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Pizza Port – San Clemente

7th Annual San Clemente Micro-Brew Festival Photos

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon at the 7th Annual San Clemente Micro-Brew Festival, which was held in the Left Coast Brewing Company parking lot between their brewery and the tasting room. Proceeds from the event went to benefit military welcome-home events hosted by the San Clemente Chamber of Commerce. The event featured a little over a dozen local to San Clemente breweries as well as live music provided by Kalama Brothers, Special Blend and Rascalin. Wahoo’s food truck was also there for those that wanted food.

This was my first time attending this event, but just from the name “Micro-Brew Festival” I knew it was going to be old-school. When I arrived I noticed my preconceived notions were correct; not that this is a bad thing. It was nice and compact, with more than enough different beers available for any responsible craft beer fan, and they had plenty of bathrooms and free water. Continue reading

Photos from the 2nd Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival

These photos were taken at the 2nd Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival which was held at the South Coast Botanical Garden in Rancho Palos Verdes on Sunday afternoon. This outstanding event was hosted by Toyota and South Bay Equity Lending and sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of El Segundo, Palos Verdes Peninsula, and South Bay Sunrise. 100% of the proceeds from the event will go to support the humanitarian programs of the El Segundo Rotary Club, Palos Verdes Peninsula Rotary Club, and South Bay Rotary Club. Live music was provided by Detour.

While this was the 2nd Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival it was the first one that I attended, so I cannot compare it to last year’s event other than to say that I overheard a couple people that suggested that yesterday’s festival was bigger than their inaugural event. As a first time attendee I have to say that the stars must have been in perfect alignment as it appeared that Sunday’s event went off flawlessly.

I do not know how many people were in attendance, but when divided up between almost 30 breweries, close to 10 wineries and more than 20 restaurants lines were pretty much non-existent. There were not even lines for the restrooms. Continue reading

Locals Night at Naja’s Place LA Beer Week 2014

The 6th Annual LA Beer Week begins Saturday, September 20 but Naja’s Place in Redondo Beach kicked it off a day early with their “Locals Night” which included close to 50 beers on tap from 18 local craft breweries. The local breweries spotlighted in last night’s event included, The Brewery at Abigaile, Angel City, Beachwood, Bottle Logic, The Bruery, The Dudes’ Brewing, Eagle Rock Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, Golden Road, Hangar 24, Kinetic Brewing, King Harbor Brewing, Ladyface, LA Ale Works, Monkish Brewing, Noble Ale Works, Smog City and Strand Brewing Company.

Naja’s Place will continue their celebration of LA Beer Week on Saturday by showcasing 30+ Pizza Port beers, followed by an Allagash tap takeover on Wednesday and a Firestone takeover next Saturday, September 27.

Los Angeles Beer Week (LABW6) officially runs from September 20 through September 28. There are events happening all over the Greater Los Angeles area; you can find the most up to date schedule of events on the LA Beer Week website. There are some great beers being brewed around here now, go out and celebrate it. Cheers! Continue reading

Naja’s Place 6th Annual IPA Festival

On Wednesday afternoon, the legendary Naja’s Place in Redondo Beach began their 6th Annual IPA Festival; with arguably the best assortment of IPAs from around the country and at least one that I noticed from Belgium. There were Session IPAs, Single IPAs, Double, Triple and Quad IPAs; and Strand Brewing brought a cask of their award winning White Sand with Amarillo hops. While Naja’s has 88 taps, they have more IPAs than they have taps so not every beer will be available every day of this week long festival. In fact, they blew through nine kegs on the first day alone.

On Friday, June 27 Naja’s Place will be releasing several Stone Brewing Company IPAs and on Saturday Pizza Port’s IPAs will be featured. If you enjoy IPAs there really is only one place to be this week and that is Naja’s Place, you can bet they will have something there for you. I know I will be back for sure. Naja’s Place is located at 154 International Boardwalk in Redondo Beach. Cheers! Continue reading

Photos of The Bruery’s 6th Anniversary – Sucréversary

On Saturday afternoon, members of The Bruery’s Reserve and Hoarders Society and their guests gathered at The Phoenix Club in Anaheim to join The Bruery and many of the best local craft breweries to celebrate The Bruery’s Sucréversary, or 6th Anniversary. The proceeds from the event were to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana.

Since this was a private event I was a little surprised at how many attendees there were; this beer festival easily rivaled any of the local beer festivals I have attended in recent memory both in the number of people attending and the breweries represented. I got there a little early and even though they were not yet pouring beers, there were four very long lines as The Bruery had scattered three booths and a beer truck around the venue and their fans took advantage of the beer map to get in line for their favorite Bruery offering. To say there was a lot to choose from would be a definite understatement as The Bruery brought such ales as their Griffon Bruxellois, Oui Oui, Premiere, Batch #50, Confession, Sucré – Tawny Port, Grey Monday, Hottenroth, ORB, Grey Monday and many others. They even brought out some special beers such as Three Floyd’s 2013 Dark Lord.

Joining in the celebration were guest breweries Almanac Beer Company, Ballast Point, Beachwood Brewing, Bootleggers, Bottle Logic, Cismontane, Eagle Rock, Firestone Walker, Golden Road, Hangar 24, Kern River Brewing, King Harbor, Lost Abbey, Modern Times, Monkish, Noble Ale Works, Pizza Port – San Clemente, Smog City, Societe, St. Archer, Stone Brewing Co., TAPS, The Rare Barrel, Tustin Brewing and Valiant Brewing. The price of admission included a lunch catered by Beachwood BBQ; Chunk-n-Chip Cookies provided dessert. Continue reading

Beer Paper LA celebrates One Year Later at Beachwood

On Wednesday evening, craft beer fans headed to Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach to join Beer Paper LA as they celebrated their one year anniversary. Beer Paper LA is an online and monthly print paper that dedicates its pages to the local breweries and gastropubs in the Los Angeles, Orange County and Inland Empire areas of Southern California. As they had their launch party last year at Beachwood it made sense that they return for the anniversary party.

As anyone that frequents Beachwood knows, in addition to the fine beers Beachwood brews they always have a stellar guest tap list. Last night was no different with a selection of crafted brews from local craft breweries from central California to the Mexican border including The Brewery at Abigaile, Ladyface Ale Companie, TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Smog City, Strand Brewing, Noble Ale Works, Firestone Walker, Ohana Brewing Company, Pizza Port San Clemente and many more. It was a night to remember with many fine beers available.

Congratulations to Beer Paper LA on completing their first year and becoming practically a household name in the local craft beer scene. Cheers! Continue reading

2nd Annual Drink Good Beerfest Coming September 14

Drink Good Beerfest

The 2nd Annual Drink Good Beerfest

The 2nd Annual Drink Good Beerfest, hosted by The Factory Gastrobar in Long Beach, CA and sponsored by Cismontane Brewing and Beer Paper LA will be held September 14, 2013 from 1:00-4:00 PM at The Factory Gastrobar, located at 4020 Atlantic Avenue in Long Beach, California. This is actually a two-part event, so hopefully I get all the information correct.

This craft beer festival begins with their 2nd Annual Drink Good Beer Mash-Up Homebrew Competition which is an AHA, BJCP sanctioned event. Thursday, August 22 is the final day for entries if you want to participate. The cost is $5.00 per entry and you must provide ten (10) 12oz bottles. Not all categories of beer are being accepted, so if you want more information, I suggest visiting The Factory website for all the rules. The winner gets to brew his entry with Evan Weinberg at Cismonte Brewing so that is pretty cool. The AHA/BJCP judging will take place on Sunday, August 25.

On Monday, September 9 they will have their Best of Show judging and Craft Beer Guy was invited to be a judge for this, so I am looking forward to this opportunity.

On Saturday, the Drink Good Beerfest takes place and the winners of the Mash-Up Homebrew Competition will be announced then. If that was not enough, they will also have more than 60 rare and unique craft beers from over 30 local breweries! Now it’s a party. Among the breweries slated to participate are Ballast Point Brewing, Breckenridge Brewing, The Brewery at Abigaile, Bootlegger’s Brewery, Cismontane Brewing Company, Congregation Ale House Chapters Brewing, Dales Bros. Brewery, Drake’s Brewing, Eagle Rock Brewing, El Segundo Brewing Company, Epic Brewing, Firestone Walker, Golden Road Brewing, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Iron Fist Brewing, Kinetic Brewing Company, Latitude 33 Brewing Company, Lightning Brewery, Los Angeles Ale Works, Monkish Brewing Company, Noble Ale Works, Pizza Port – San Clemente, Ritual Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, Stone Brewing Company, Smog City Brewing, Triple Voodoo, Trumer Pils and The Bruery. Continue reading

Craft Beer Week Day One

Pizza Port

Pizza Port San Clemente

Welcome to Craft Beer Guy, it is not coincidental that this site is going live when it is as this is day one of the 8th Annual American Craft Beer Week. While I have been a craft beer fan for many years, I live in the Los Angeles area and to be blunt, we were sorely lacking on the craft beer scene. It seemed that Samuel Adams, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Fat Tire were about as much as we could hope for around here. Luckily, things have really changed around here which I discovered last year when covering the event. The craft beer scene in Southern California used to be limited to the San Diego area, but now things are catching up around here; and in my own back yard.

This year I decided to try to do something a little different; I am going to attempt to visit as many Great American Beer Festival (GABF) gold medal winners as possible in the area. In the event that I end up at a gastropub, I will attempt to purchase a gold medal winner. Should be easy, right?

Because I am somewhat limited by the hours in a day, I will be forced to limit my radius to about 60 miles. Most of the eligible breweries are inland of me, and it was close to 90 at home so I did not want to venture inland and opted for heading to Pizza Port in San Clemente, CA since it is a beach community. Pizza Port is a chain of pizza places that also brew beer. Unlike some chains, each location has their own head brewer and they are given leeway on at least some of the beers they brew. If you glance at the list of GABF winners you will notice that Pizza Port San Clemente, Solano Beach and Carlsbad have all been winners. I have never been to Pizza Port and I don’t recall ever trying anything from any of their locations prior to today; however, I have heard lots of praise about them so I was looking forward to the experience.

Congregation Ale House

Congregation Ale House, Long Beach

My hopes of a cool ride by the beach turned into a blast furnace ride with temperatures close to 100. Even in San Clemente it was 90 a couple blocks from the beach. I was really looking forward to the beers.

When we arrived, my girlfriend went up to the counter to order food. We got some “beer buddies” and a small pizza. While the attitude of the employees in that portion of the brewpub was helpful and upbeat, neither of us was particularly enthusiastic about the food. The beer buddies would have been better if there was some kind of garlic dipping sauce, but it wasn’t offered and I was there for the beer anyway.

I went over to the brewery portion and could not help but notice the sign that seemed to hint that if you did not know what you wanted, to step aside and let someone else order. That attitude seemed to be held by the beertender that did not seem to be into craft beer; he was there because it was a job. I told him, “Happy American Craft Beer Week.” His response was something along the lines of, “oh, is that happening now?”

I explained that it was, and that I was seeking gold medal winning beer and Pizza Port had won a few. He agreed that they had. I asked if they served flights. He said they did flights of four, so I asked for four gold medal winners. He told me there were only two available; so I asked for those and any other award winners they had. He then directed me to a very busy board and told me the award winners had emblems by their names. It took me a few minutes to figure out where the emblems were. Eventually I figured out what the third beer was and since I was not going to wait for any assistance from him, I just picked a fourth beer to complete the flight. My flight consisted of their Lightweight Lager (it was), Nerf Herder (San Diego World Beer Cup Bronze Winner), “Pseudo” IPA (2010 GABF Gold Winner) and Pier Rat Porter (San Diego World Beer Cup Gold Winner). The beers were okay, the experience was lacking.

On the way home I figured that we could stop by Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach as they are gold medal winners and always have a great selection of beers available. To my dismay, they are not open on Mondays; luckily, Congregation Ale House, Long Beach is right next door. While they do not brew beer, they do have a very nice selection of beers on tap. I opted to go for a Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Wookey Jack (2102 GABF Gold Winner). Firestone makes a good product, so I was happy. The beer drinking ended at home with a Black Sand Imperial IPA from Strand Brewing Company in Torrance. All my photos from day one of the 8th Annual American Craft Beer Week can be found on GotBaddog.com.

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