert. After the concert, I noticed lots of tears in the tasting room as people began to realize that this was really good-bye. Continue reading

Pennywiser Private Tasting at The Standing Room

These photos were taken Friday evening at The Standing Room, in Hermosa Beach, where local punk rock legends Pennywise held a private tasting of their new collaboration with Lost Coast Brewery, Pennywiser Session IPA.

All four members of Pennywise, Jim Lindberg, Fletcher Dragge, Byron McMackin, and Randy Bradbury, were in attendance along with huge contingent of their fans. The members of the band did interviews, posed for photos and enjoyed both pints and bombers of the tasty, low ABV IPA.

Since Pennywise is a South Bay band, they initially contacted a few of the South Bay’s numerous breweries to do the collaboration with, but they ended up going with Eureka’s Lost Coast Brewery, most likely because Lost Coast brews about 20 times more beer than any of our local breweries are capable. Apparently, Lost Coast Brewery owner/founder Barbara Groom came out of retirement to brew this particular IPA which was dry-hooped with Cascade, Crystal, Chinook and Citra hops, which provides a nice citrus nose and a pleasant, mild hoppy flavor. Continue reading

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