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Raul Moran

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

Goose Island BCBS Release at Whole Foods Market Playa Vista

These photos are from the Black Friday Goose Island bottle release which was held at the Whole Foods Market in Playa Vista on Friday afternoon. According to Whole Foods beer buyer Raul Moran, this particular location had one of the highest allocations of the new Bourbon County series in the entire Los Angeles area; judging by the number of cases they had I have no doubts. In fact, they had five of the six varietals available for purchase; Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, Bourbon County Brand Stout, Bourbon County Brand Barleywine, Bourbon County Brand Regal Rye Stout and Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout.

In addition to the bottle release, the Astro Pub featured several flight options for those that wanted to compare various releases as well as some pretty tasty food to go along with it. The preset flights included 2013 through 2015 of BCBS with a Sophie, and a 2013 and 2015 Barleywine with a 2015 Coffee Stout and a Matilda.

While there was a pretty good crowd, Whole Foods managed it quite nicely; they were quick and efficient and I think everyone that showed up was able to purchase at least one bottle. Cheers! Continue reading

Photos from Oktoberfest at Whole Foods Playa Vista

On Saturday evening, the new Whole Foods Market in Playa Vista held a mini-Oktoberfest at their Astro Pub bar, which is a full bar complete with 24 craft beers on tap; with 14 of them dedicated to local breweries. The Oktoberfest was the second in a series of tap takeovers, beer dinners and various beer events planned by Raul Moran, the beer buyer for Whole Foods, Playa Vista.

The evening consisted of Oktoberfest style beers featuring such breweries as Three Weavers, Sierra Nevada, Ballast Point, Goose Island, Spaten, Weihenstephan and Hofbräuhaus. Also included in the price of admission was plenty of schnitzel, sauerkraut, brats and giant pretzels. Piped in German music resulted in spontaneous breakouts of the ever popular Chicken Dance. There was also plenty of swag available for anyone that wanted it. They had a moderate turnout, and everyone that attended seemed to be having a good time making new friends while enjoying the food and beer.

The Astro Pub is located in the front of the Whole Foods Market, Playa Vista at 12746 W. Jefferson Boulevard. As I mentioned, Moran plans on having a series of beer dinners and tap takeovers every couple of weeks. I would suggest following the Whole Foods Facebook page to be kept in the loop. Prost! Continue reading

Three Weavers Tap Takeover at Astro Pub

These photos were taken at the Three Weavers tap takeover that was held Saturday evening at the new Whole Foods Market in Playa Vista. This event featured six brews by Three Weavers Brewing; Seafarer Kolsch, Expatriate IPA, Ripple Saison, Deep Roots ESB, Knotty DIPA and Blood Junkie Imperial Red. There were several cheeses, dried meats and crackers provided along with some pairing suggestions. Three Weavers head brewer, Alexandra Nowell was also on hand to answer questions about the brews for the attendees.

When I was asked if I would cover this event, I did not hesitate in responding in the affirmative. While I may not spend a lot of time in Whole Foods markets, I have attended a few tap takeovers at other Whole Foods locations like El Segundo with their 760 Flight Plan tapas and craft beer bar; as well as Bar 225 at Whole Foods Venice and was aware that the new Playa Vista Whole Foods was going to have a larger area set aside for enjoying craft beer on-site. One thing is for sure; the Playa Vista location provides a lot more space for having a brew and their beer buyer, Raul Moran plans on making good use of it. Continue reading

Bourbon County Black Friday Release at Bar 225

These photos are from the 2014 Bourbon County Black Friday release which was held at Bar 225 which is inside Whole Foods Venice. This is the second year that Goose Island’s annual event included the Los Angeles area market, which is most likely a direct result of the 2011 purchase of Goose Island by Anheuser-Busch InBev back in 2011. While the Brewers Association immediately downgraded Goose Island from being considered craft due to this change of ownership, I have yet to meet more than a handful of people that have turned their noses at their Bourbon County Brand Stout (BCBS). In my personal opinion, the merger has not changed much except now BCBS is now available locally.

When I was approached to cover the event, I immediately accepted for several reasons. I guess the most obvious was that I can always use the work, followed closely by the fact that I now knew I would be able to score some of the latest release without having to drive around town trying to find someone that still had it in stock. Apparently no one was supposed to sell it before Black Friday but rumor has it some locations were selling [out of] their stock on the day before Thanksgiving. The third reason was that it seems that over the past year or two I have met several people in the craft beer industry that included Whole Foods Venice on their resume. I have come to realize that not all Whole Foods are created equal so I looked forward to seeing what the Venice location had to offer with their Bar 225.

I had forgotten who it was that told me they had worked at Whole Foods Venice and was pleasantly surprised that one of them was Drew Murphy, the manager of Bar 225, whom I had done some work for back in February. Goose Island Brand Ambassador Raul Moran was there assisting in pouring flights consisting of several high octane brews carrying the Goose Island name for those that were there for more than the purchase of whatever Bourbon County brews they could get their hands on. Continue reading

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