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6th Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle Results

These photos were taken Monday afternoon at the Beachwood Blendery in Long Beach, where employees, friends, and family gathered for the drawing of the raffle tickets sold for Beachwood’s 6th Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle.

To enter the raffle, you could buy a $5.00 raffle ticket at the Seal Beach or Long Beach restaurant locations. Winners will receive a full pint of the 2017 Pliny the Younger; those that were not picked can feel better knowing that their donation is going to a good cause, the Melanoma Research Foundation. Beachwood founder and co-owner Gabe Gordon stated that this year’s raffle brought the total raised over the past six years to almost $75,000. Continue reading

Photos from the 2nd Annual Summit Beer Festival

These photos were taken Saturday at Matsuyama Japanese Fusion in Roseville, and the 2nd Annual Summit Beer Festival which was held at the Capitol Mall in Sacramento.

While I knew I would be attending the Craft Beer Summit, I was undecided as to whether or not I would be attending the Summit Beer Festival because I have friends that are a lot closer to Sacramento than I am and I really wanted to visit them. On Friday I discovered that the Summit Beer Festival was just a few blocks from my motel; when I realized that the festival did not start until 3:00 PM I figured I could drive 20 minutes to Roseville and visit my friend Song Kim, the owner of Matsuyama Japanese Fusion. I have mentioned Matsuyama once before here; suffice it to say, if you enjoy sushi and are anywhere in the Roseville area, you owe it to yourself to visit Matsuyama Japanese Fusion. You will not regret it; be sure to tell Song I sent you. Continue reading

5th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Photos: FWIBF16

These photos are from the 5th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival (FWIBF16) which was held this past Saturday afternoon at the Paso Robles Event Center and featured about 50 breweries and 200 craft beers from around the world as well as foods from 33 local area restaurants.

The Firestone Invitational is one of, if not the best run craft beer events I have ever attended. I remember attending last year’s Invitational and being quite surprised to learn that it was only the fourth one as it was run so smoothly; from ensuring ticketed attendees were in the gates and ready to go by the time the event officially started, to making sure water was readily available no matter where you happened to be in the venue. If I did not know better, I would have guessed that they had to be doing it for 10 years instead of four.

Since this was my second opportunity to attend the Firestone Walker Invitational, I used my experience from last year to make this year’s event even more fun. Continue reading

8th Annual IPA Festival at Najas Place

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

Photos from the 4th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival

These photos are from Saturday at the 4th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival (FWIBF15) which was held at the Paso Robles Event Center. The festival included craft beer of 53 breweries from all over the United States, Europe and beyond. This was my first opportunity to attend and I did not attend as any type of “official media” so my experience was probably similar to that of any other first time attendee; except I probably waited in line longer to get in. On Friday night I had heard stories of lines just to get in reaching down the street and around the block, so I walked over to the event center and was there before 9:00 AM. If you are taking notes, the event did not start until noon and there was nothing to be gained by being among the first 20 to be there. If you get there at noon you will be fine.

To be honest, I was not aware that this was only the fourth Invitational and it is definitely run like they have been doing it a lot longer. I had the opportunity to speak with individuals that had attended multiple times before and the one thing that became obvious is that Firestone Walker listened to the feedback they received after each event. For example, in the beginning, attendees had to buy food and water. As the event evolved it now has free food from 26 restaurants and multiple free water stations with enough filtered water to hydrate the 3,000 plus attendees. Now, I have to say, I am not really sure how many tickets were sold but between comments I heard, articles I read and a personal guess, I would guess between 3,000 and 4,000. The thing is, the location can hold a lot more than that and when you divide them between 80 booths there was not much in the way of lines. Naturally, there were some breweries like Three Floyds and Alchemist that had long lines all day; and when breweries like Beachwood or The Bruery had their special pours people started waiting; but most of the lines that I experienced moved rather quickly. Continue reading

4th Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Raffle Ticket Sales Begin

pliny fights cancer

Tickets on sale from January 20 thru February 21

Last month at this time, kids around the world were getting excited for the upcoming Christmas festivities; for craft beer aficionados the excitement builds for the release of Pliny the Younger, the seasonal triple IPA released by Russian River Brewing every February. A couple weeks after that, a few kegs are sent out to select Russian River accounts. One of those accounts is Beachwood BBQ and Beachwood BBQ & Brewing.

For the past four years Beachwood has been having a charity raffle for chances to win one (or more) of the 130 pints they will have available between their Seal Beach and Long Beach locations. The beneficiary of 100% of the monies raised goes to the Melanoma Research Foundation done in memory of a long time Beachwood friend, Tony Carbone who passed away in 2008 from Stage 3 Melanoma.

Pliny raffle tickets

I bought the first two tickets!

The process is simple and if you read this through to the end, there is a special offer for you. Raffle tickets are $5.00 each and there will be 130 winners. Tickets are on sale at both the Seal Beach and Long Beach locations between January 20 and February 21, 2015 at 10:00 PM. All ticket purchases are cash only. The drawing will be held Monday, February 23 and will be streamed live via the Four Brewers webcast. Winners will be directed to which location they can get their pint and they must be redeemed between February 24 and March 5, 2015; you want to drink Pliny fresh. Continue reading

The 2014 Craft Beer Guy Year in Review

As 2014 winds down I faced the question posed to me by a few people; “Will Craft Beer Guy be writing an article about the year?” Initially I thought I would do a Top 10 list and just discuss the Top 10 breweries and brewpubs in the South Bay. I figured it would be easy because there were only 10 craft brewers here, but in the last month so many new locations have opened that we now have 12 if you count Phantom Carriage that has not “officially” opened yet. The South Bay now has the following breweries and brewpubs in its confines; in order of seniority (I think) they are: Red Car Brewery, San Pedro Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, El Segundo Brewing Company, Monkish Brewing Company, The Brewery at Abigaile, Smog City Brewing, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Absolution Brewing Company, King Harbor Brewing Company, Three Weavers Brewing and Phantom Carriage. 2015 should bring us a few more including Hop Saint, Brouwerij West and Port Town Brewing; and those are just the ones that come to mind. There will also be some moves and expansions among those listed above. With that I now present you The 2014 Craft Beer Guy Year in Review.

January 2014

Noble flight

Noble Ale Works Flight

As I look through my articles from January I see that it was a pretty mellow month or the calm before the storm if you prefer. I would have to say my personal highlight of the month was a Sunday afternoon that we spent visiting several of the Orange County craft brewery tasting rooms and brewpubs. The day included stops at Bootlegger’s Brewery, Taps Fish House & Brewery, Noble Ale Works, Tustin Brewing Company and Brewbakers. Each of these stops were first time visits and I would not have a problem recommending any of them. The thing is, in the past year Orange County has opened so many new tasting rooms and brewpubs that it is getting tough to try and keep up with them all; but I will try. Continue reading

American Craft Beer Week 2014, Day 4: Barrel Night at Naja’s Place

Thursday was day four of the 9th Annual American Craft Beer Week and as the weekend approaches the craft beer festivities picked it up a notch or two with Barrel Night at the venerable Naja’s Place, the oldest craft beer bar in the South Bay. It was appropriate that Naja’s was included in the tour of local craft beer establishments if for no other reason than they were the first place we visited when I first started “celebrating” American Craft Beer Week in 2012. Long before American craft beer was a household word, Naja’s Place was known for their wide selection of beers although, as I recall they were predominantly imports. These days their 88 taps is like a who’s who of craft beers and last night was a fine example of that.

Every month or two it seems that Naja’s has some kind of special event and those in the know know that Naja’s does not do anything half way; go big or go home and fear no beer are the mantras attendees come in chanting to themselves. For American Craft Beer Week Naja’s brought out 43 barrel-aged brews from breweries such as Allagash, Almanac, Ballast Point, The Bruery, Deschutes, Drakes, Epic, Firestone Walker, Goose Island, Ironfire, Russian River, Sierra Nevada, Widmer and many others. The beers ran the gamut of styles with sours, stouts, porters, lagers and pretty much anything that could be barrel-aged making an appearance.

While there was a very large number of people in attendance there was more beer than could be consumed in one evening; so if you look at the photo of the Barrel Night tap list and see something you want to try you might want to head over to Naja’s and grab some before they do tap out. Naja’s Place is located at 154 International Boardwalk in Redondo Beach. Continue reading

Pliny Fights Cancer raffle held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing

As I announced last month, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing was holding their 3rd Annual Pliny Fights Cancer fundraiser by selling chances for an opportunity to win a pint of Pliny the Younger, the seasonal triple IPA released by Russian River Brewing every February. Raffle tickets for the chance at one of the 130 pints were drawn Monday afternoon. Beachwood raised $7,000 in 2012 and $9,000 in 2013 with a goal of $10,000 for 2014. Thanks to all of Beachwood’s loyal customers they shattered this goal by raising a little over $14,000 with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the Melanoma Research Foundation.

On Monday morning staff from both the Long Beach and Seal Beach Beachwood BBQ locations along with friends of Tony Carbone, the inspiration behind this fundraiser, select regular patrons and various media types like Craft Beer Guy, Beer Paper LA and New Brew Thursday who streamed the event live, gathered at the Long Beach location for the drawing. For those that were unable to watch the New Brew Thursday podcast, do not fear; the winning raffle ticket numbers have been posted on the Beachwood BBQ website. Winners will also be contacted via telephone and/or email so you might want to check your email today and be sure to answer your phone, even if you do not recognize the calling number. Winners must collect their pint of Pliny between Tuesday February 25 and Thursday March 6. You must bring your raffle ticket with you and redeem it at the location designated. Unfortunately, where you bought the ticket may not be where you will have to go to redeem it.

Congratulations to Gabe, Julian, Brandon, Lena and all the staff from both Beachwood locations for putting on a very successful charity drive and to Russian River for providing a beer that seems to bring out the best in beer people. Cheers! Continue reading

Pliny the Younger release & exploring Santa Rosa & Sebastopol

I heard there was this drought going on up here; I even saw signs along the highway asking me to “Pray for rain!” I am not sure how long it is going to last but it has been raining non-stop since we got here and the residents up here seem to be enjoying it. It has made for an interesting challenge taking external photos with water coming down at every angle. Anyway, Friday morning was the Pliny the Younger release at Russian River Brewing and because of friends I was able to get in with the first group of Pliny fans and I got my 10 ounces of the 2014 Pliny the Younger. I also got to meet some good people and participate in the atmosphere that only an event like day one of a Pliny release can generate. There was a long line of people that wound around two blocks a couple hours before we could come in. It was cold and wet but people seemed very eager to get their taste. I hope they did.

After I had my beer I went back to get Tanya and we went off exploring the area for breweries we had never heard of. Our first stop was Woodfour Brewing Company, a brewpub in Sebastopol. While it was a little difficult to find, it was worth the wet walk. We had a nice flight that ranged from everything from a Berliner Weisse and Sour Farmhouse Ale to a stout and an Imperial Black Ale. They have only been open six months but had a good selection.

A few hundred feet across the way was a microbrewery tasting room, Warped Brewing Company. Warped Brewing was one of the few tasting rooms we have come across; as most breweries are opening brewpubs, apparently for the tourists . . . or zoning. I guess it depends who you ask. It doesn’t take long to figure out these guys like their video games. As far as the beer, the tasting room has only been open four weeks but owner/brewer Noah has been brewing for a while and owns a local restaurant. They currently offer three quality beers; you should check out their Orbital Outrage if you get the chance. Continue reading

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