These photos were taken Tuesday evening at Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room in Torrance as they continued their series of guest brewer nights; this time featuring Graham Strong, an assistant brewer at Brouwerij West in San Pedro.
While the previous guest brewer nights I have attended brewed different versions of IPAs, last night we brewed Brouwerij West’s Saison. While IPAs may be “all about the hops”, Brouwerij West’s Saison is more about the grain bill and the yeast. A definite example of brewers make the wort, yeast makes the beer.
While there may have been a few people that were at Zymurgy for the first time, it seemed that almost everyone was a homebrewer with some experience; but that did not stop anyone from wanting to participate in the process, from adding the grain to stirring or adding the hops. In the dead time we were able to sample a finished example of the Brouwerij West Saison as well as their new IPA, Picnic Lightning. Continue reading
Recently there have been a couple articles circulating around social media claiming to list all of the South Bay breweries; one that went around yesterday missed four or five of them, depending on whether or not a tasting room was required. As the Craft Beer Guy I have been fortunate to have this craft beer boom explode all around my home; I also feel obligated to provide an accurate list of all the breweries currently brewing in the South Bay as well as the next two scheduled to open.
In order to not show favoritism, and to give credit where credit is due, I will list all the South Bay breweries by the date they opened. As I have visited each brewery, I will provide a link to each so you can look at my articles to determine if you want to visit them. The photos are in order as well. Continue reading
On Saturday afternoon, a small contingency of local craft beer writers, photographers and a brewer met at Brouwerij West in San Pedro for a personal tour given by Brouwerij West President and Chief Financial Officer, Dave Holop and Founder and Brewmaster, Brian Mercer, as well as their head brewer, Jeremy Czuleger.
As this was the first visit to Brouwerij West for several of the attendees, the tour included a brief history of Brouwerij West and how each of the principles became involved in craft beer as well as some history behind the warehouse that was built during World War II but did not get a whole lot of use because the war ended shortly after construction of the building was completed. Continue reading
These photos are from the Dog Adoption Sunday event held at Brouwerij West this past Sunday afternoon. The Los Angeles Animal Services and ARF Harbor Shelter brought six dogs to the Brouwerij West tasting room for adoption; I know at least two of them found new homes that day. I have to say, I had an opportunity to meet most (if not all) of them, and they were really very well-behaved dogs. I kept thinking they must have brought the cream of the crop.
In addition to the adoptable dogs, many others brought their pups to the obviously dog friendly tasting room and they all seemed to enjoy the company of the others. ARF Harbor Shelter is looking for homes for their residents and I am sure volunteers are always welcome.
I also had a personal first, and that was my first time having chorizo. Apparently I had it from one of the best, The Chori Man; a fourth generation chorizo artisan from San Pedro. I definitely recommend stopping by if you see his food tent set up anywhere. Cheers! Continue reading
On Saturday, San Pedro’s latest production brewery opened their doors to the general public as Brouwerij West held their grand opening. To say it was well attended would be on the same level as suggesting beer is damp. When I was at Brouwerij West on Friday evening for the Founders’ Club pre-opening party I was speaking with the ever humble co-owner and head brewer, Brian Mercer, and he seemed to have concerns on whether people would show up the next day or not. When their event coordinator asked me how many people I thought would show up, I guessed that they would probably hit 1,000 with ease. The event began at noon, when I arrived a little after 3:00 I immediately knew I had severely underestimated the turnout. I had failed to take into consideration how supportive San Pedro residents are to their local businesses. I would be willing to bet they had at least 2,000 people show up throughout the course of the day.
Update: On Sunday evening Brian Mercer texted me to say that they actually had 4,500 people attend their event with a maximum of 1,500 at any point in the day. I don’t know who else around here could handle a day like that with virtually no issues other than maybe running out of a couple beers. They are definitely to be congratulated.
While most craft beer tasting rooms could not handle a group of that size, Brouwerij West has a couple advantages over the others. Their tasting room is huge and they have a large area outside that not only took care of the overflow of people, but it also held four food trucks, an auxiliary pouring station and a stage for the live entertainment. If there is any brewery around here that is built for a crowd as large as they had Saturday, Brouwerij West is the place. Continue reading
These photos are from the Founders’ Club party that was held at the Brouwerij West tasting room on Friday evening. The Founders’ Club is a yearlong membership for supporters of Brouwerij West, and one of the many perks is invitations to special events at the brewery; as their Grand Opening is Saturday, this pre-opening party was the first event for Founders’ members.
We were treated to samples of their latest releases, Buckwheat Sour and Mør Mør, as well as the seven other brews they had on tap including Sour Orange Wit, Super Orange, Bitter Blonde, Dog Ate My Homework, My First Rodeo, Tripel and Spelt Saison. Vella Pizza was also on hand providing their delicious pizza slices. There were a few hundred supporters in attendance and everyone seemed to have a great time.
The Founders’ Club is $175.00 for a year-long membership and benefits include six Brouwerij West bottle releases, 10% off Brouwerij West beer and merchandise, a growler and fill, a limited edition Founders’ Club t-shirt and glass, and other perks like VIP access to special events as well as events just for Founders’ members. Continue reading
I guess it was at The Festival 2014 put on by the Shelton Brothers back in November of 2014 that many learned that Brouwerij West was planning on opening in the warehouse next to CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles. As people waited in line to enter The Festival, it would have been tough to not see the notice painted on the side of Warehouse No. 9 declaring that Brouwerij West was planning on opening in the spring of 2015. Of course, anyone that has been paying attention has probably noticed that the actual opening of a brewery is rarely constant with the dreams and desires of the brewery owners. But good things come to those that wait and patience is a virtue; Brouwerij West will have their Grand Opening on Saturday, February 27, 2016 from 12:00-9:00 PM!
Brouwerij West’s owners/founders Brian Mercer and Dave Holop were kind enough to allow me to photograph the building of their brewery so these photos begin back in March of 2015 when it consisted of a huge room with an old leaky roof. As time went on I was able to be there when their brewhouse was being assembled, during one of their first brews, and ending with the Hoppy Valentine’s Dinner that was held this past weekend.
Saturday’s Grand Opening will feature brewery tours, a beer garden, live music and food trucks. The live music begins at 5:00 PM featuring three local San Pedro bands; Bombon, Crow Baby and Underground Railroad to Candyland. After experiencing their Valentine’s dinner I can say with no reservation that this is going to be a fun event; you are going to want to come out to San Pedro if you can. Continue reading
On Saturday evening we attended the Hoppy Valentine’s Dinner at Brouwerij West. The dinner was presented by Primal Alchemy Catering and featured the work of Chef Paul Buchanan. Chef Paul specializes in preparing customized menus that are farm-to-table, using locally sourced, sustainable and organic ingredients. A good number of the attendees were obviously fans of Chef Paul as many indicated that they had been to prior events he has put on. If you are a foodie, you will appreciate the menu:
For appetizers we had Rose Petal Ravioli w’ Creamy Leek & Bacon Filling (outstanding), Octopus Tartare on a wonton chip with wasabi, and Bruleed Strawberries with Balsamic Syrup & Goat Cheese. The main course had a mix of various vegetables and pasta along with steelhead trout on Parmesan Polenta and Juniper Crusted Pan Seared Duck on a Bed of Faro with Dried Cherry Chutney. For dessert there was Mason Jar Dark Chocolate Cakes with Farmer’s Market Berry Compote & Chantilly Cream. It was an interesting meal and everyone seemed to really enjoy it.
Of course, I was there for the beer which was probably not the case for many of the attendees but the Brouwerij West classic Belgian style ales definitely made some converts. I spoke to more than one person that said they came for the food, but they would definitely be back for the beer. Continue reading
Primal Alchemy Catering is owned and operated by Chef Paul Buchanan who specializes in preparing customized menus that are truly farm-to-table, using locally sourced and organic ingredients. Chef Paul has been doing this for more than 10 years and after looking at some of the menu options suggested on their website, this should be an amazing meal.
Of course, when it comes to beer dinners the food is only half the fun; you have to have good beer to go along with it. I know many of you have tried Brouwerij West’s brews from when they were contract brewing, but forget whatever you recall from before because even if some of the beers retained their names, like Mør Mør, My First Rodeo or Dog Ate My Homework, the beers are not really the same due to changes in the water, brewing equipment, ingredients and the love and attention that they are able to put into every batch now that they are brewing on their own system. I have had an opportunity to try several brews from the new brewhouse and they are delicious. I am really looking forward to trying more and this Valentine’s Dinner will be the perfect time. Continue reading
Sometimes it is hard to remember that just a few years ago you could count the production breweries and brewpubs in the South Bay on one hand; now you need both of your hands and a foot to count them all and new locations are being constructed as you read this. A common question that has been debated frequently over the past couple of years is that of over saturation.
As a craft beer consumer, over saturation never really comes into play for me although I can understand how a brewery owner might not feel the same way. Of course, I might not feel the same way if all of our breweries were merely churning out the same brews and styles as the next guy, but the reality is that even though we have a dozen tasting rooms and brewpubs to visit in the general vicinity each is unique in their own way. I feel that as long as this trend continues the only problem the consumer will have is deciding which brewery to patronize on any particular day.
On Wednesday afternoon I headed over to the Port of Los Angeles and the future home of Brouwerij (pronounced: brewery) West. Those of you that were fortunate enough to attend The Festival 2014 at CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles back in November you probably remember the big Warehouse No. 9 that was located across the way from the warehouse that The Festival was held. This will be the new home for Brouwerij West. Continue reading