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
These photos are from the Dia de Los Muertos party Friday night that was hosted by Chris and Alexis Remensperger and co-hosted by the Strand Brewers Club. For those of you unfamiliar with Dia de los Muertos, it is Spanish for Day of the Dead and is a three day festival celebrated throughout Mexico to remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey. Since the Strand Brewers recently lost one of their own in August, this year Dia de los Muertos took on special significance for many in attendance.
Dia de los Muertos is celebrated from October 31 through November 2, so the party included costumes for those so inclined (as you will see by the photos, many went all out). As it is a predominantly Mexican holiday, it only made sense that a taco cart would be made available serving delicious pollo, carne and al pastor tacos with all the fixings. For the kids, and some adults, a big screen was set up in the backyard showing The Nightmare Before Christmas. And there was beer, lots and lots of homebrewed beer along with a few commercial varieties.
As I mentioned before, the South Bay’s craft beer community is a lot like family at times and this was really shown last night when one looked around and saw just how many families are involved with the Strand Brewers. And while they may have lost Jeff in August, judging by the number of babies and youngsters at the party, the Strand Brewers has a build in membership that should last for decades. Cheers! Continue reading
These photos were taken at the Smog City Beer Dinner which was held Wednesday evening at Jimmy’s Bar & Grill in Redondo Beach. I want to begin this by stating that over the past few years I have attended quite a few beer dinners but I am not sure that I have ever attended one that had such obvious thought put into the pairing of the food and beer as what we experienced last night at Jimmy’s. 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. Regular readers have probably picked up on the fact that I don’t usually pay much attention to the food trucks I run across at various events, preferring to leave the food choices to Tanya. After experiencing our meal last night and speaking with attendees that assured me that Barley Hops Grill is one of the best food trucks in the area, I am sure I will give more input when Tanya asks what I want to eat.
I live around the corner from Jimmy’s and have been here for 30 years, so I have seen lots of businesses come and go from that location. A few years ago a sports bar, 20/20, opened there, but did not last long. We had checked them out as a possible location to have a Business & Beer gathering but were left unimpressed. It was not long before I noticed 20/20 was closed and a lot of remodeling was being done. A short time later, Jimmy’s Bar & Grill was opened. I suppose I was misled by the “bar & grill” portion of Jimmy’s name as I had a preconceived idea that burgers and fries would be the main fare but last night’s menu definitely cleared up any misconceptions I may have had. Continue reading
The LA Beer Week Kickoff Party was held Saturday, June 20 at Exposition Park. I have to be honest, even though I have been documenting LA Beer Week since LABW4 in 2012 I have never attended any of their kickoff events. This was due primarily to preconceived misconceptions of what a madhouse it would be; plus I really do not like driving to DTLA. On the Wednesday before the kickoff party I happened to notice an email that came in from Absolution Brewing to members of their Mug Club in which they were offering VIP tickets to the first five “Muggers” that asked for them. I asked Tanya if she wanted to go and she responded immediately with, “No!.” This was because I had been saying we were not going for the past week, so I think she was just making sure I knew she was okay with it.
As I was going to the Torrance City Hall that night anyway for a Planning Commission hearing and Absolution was basically on the way home, it was decided that we would stop by after the Planning Commission hearing and see if any passes were still available. In other words, I was going to let others have an opportunity to score the passes before me. We showed up to Absolution shortly before they closed and no one had claimed any of the passes, so we decided to attend the kickoff.Continue reading
These photos were taken Thursday evening at the June gathering of Business & Beer which was held at the King Harbor Brewing Company tasting room in Redondo Beach. For the regular readers of Craft Beer Guy, you have likely heard me discuss Business & Beer which is a business networking group that meets on the second Thursday of every month at a different tasting room or brewpub in the South Bay area.
Although the event had initially been scheduled to be held at King Harbor’s new satellite tasting room on the International Boardwalk, a last minute snafu prevented it and the gathering had to be moved to the brewery itself. The last minute change did not seem to have much of a negative effect as there was a very nice turnout with one attendee coming from Miami Beach, FL. Of course, he did not come from Miami just to attend the Business & Beer event; he happened to be with the head brewer from Dry River Brewing, so both made quite the trek to participate and it was definitely appreciated by everyone in attendance.
If you live or work in the Greater Los Angeles area and networking is important to you or is part of your job description you should check out BusinessNBeer.com. This is arguably the South Bay’s most fun and relaxed business networking group. They meet on the second Thursday of every month at a different production brewery or brewpub in the South Bay area. With all the additions to the craft beer scene recently, there is a good chance you have not had a chance to visit some of them; this is your chance and you might even do some business. Events are scheduled from 6:00-8:00 PM and you can bring your significant other so there is no need to rush home. There are no rules and no dues; just come have a good time, meet some good people and enjoy a beer or two. You can find the schedule of upcoming events on the front page of BusinessnBeer.com or by following them on Facebook. Cheers! Continue reading
A few months ago, King Harbor Brewing Company co-owner Tom Dunbabin mentioned to me that they might be opening a satellite tasting room on the Redondo Beach Pier. Admittedly, I kind of filed it in the back of my mind as something that might happen in the future, but not something that would be happening in the immediate future. Last night, after our Business & Beer gathering at The Brewery at Abigaile I sent a message to Dunbabin to see if King Harbor Brewing would be interested in hosting the June meeting of Business & Beer. His response was immediate and with a twist I was not expecting, “Yes. Let’s do it at the new tasting room at the Redondo pier.”
Having watched the build-outs of numerous tasting rooms over the last few years, my immediate thought was; “Really? Next month?” I had serious doubts that this could be done that quickly so I headed over today to check it out. I was pleasantly surprised.
Apparently, the City of Redondo Beach and King Harbor Brewing Company has been working on this deal since September of last year. Redondo Beach owns the property and they approached King Harbor Brewing with the idea of them opening a satellite tasting room on the International Boardwalk. The location needed a lot of work but the city was eager to get King Harbor in there and within a few months it had been cleaned up enough for King Harbor Brewing to enter a three year lease with them.
They only started working on it Wednesday, but they have the cold box in and the bar top is close to being completed. They plan to have about 12 seats at the bar with another 12 at tables with some standing room along the side. When all is said and done there should be room for about 30 people to enjoy their brews at the new location. Continue reading
On Thursday evening the Business & Beer networking group met at The Brewery at Abigaile, a brewpub in Hermosa Beach. As one of the co-founders of Business & Beer I will admit that over the last couple of months we have been seriously discussing whether or not to continue with the monthly meeting format. Recent gatherings have been very small; the blame can be placed on weather, holidays, the loss of Daylight Saving Time or any number of factors; the reality is that the only reason it was decided to continue was because over the past couple of weeks three or four people said they really wanted to come to their first Business & Beer. Since the Brewery at Abigaile is one of my favorite locations in the Business & Beer rotation and the meeting date happened to coincide with the Craft Beer Guy anniversary date, it was decided to carry on at least one more month. It was a great decision.
Even though it was a rather cold and blustery evening we had one of the largest turnouts in close to a year; we had a nice mix of regulars, returnees and several first time attendees. As Abigaile is currently seeking a new brewer (their former brewer, Brian Brewer, is concentrating on his new endeavor as a partner with the soon-to-be HopSaint brewpub in Torrance) the selection of house brews was down to three with their Amber Ale, Pale Meridian and Beetlejuice DIPA; but there were plenty of guest taps for those that desired something different. Between the beer selections, the food and the great group of people that came out, we had a great time. I would like to thank Michael and Peggy Michino who were kind enough to bring a bottle of Green Flash Silva Stout that was autographed by Green Flash head brewer Chuck Silva, as an anniversary present. Continue reading
These photos are from opening day of the week-long 7th Annual IPA Festival which is being held at Naja’s Place in Redondo Beach. They are holding it a little earlier this year, which may be because they decided to coincide it with American Craft Beer Week; I will try to find out. It is safe to say that this event has become very popular and brought in people from at least as far as San Diego. Naja’s opened at 2:00 PM and by 4:00 I heard people asking, “Don’t these people have jobs?” The selection of IPAs ran the gamut from sessions to barrel-aged and there were plenty for a hophead like me to try that I only heard of; and some that I had not. It was a nice opening to what promises to be a week of great, hard to find IPAs.
The 7th Annual IPA Festival runs through Tuesday, May 19th. Today featured local IPAs from places like Strand Brewing, El Segundo Brewing, Smog City, Monkish, King Harbor, Phantom Carriage, Three Weavers and about 60 other taps from all over. Tomorrow, Thursday, will be their Ballast Point day featuring five different types of Sculpin; Saturday will be their Pizza Port day, always a crowd favorite, featuring at least 13 of their brews. They open at 2:00 PM on weekdays and noon on weekends.
If you like IPAs, and who doesn’t, be sure to head over to Naja’s Place between now and May 19th; you will be glad you did. Naja’s Place is located at 154 International Boardwalk in Redondo Beach. Cheers. Continue reading
On April 25, the village of Barpak in the Gorkha district of Nepal was hit with a severe earthquake with a magnitude ranging from 7.8 to 8.1. The earthquake was the most severe to hit Nepal since 1934 and killed upwards of 8,000 people with more than 14,500 injured. The quake literally flattened villages and left hundreds of thousands homeless. The earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, which killed at least 19, making it the deadliest day on the mountain in recorded history. Needless to say, when I opened up my Facebook and Twitter feed that morning Nepal was definitely trending, to use the vernacular of the day.
To be honest, I am not really sure where I saw it first, or whose suggestion it was, but someone in the local craft beer community suggested that the beer community should do something to raise monies to help the relief efforts in Nepal. It was not long before Kelly Erickson and Nick Gingold of Craft Media Solutions teamed up with Global Giving and more than 30 craft breweries, brewpubs, gastropubs and bottle shops to form Day of Action: Crawl 4 Nepal OC/LA. Each location had a selection of beers that you could purchase with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the Global Giving account.
I decided to visit three of the South Bay locations that were participating, beginning with Phantom Carriage in Carson. Phantom Carriage tapped a one-off keg of Muis, their 100% Brett wild blonde, with organic blood oranges. When I was talking with Phantom Carriage co-owner, Martin Svab and Assistant Brewer Brendan Lake they both relayed the same story to me in that the day before they were not sure how the blood oranges were going to work as the flavor just was not coming out the way they hoped. By Saturday morning the flavors had settled and it was delicious with subtle blood orange flavor at the finish. It was so good that the keg tapped out in a couple hours; 100% of the proceeds from this keg were donated to Crawl4Nepal. Continue reading