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Business & Beer returns to King Harbor Brewing

The Business & Beer networking group returned to King Harbor Brewing Company on Thursday evening for the first time since their soft open back in February. Back in February the King Harbor brewhouse was not yet powered up and all the available beers had been brewed via their pilot system. Eight months later a fully functional brewhouse provided the brews including The Quest Pale Ale with Mosaic Hops, their California Saison, the Abel Brown American Brown Ale and Swirly, which is essentially Abel Brown with vanilla.

In addition to the functioning brewhouse there have been several aesthetic improvements made with more seating at the bar, more tables and more decorations. King Harbor’s success has also resulted in their having more employees to make the customer experience more enjoyable.

Since it was Thursday that meant that it was also Bring Your Own Beer Mug night which allows customers to bring their favorite beer mug or stein and have it filled at the standard price. Those that brought their own mugs were entered into a contest King Harbor runs on their Instagram account; next week the photos will be posted and whoever gets the most votes will win a free growler and fill courtesy of King Harbor Brewing Company. This is a weekly event, so remember to bring your mugs on any Thursday you visit. Continue reading

MacLeod Ale Brewing Company – Cask-Conditioned Ales

A frequent question that is asked with the proliferation of craft breweries in the Los Angeles area is, “Are there too many breweries now”? Well, as a consumer I am not sure that there will ever be too many, even if visiting my favorites is becoming a little more difficult due to the “so many beers, so little time” aspect. One thing that prevents there being “too many” is when breweries start producing beers that are different than what everyone else in the area is doing; MacLeod Ale Brewing Company would be one of those that are doing things a little differently with all their brews being cask-conditioned and serving them at the traditional cellar temperature of 54°.

I had only visited MacLeod once before back in June, but they were not officially open yet and only had one ale on tap. MacLeod Ale Brewing Company was recently named Best Local Brewery by LA Hot List voters which has brought them additional exposure including being noticed by Last night I saw the MacLeod Ale needed some photos taken for the Time Out article so I decided I would lend a helping hand and use the opportunity to see how much has changed in the last four months.

The most obvious difference was that not only did they have customers in their tasting room; they are now offering six different taps to chose from. Last night they had two versions of their Session Gap ordinary bitter, The Little Spree Yorkshire Pale Ale, The King’s Taxes 60/- and two versions of Jackie Tar Brown Stout. If you have ever visited a pub in London you will definitely recognize the taste and style as being authentic. Continue reading

LA Beer Week continues: Torrance tasting rooms & Caskforce at Beachwood

Sunday was day two of the 6th Annual LA Beer Week and I decided to start the day off by visiting a couple of the Torrance tasting rooms since they were not around last year. The afternoon began at Torrance’s oldest production brewery, Strand Brewing Company. It was not particularly crowded, but they did have a nice group in there; due in part to LA Craft Beer Tours bringing a group in. I had the opportunity to visit with a few people and wish Nikki good luck as she will be leaving us soon to take on a new job with Drake’s Brewing. Congratulations, Nikki. Strand Brewing Company is located at 23520 Telo Avenue in Torrance.

I then headed over to The Dudes’ Brewing Company to see what has been going on there since their grand opening last week. The first thing I noticed was that they now have ample seating for everyone; to celebrate LA Beer Week The Dudes’ held raffles for beer, shirts, hats and other swag over the weekend. In addition to eight or nine beers on tap they also offered one on nitro and one on cask. It looks like The Dudes’ have gotten the hang of the tasting room and they should be quite successful as time goes on. The Dudes’ Brewing Company is located at 1840 W. 208th Street in Torrance.

For my final production brewery stop, I paid a visit to Absolution Brewing Company. It has been a few weeks since I was there and again, one of the first things I noticed was that they rearranged their pews to make it easier for people to sit together and talk while enjoying a guilt free Absolution brew. Judging by all the new kegs that were waiting to be filled it would be safe to presume that their distribution to bars and restaurants must be doing pretty well. Absolution Brewing Company is located at 2878 Columbia Street in Torrance. Continue reading

Photos from The Dudes’ Brewing Company Grand Opening

It seems like we have been waiting forever, but the day has finally come; The Dudes’ Brewing Company has officially opened their tasting room to the public and the public turned out en masse. Even though they opened their doors at 3:00 PM, when most people are at work, there was a line forming by the time I got there; and I got there early. In the last minutes before the doors were officially opened, finish work and clean up was being completed on the new tap room. When the doors opened everyone lined up at the bar to order one of the many beers brewed by The Dudes’. The brews included the familiar Double Trunk, Grandma’s Pecan, Kolschtal Eddy, Blood Orange and Grinning Face with the not as well-known South Bay Session and the newly introduced California IPA and El Duderino Agave Wheat.

The grand opening continues Saturday and Sunday when The Dudes’ will be open from noon until 10:00 PM. Throughout the weekend various cask offerings will be made available along with giveaways and special beer pricing. There will also be food trucks for those seeking food.

The Dudes’ Brewing Company
is located at 1840 W. 208th Street in Torrance. Their hours, for the time being, will be Thursdays and Fridays from 3:00-10:00 PM and 12:00-10:00 on Saturdays and Sundays. I had a few people come up and tell me that some of the brews that they had tried before seemed even better straight from the source, and I believe that would be tough to dispute. Welcome to the South Bay, Dudes. Cheers! Continue reading

The Dudes’ Brewing Company Tasting Room to Become Reality

Dudes' Taps

13 Taps, ready to pour

It was probably the middle of 2012 when I met a couple owners of a soon to be new production brewery in Torrance; The Dudes’ Brewing Company. When I talked to them about their plans I was a little surprised to hear that they were jumping into this brewing thing with both feet as their plans included canning immediately and opening a tasting room a little later. While canning usually comes a little later in the growth process of a new brewery, The Dudes’ brew house was not exactly typical when compared to other local brewers. What I found interesting was that the tasting room was going to be off-site of the brewery; Hermosa Avenue in Hermosa Beach had been mentioned with a location in Redondo Beach being mentioned after it seemed clear that Hermosa Beach was not going to happen. After the brewery started producing and canning beer it was decided that the tasting room would be opened on-site. While the big question was “when” it seems that the question has finally been answered; The Dudes’ Brewing Company tasting room will be open for business on Friday, September 12, 2014 at 3:00 PM.
Dudes' Handle

Open Friday, September 12

If you have not had an opportunity to visit The Dudes’ yet, the first thing you will probably notice is that their brewing system is highly automated and huge; too big to be making small batches with, that is for sure. The Dudes’ invested in a 3.5 barrel pilot system for their experimental brews and this will allow them to open with close to 13 taps; several of which have yet to be seen outside the brewery. Beers that will be available include their Kolschtal Eddy, Double Trunk DIPA, Grandma’s Pecan, South Bay Session Ale, Grinning Face Porter, a couple from their Juicebox Series and a brand new IPA and agave wheat that have not been given names yet. There will be pint and half pint tasting specials including $3.00 pints of the South Bay Session Ale. Growlers and four-packs will also be available for purchase.

The Dudes’ Brewing Company is located at 1840 W. 208th Street in Torrance. This Friday, September 12, they will be open from 3:00-10:00 PM; Saturday and Sunday they will be open 12:00-10:00 PM. There will be specials and giveaways all weekend so I hope to see you there as we welcome the South Bay’s newest tasting room. Cheers!

Visits to Bottle Logic, Pacific Plate and Pac City Brewing

Saturday afternoon I decided to check out a couple relatively new production breweries that I had not visited yet and pay a return visit to the only craft brewery that has seen fit to name a beer after me. The tasting rooms I visited were Bottle Logic Brewing, Pacific Plate Brewing and Pac City Brewery; with a stop by Lucky Baldwin’s Delirium for a bite to eat.

Our first stop was Bottle Logic Brewing in Anaheim. Bottle Logic opened in February of this year and while this was my first visit to their tasting room, I did have an opportunity to try a couple of their beers at The Bruery’s Sucréversary event back in May so I had a fairly good idea of what to expect as far as their brews were concerned; I was not disappointed. On the day of our visit they had about 14 beers on tap, with the tap list being broken up to their five “Constants” which make up their flagship beers; and their six “Variables” which consist of their seasonal beers. There were also a few others that are experimental and one-offs. We started off with a flight of their Constants and their Lucky Panda; my fiancee really enjoyed their rice lagers, Hanamichi and Lucky Panda. For me, the Double Actuator Double IPA was my favorite, by far. I then tried the Dr. Strangematter Imperial Saison and immediately requested a bottle to go; it is delicious.

Bottle Logic founder and president Steve Napolitano gave me a little tour of the brewhouse and I have to say that for a brewery that is only six months old they have a pretty impressive setup with room to grow. Included in the growth plans is a barrel program that will soon include sours, which will require an additional brewhouse to avoid cross-contamination. I look forward to visiting them again in a few months to see how much they have progressed. Bottle Logic Brewing is located at 1072 N. Armando Street in Anaheim and is open Thursday through Monday. Continue reading

Antelope Valley Breweries and Home Brew Competition Awards

A few weeks ago the Antelope Valley Fair held their second annual Antelope Valley Fair Home Brew Competition, which was sponsored by Bravery Brewing in Lancaster. This past Friday the 2014 Antelope Valley Fair Home Brew Competition Awards Ceremony was held, again at Bravery Brewing. A couple of the principles invited me to come out and photograph the awards ceremony which I was more than willing to do; since Lancaster is almost 100 miles away from me and I really did not feel like dealing with a Friday evening of rush hour traffic, I decided to make a day of it and see what kind of craft beer I could find in the Lancaster area. It turns out, that there currently is not a lot to choose from in that area. In fact, I could only find two breweries in the vast Antelope Valley; Kinetic Brewing and Bravery Brewing, both located in Lancaster.

I was somewhat familiar with Kinetic Brewing Company as I have seen them at a couple beer festivals, but I had only had a couple of their brews; their Potential Blonde Kölsch and Citrafuge Harvest Ale. Kinetic Brewing is a brewpub and normally we would have gone there to try the food as well, but a prior engagement resulted in our not really being hungry so we started off with a flight consisting of the seven brews they had available. The flight was made up of their Kölsch, American Brown Ale, American IPA, Porter, a couple variations of Berliner Weisse and their Belgian Strong Ale. All in all, the beers were solid with the Propulsion IPA being my definite favorite; no contest really. I enjoyed their Fusion Porter and Rusted Gear Brown Ale also, but found the two Berliner Weisse a little light for my tastes.

While we had not come in hungry we were there for a while and I eventually started checking out their food menu. They have a pretty good menu with everything from salads and pretzels to steak or pan-fried Ahi tuna. What caught my eye was their bread pudding; when you spot the photo of it, let me just say that if you think it looks good, I am not sure the photo does it justice. It was very good. If you find yourself in the Lancaster area and want a good craft beer and some food; you should check out Kinetic Brewing Company. They are located at 735 W. Lancaster Boulevard in Lancaster. Continue reading

Founders Have Fun at Absolution Brewing Company

On Sunday evening, Torrance’s newest production brewery, Absolution Brewing Company held a private party at their tasting room for members of their loyalty program, The MUG Club, Founders Division. The MUG Club was limited to just 125 people the first year and sold out so quickly that they decided to open it up again for American Craft Beer Week, and named it the ‘R U Feelin’ Wicked’ division. I joined the initial Founders division of the MUG Club and I have spoken with several other MUG Club members and I have yet to meet anyone that regretted their decision. The merchandise received, including t-shirts and a custom growler, combined with discounts and special events makes this a steal. The Founders Have Fun event Sunday night was a great example of the value received.

MUG Club Founders and their guests were treated to free beer, finger foods and live music provided by one of the South Bay’s fun rock bands, Barley Legal. I have several friends that always spoke highly of Barley Legal but this was the first time I heard them play; I have to say, they put on a great show. It only took a couple songs before attendees were dancing in the tasting room and even a couple got an opportunity to sing with them. Barley Legal is one of those acts that definitely gets their audience into the groove with them. If you have an opportunity to see them perform, take it; you will not be disappointed.

If you have not visited Absolution Brewing lately, you should; and if you get a chance, try their new firkin options. They are fast becoming my favorite style from them. If you get a chance to join the Absolution Brewing MUG Club I would jump on it. They really make sure you get full value for your loyalty. Cheers! Continue reading

Stunning upset at Smog City Brewing’s Battle of the Casks III

Saturday was an afternoon of great beer and stunning upsets as Smog City Brewing held their Battle of the Casks, Part 3. The concept was started back in December, 2013 with Battle of the Casks, a friendly competition began which featured five beers on cask, each using Smog City’s Bloody Knuckle Porter as the base beer the five Smog City team members; Jonathan and Laurie Porter, Chris Walowski, Mike Freeman and Ryan Trousdale each created their own tweaks. It was a tight competition with Walowski’s Raspberry Chocolate Sticks Porter Cask getting the most votes; thus entitling him to the coveted Budweiser Belt and bragging rights.

Fast forward four months to April 2014 and the Battle of the Casks, Part 2. In four months Smog City Brewing had grown; plus when there is a champion in town, more people want to take a shot at the title. There were supposed to be six contestants but a couple of casks had technical difficulties and had to be disqualified. This time Amarilla Gorilla IPA was used as the base beer and the result was the same, Walowski wowed the crowd again with his recipe consisting of Merlot Concentrate, Mosaic and Simcoe hops. To be honest, he was looking invincible … until Saturday afternoon. Continue reading

A visit to Progress Brewing and an Angry Horse Brewing tasting party

I was invited to attend an event on Saturday featuring an Angry Horse Brewing tasting party for supporters of their Indiegogo campaign which was immediately followed by a birthday party for Angry Horse co-owner and head brewer Luis “Angry Lou” Michel. Before heading out to Montebello for the party I decided to read over their Indiegogo page again and noticed that they spoke of being inspired by the recent opening of Progress Brewing in a neighboring city. Since I was unfamiliar with Progress Brewing I decided to Google them and find out where they were in relation to the Angry Horse event. When I saw that they were only about five miles away from each other it was decided that we would stop by Progress Brewing in South El Monte before going to Montebello.

I will admit that after visiting the Progress Brewing website I was not really sure what to expect; I read a couple articles that seemed to emphasize the fact that Progress was in a Latino neighborhood, the brewer was Latino and they were the first microbrewery in South El Monte which was 85% Latino. When we first pulled up to Progress Brewing the Latino influence was readily apparent from the building design and the painted advertising on the walls. If I had not been looking for a brewery I would have thought it was a neighborhood carniceria. When I walked inside the motif continued to remind me of some cantinas I have visited in Baja with its bare walls, bench seating and tile floors. What really surprised me was their tap list and the pricing.

I started talking with co-owner Kevin Ogilby and discovered that Progress Brewing has only been open for about 10 months. I was immediately impressed because their tap list offered 10 different brews ranging from their Blonde Kölsch and Gold Rush Witbier to a really nice Porter and Fat Henry Russian Imperial Stout. In fact, at one point Tanya (my fiancee) mentioned that they had everything but a sour or barrel-aged option. When Ogilby asked our thoughts about their brews I mentioned Tanya’s observation and he said they were preparing a barrel-aged anniversary brew with a sour soon to be available. Continue reading

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