It is that time of year again; Naja’s Place in Redondo Beach began their week-long 8th Annual IPA Festival on Wednesday afternoon. The event will feature well over 100 IPAs from around the country.
We headed there early Wednesday afternoon as this was not my first rodeo, and Naja’s fills up fast every year as hopheads descend upon the International Boardwalk at the Redondo Beach Pier.
Each day of the event will feature a special IPA; Wednesday’s was Russian River’s Pliny the Elder. Thursday will feature Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA; Friday will have El Segundo Brewing’s Hop Plunge and their anniversary beer El Segundo El Cinco Del Segundo. Saturday will be Pizza Port day featuring more than 20 of their specialty IPAs. Sunday will feature Knee Deep’s Simtra Triple IPA, with Monday’s featured brew being Russian River’s Blind Pig and Tuesday will have Pliny the Elder again. Continue reading
These photos were taken at the Endless Rant IPA Release Party that was held Saturday evening at the King Harbor Brewing Company tasting room in Redondo Beach. For those of you that were unaware, King Harbor Brewing created Endless Rant for Adam Carolla’s Carolla Drinks label. Although the beer officially became available a couple weeks ago, last night’s event was the official launch with friends, family and fans descending upon King Harbor Brewing for an evening of tasty beer, good food, music and laughs as attendees enjoyed pints of Endless Rant and other King Harbor brews.
I happened to try Endless Rant a couple weeks ago when it was first released to the public at the tasting room, and was lucky enough to run into King Harbor’s head brewer Phil McDaniel so I asked him how this opportunity came about. I did not take notes, but this is pretty accurate.
The three principles at King Harbor, Tom Dunbabin, Will Daines and McDaniel are all long time fans of Carolla. Apparently a friend of one of the regulars at King Harbor works with Carolla on one of his ventures and happened to mention it to one of them. One of the King Harbor guys casually mentioned that if Carolla wanted to hold some type of beer related event, King Harbor Brewing would be more than happy to host it. Continue reading
Wednesday evening we went to Jimmy’s Bar & Grill in Redondo Beach for their monthly beer dinner; this month featuring Bell’s Brewery. As it was the one year anniversary of Jimmy’s first beer dinner, with Absolution Brewing Company, there was Bell’s Brewery swag and Jimmy’s gift cards for all the attendees. That was on top of what promised to be another outstanding meal.
I have mentioned before that Jimmy’s co-owner/chef Marc Dix puts a lot of thought into his pairings and Wednesday’s dinner was no exception. If you did not know, Dix is also a co-owner of the Barley Hops Grill and for this dinner he brought in co-owner/chef Alex Bouffiou to help out in the kitchen; and they did another great job.
As the dinners always consist of five beers and four courses, attendees were all welcomed with a Two Hearted Ale to wake up the taste buds; they were not going to want to miss a thing. Continue reading
For those that think I made a typo in the title, I didn’t. A Class of Beer: An Overview of the Craft Brewing Renaissance is a class that was offered this spring through UCLA’s continuing education program; UCLA Extension. The class, taught by local beerlebrity, beer hoarder and writer for Celebrator Beer News and Beer Paper L.A. Tomm Carroll, explored the history of beer from ancient times to today’s craft beer explosion. With Carroll leading the class, students learned about different styles of beers as well as how to differentiate between a flawed beer and a good one. Essentially, by the time they completed the eight week class, attendees should be well on their way to being capable of pursuing a rank from the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) or to begin the Brewers Association’s program to be certified as a Cicerone.
As we all know, sitting in a classroom listening to beer experts like Carroll, John Palmer, author of Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers; Devon Randall of Arts District Brewing; Rob Croxall of El Segundo Brewing, as well as various craft beer bar owners, homebrewers and judges is all well and good but until you can see, smell and taste the beer the talking can only go so far. To remedy this, Carroll has beer tastings of four different beers for each classroom session and arranged a few field trips to locations like Monkish Brewing to discuss brewing styles and yeasts; Mohawk Bend to learn about running a craft beer bar or brewpub; and this past Monday they visited Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach, where I caught up to them. Continue reading
On Friday evening, North Redondo was mellowed by the gentle tunes of local musician and general nice guy, Nick Shattuck as he performed at the King Harbor Brewing Company tasting room to a crowd of what seemed thousands. In addition to Shattuck’s tender tunes, attendees had their first opportunity to try King Harbor’s latest release, St. Jameson Stout. To be completely honest, I was there for the St. Jameson, which is a delicious Irish Dry Stout aged on Jameson soaked oak chips, having Shattuck there just ensured that King Harbor would be hopping with lots of photo ops. He did, it was.
I have to think back to two years ago and remember how empty King Harbor’s brewhouse was compared to today; and the tap list has literally tripled in size with a lot more diversity. Speaking of two years ago, King Harbor’s 2nd Anniversary is coming up on April 2. If you were at last year’s event you know what a good time it was; this year it is going to be even bigger. While everyone is welcome to come to the tasting room, if you want to participate in the festivities you will need a ticket. They have two prices, depending on if you want a bottle of their anniversary beer or not. You can get details and order on BrownPaperTickets.com. Cheers! Continue reading
These photos were taken Thursday evening at the March gathering of the Business & Beer networking group which was held at the King Harbor Brewing Company tasting room. There was a pretty nice turnout with people coming and going throughout the event.
For those that are self-employed or whose job description includes networking, Business & Beer is a great way to accomplish either of these goals while enjoying some of the best beers the South Bay has to offer. Business & Beer is a local business networking group that has been around since July 2012; they have no rules like mandatory meetings or dues, so if networking is an important part of your job description and you enjoy craft beer, Business & Beer is probably just right for you. They meet at a different brewery or brewpub on the second Thursday of every month from 6:00-8:00 PM. You do not need reservations and you can consider this your personal invitation.
These photos were taken Wednesday evening at Jimmy’s Bar & Grill monthly beer dinner. This month’s dinner was a little different than the others Jimmy’s puts on in that instead of featuring one brewery, it featured five breweries from Belgium. When it comes to beers from Belgium, probably one of the most knowledgeable local guys is Select Beer Store owner, Wes Jacobs. Anyone that has visited the Select Beer bottle shop has inevitably noticed the vast variety of Belgian ales they have available there. When Jimmy’s co-owner/chef, Marc Dix, decided he wanted to do a beer dinner featuring Belgian brews, because Belgians are meant to be served with food, it was not a difficult decision to approach Jacobs and ask if he wanted to curate the beer served.
Jacobs readily agreed and told Dix to provide the menu and he would come up with the beers; but that is not how Dix works, he tailors the food to compliment the beer. You will not find the dishes served at the beer dinners on the daily menu. That meant that the first thing that had to be done was to figure out what five beers would be served at the dinner. As you might imagine, that was quite a task in of itself. As I recall, it took about two months of sampling, with up to eight people assisting in the decision making process. Once the beers were chosen, Dix was able to do his thing; and did he ever. Continue reading
Last night we attended the monthly beer dinner held at Jimmy’s Bar & Grill in Redondo Beach, which featured beers from Avery Brewing Company to go along with the custom dinner menu prepared by chef/partner, Marc Dix. Avery Brewing Company was represented by their regional brewery rep, Christina Roberts who was more than happy to explain the history and nuance of each brew.
I know I have said it before, and I am sure this will not be the last time I write something similar, but of all the beer dinners I have attended, no one does it better than Marc Dix and his staff at Jimmy’s Bar & Grill. The primary reason, in my opinion anyway, is that Dix does not choose something off his menu and pair it with one of the available beers; he chooses the beer then tailors the dish around it so they complement each other. Since Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, and many people do not eat meat on that day, our meal consisted of different fish variations.
Last night began with a Joe’s Pilsner as a welcome beer which was followed with our first course; a delicious salmon with a sweet chili ginger glaze that was topped with a pineapple mango salsa. This was paired with a Raja Double IPA. The tropical nose of the Raja made perfect sense when paired with the salsa. Continue reading
On the second Wednesday of every month, Jimmy’s Bar & Grill in Redondo Beach holds a beer dinner featuring a specific craft brewery; frequently they pair up with one of our local breweries. Last night the four course meal was paired with fine brews from El Segundo Brewing Company. As I mentioned before, Marc Dix is the chef/partner at Jimmy’s and he is one of the owners of Barley Hops Grill, a popular food truck frequently seen at various tasting rooms; this has enabled Dix to do in-depth research and chose the perfect beer for the dishes he serves. I have the opportunity to attend many beer dinners and I can say without reservation that it would be tough to find anywhere that puts in as much effort and thought as Dix does for the Jimmy’s beer dinners.
While these dinners are four courses, they always start off with a beer to get your taste buds flowing; last night we began with a Citra Pale Ale. The first course was a chicken thigh brined in Mayberry IPA, with a butternut squash, coconut milk puree that was amazing; naturally it was paired with the Mayberry IPA.
The second course consisted of a baby spinach and kale salad with roasted mushrooms and goat cheese with an orange-bacon vinaigrette. The bacon almost made you forget you were eating a salad. This was paired with a Hop Tanker DIPA. Continue reading
As you probably heard, Thanksgiving is around the corner and based on my server stats that means for most of you the Christmas holiday shopping/spending season will begin Friday. Since I live in Torrance and we are the center of the craft beer explosion in the Greater Los Angeles Area, I figured I should give some tips to those of you that will be coming to our malls; primarily Del Amo Fashion Square and the South Bay Galleria. You are in luck; if you do have to venture to these locations for your Christmas shopping there is quite a bit of good beer available without having to give up your parking spot. Of course, if you can drop the wife off you can take your own mini craft beer tour and avoid the parking situation entirely, but if you have to go inside I have you covered.
I ventured off to the newly remodeled Del Amo Fashion Square and immediately rewrote this article in my head. I had planned one thing but parking was mind blowing and it was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at 1:00 PM. My advice is that if you are shopping at Del Amo, find a central parking spot and stick with it. Trying to drive to the other end would just be silly. I don’t visit the mall often, but when I do I find the parking is best on the east side; so you want to get to the southwest corner of Madrona and Fashion Way. When you see the AMC sign, turn south into the parking lot. You may end up having to use the structures, but they are new and I really have no knowledge of how well they are set up.
On the outside of the mall, on the east side, there is a large courtyard area that features places like Starbucks, PF Chang’s and has the entrance to the theaters. Also in that group are three locations that have pretty decent offerings of craft beer and most carry at least a couple local brews. Continue reading