The 2nd Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival is hosted by Toyota and South Bay Equity Lending and sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of El Segundo, Palos Verdes Peninsula, and South Bay Sunrise. Proceeds from this event will go to support the humanitarian programs of the El Segundo Rotary Club, Palos Verdes Peninsula Rotary Club, and South Bay Rotary Club. The Rotary Club supports community programs focused on health and nutrition, high school Interact and leadership, education and literacy, vocational training, and community space restoration and renovation. They also support international projects such as worldwide eradication of polio, clean water projects, and wheelchair purchases and distribution. Continue reading
These photos are from the inaugural L.A. Local Craft Beer & Artisanal Food Fest that was held Saturday afternoon at the Alpine Village Restaurant in Alpine Village located in Torrance. As hinted by the name, this event featured craft beer brewed in Los Angeles County and artisanal food vendors from the Los Angeles area. I would venture to say that there were close to 500 attendees which far exceeded the expectations of Alpine Village, but for the most part things went smoothly, all things considered.
The last update that I had received suggested that there would be 31 craft breweries represented but by the time the map/program was printed only 29 were listed and not all of them were available. To say that there was some confusion would be putting it mildly. I am not going to pretend to know what arrangements were made, but it was my understanding that Alpine Village had purchased the beers rather than relying on donations from the breweries. The end result was that some of the breweries sent representatives to be on-hand to pour and some did not. Some of the beers did not even make it onto the floor until the event was half over. The breweries that I saw, or at least heard from reputable sources were there, included California 101 Cider House, Absolution Brewing, Eagle Rock Brewing, Strand Brewing, Phantom Carriage, Santa Monica Brew Works, Timeless Pints, Smog City, Wolf Creek, Hand-Brewed, Enegren, Bravery Brewing, Boomtown Brewing, Three Weavers, Solarc Brewing, Cosmic Ales, The Dudes’, King Harbor Brewing, Golden Road, Monkish, Ohana, San Pedro Brewing Company and Congregation Ale House. I am not saying others were not there, I just never spotted them. On a personal level, it was good to see Enegren Brewing represented as I have not visited them in well over two years and it was nice to finally meet the guys from Hand-Brewed and having the opportunity to try one of their brews (Deez Nuts Brown Ale). Continue reading
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.
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
Thursday October 2, San Pedro Brewing Company celebrated 15 years of doing business in San Pedro. Originally opened in San Pedro in 1999, the brewpub was essentially a bar and sandwich shop when James Brown initially opened up shop; two years later, they started brewing. Since then they, fondly know by locals as Brewco, have been through a couple brewers, with the last one deciding he would rather be an attorney. As luck would have it, current head brewer Jason Welke happened to come in, looked around and said he would like to become an apprentice. Eight years later, Welke has accumulated more than 40 medals at local county fairs, commercial beer competitions and international beer festivals. San Pedro Brewing Company was even named one of LA’s Top Five Craft Beer Bars by the Brew Dogs when they came to LA a couple months ago.
San Pedro Brewing Company, with Port Town Brewing will be opening a 10,000 square foot facility right around the corner from their existing brewpub. I cannot wait to see what Welke can do when he is given enough space to spread his brewing wings.
San Pedro Brewing Company is located at 331 W. 6th Street in San Pedro and is open seven days a week. They usually have seven of their own beers on tap with a few taps reserved for guest beers. They also have a nice food menu with their bruschetta being a favorite in this household. Congratulations to San Pedro Brewing Company and here is to another 15 years. Cheers! Continue reading
On Saturday afternoon, about 3,000 people gathered at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach to sample beers brewed by more than 50 different breweries while enjoying the great weather, live music and foods provided by local restaurants Stonefire Grill, Slater’s 50/50 and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and several food trucks. A portion of the proceeds from this year’s Taste of Brews went to the Long Beach Marine Institute and the 1st Marine Division out of Camp Pendleton.
This was my second time attending Taste of Brews and it was definitely larger than last year’s event with probably 25% more breweries and 50% more attendees. While there more people, there were more breweries with several last minute additions. The lines for some breweries were noticeably longer for some than others, but no one seemed to mind and the beer poured quickly. In fact, a few breweries tapped out within a couple hours; presumably because more tickets were sold than anticipated. Some of the breweries, like Firestone Walker, were well prepared with plenty of brews but as the event drew to a close, even they had poured the last of their brews before the event officially ended. Continue reading
These photos were taken Friday night at the 4th Annual Brew at the LA Zoo, a fundraiser for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. The craft beer festival featured close to 40 different craft and microbreweries from all over California; including Port Town Brewing, San Pedro Brewing Company, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Lagunitas, Firestone Walker and Heretic Brewing Company. While the lines were a little longer that what I normally notice at local craft beer festivals, no one seemed to mind as there were smiles everywhere and lots of laughing.
In addition to the wide variety of craft beers there was live music provided by Indian School, the Spazmatics, and Jug or Nots as well as DJ Johnny Hawkes. Most of the zoo was closed off to the public but the 4,000 plus attendees were able to visit zoo exhibits like Elephants of Asia, Campo Gorilla Reserve, LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates and Reptiles) and the new Rainforest of the Americas. The gorillas seemed to be the biggest hams while I got the impression the other animals would have been happy to just go to sleep.
Last year there were 23 breweries and this year there were almost 40, so that is a pretty big leap. I was talking to L.A. Zoo Director John Lewis and he informed me that every year this event seems to get bigger and bigger and the LA Zoo really appreciates the support from the community. As this event has sold out for at least the last two years you must keep in the loop of craft beer events if you want an opportunity to go next year. I will try to find out with enough lead time to alert you next year so you can get tickets if you have not had the opportunity to attend a Brew at the LA Zoo yet. Continue reading
There is a good reason why that event stands out and that is because it had everything going for it. They had over 40 craft breweries, some wine vendors, live music, good food, fun people and it was at the beach! Held at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach, across the channel from the Queen Mary it really was the most perfect location for any festival of any type that I can recall attending. Beautiful weather with cooling ocean breezes and a wide selection of American craft beer; what more could one ask for? How about more beer and a discount?
On August 23, 2014, Taste of Brews returns to Lighthouse Park for the 4th Annual Taste of Brews Long Beach. If you thought 40 craft breweries was good, you are going to love it this year with about 50 craft breweries participating. When I looked through the list of participating breweries compared to last year I noticed that many perennial favorites such as Stone Brewing Company, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing Lagunitas, Strand Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing will be returning; but we will also be joined by such powerhouses as Ballast Point, Pizza Port, Clownshoes and Coronado Brewing along with some of Southern California’s newest craft breweries like Absolution Brewing Company and Venice Duck Brewery.
In addition to all the great beer and what promises to be another beautiful day for the beach there will be live music and food trucks including Urban Pie, Viking Truck, Porko Rico, Dogzilla, Slammin’ Sliders and Bacon Mania. Local restaurants Stonefire Grill, Slater’s 50/50 and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company will be providing food samples for attendees to enjoy. Pricing currently starts at $32.50 for the 3-hour session (1pm to 4pm) and $42.50 for the 4-hour session (noon to 4pm) which includes unlimited beer tasters, drinking water, food samples (while available), access to food trucks and live entertainment. A limited number of designated driver tickets will be available at the door for $20.00. As should be expected, all attendees must be 21 or older. Now, because you have read this far you get a special deal; how about $7.00 off each ticket Continue reading
Monday May 12 was day one of the 9th Annual American Craft Beer Week, and it is the third consecutive year that I have covered the event. In 2012 I participated by trying to find as many American craft beer locations as possible in the South Bay. In 2013 I set out to visit as many Great American Beer Festival gold medal award winning breweries as possible. Since there has been such an explosion of growth in the craft beer sector around here, I decided that this year will be devoted to the local craft breweries, brewpubs and gastropubs.
I started off by visiting San Pedro Brewing Company (SPBC), a brewpub that has been around for close to 15 years. They have won more than 40 medals at local county fairs, commercial beer competitions and international beer festivals. They have not entered competitions such as the Great American Beer Festival because they have a small brewing system and do not currently have the capacity to brew enough beers to handle the increased demand winning a competition like that would bring. That may soon change though as they are in the process of dealing with the paperwork to open a new location around the corner which will be called Port Town Brewing. SPBC Head Brewer Jason Welke will likely do the brewing for SPBC and Port Town with the SPBC system being used for experimental batches. The hope is to have Port Town Brewing open by next American Craft Beer Week. For those that like bourbon barrel aged brews, Wednesday evening at 6:30 SPBC will have their 2nd Bourbon Barrel Aged Beer Night featuring their Blitzen Belgian Winter Ale and Sunken City Imperial Stout. I went to their first barrel aged event in February and they had some delicious brews. If you are looking for something to do, you really cannot miss by attending this event. San Pedro Brewing Company is located at 331 W. 6th Street in San Pedro and is open seven days a week. Continue reading
Wednesday evening, San Pedro brewpub San Pedro Brewing Company (SPBC) held their first Bourbon Barrel Aged Beer Night featuring their Blitzen Belgian Winter Ale and Sunken City Imperial Stout. Both brews are delicious on their own merits, but it is pretty amazing the difference what a few weeks in a bourbon barrel will do. I have to admit, I came because I knew the Sunken City was going to be excellent but I was completely blown away with what a little barrel aging did to the Blitzen. It was like drinking the best candy bar ever made. Hosted by San Pedro Brewing Company’s manager Greg Arn and brewer Jason Welke, visitors had an opportunity to try these first time attempts by SPBC at barrel aging and from the comments I overheard, no one left disappointed.
The primary roadblock many brewpubs run into when it comes to experimenting with new recipes and styles is space, and SPBC is no different in that regards, but Welke still finds the time and space to turn out some great brews and lots of awards for them. The rumor about town is that San Pedro Brewing may be obtaining a 10,000 square foot facility right around the corner from their existing brewpub. We should know what is happening with that within the next few months; personally, I cannot wait to see what Welke can do when he is given enough space to spread his brewing wings.
San Pedro Brewing Company is located at 331 W. 6th Street in San Pedro and is open seven days a week. They consistently have six of their own beers on tap with a few taps reserved for guest beers. They also have a nice food menu with their bruschetta being a house favorite. I hope to see you there sometime. Cheers! Continue reading
Sunday, day 11 of LA Beer Week (LABW5) and congratulations to those of you that survived. While I did not attend the event at Union Station a week ago, I cannot imagine trying to do it at the end of an 11 day week. I started the day by heading over to King Harbor Brewing Company where I got the opportunity to meet their head brewer as he christened the location by brewing a small batch saison. A little later in the day I was informed that Smog City Brewing was hosting a panel, School of BJ’s Brewer Panel Discussion featuring Jonathan Porter of Smog City, Tyler King of The Bruery, David Griffiths of Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie, Evan Price of Noble Ale Works and Owen Williams of Ritual Brewing Company. It turns out that the common denominator between the five of them is that they all brewed at BJ’s; who would have guessed? We decided to begin by going to Monkish Brewing to try their LABW5 entry, End of Summer, a Belgian Honey Ale. We then headed around the corner to Smog City.
As it turned out the event was not really supposed to be public as Beer Paper LA was using the opportunity to interview the brewers for an upcoming issue and they were concerned I would scoop them; so I bailed. You should be able to read about it and see any photos in their upcoming issue.
It really was a fun week and I had a great time. I would like to extend special thanks to The Brewery at Abigaile, Naja’s Place, Rock & Brews PCH, Monkish Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, San Pedro Brewing Company, Alpine Village and El Segundo Brewing Company for their hospitality and generosity over the past week. It was truly appreciated. Cheers! Continue reading