One of the greatest challenges I face in promoting the local craft beer scene is finding time to go to as many events as possible. On Saturday I started off with Laughs by Volume which meant I was going to be late for Smog City Brewing Company’s 2016 Infinite Wishes bottle release; but better late than never, right?
It was early evening by the time I arrived at Smog City and it was pretty obvious people were having a great time, no matter what brew they were drinking.
Smog City had done a pre-sale of bottles of the barrel-aged goodness, so people that had ordered online were able to pick up their bottles. The rest of us were able to enjoy the 2015 and 2016 versions of Infinite Wishes on tap, as well as The Nothing; Infinite Wishes is the barrel-aged version of The Nothing. Whatever bottles were not sold online were made available Sunday, but if you were not at Smog City on Sunday, I am sure they are all gone by now. Continue reading
These photos were taken Sunday afternoon at the El Segundo Rock & Brews Garden on Main 5th Annual Local Craft Beer Fest. The family and pet friendly event featured beers by 16 breweries, from Valencia to Redlands and all over the South Bay area. Included in the price of admission, attendees were treated to a nice barbecue, a raffle, face painting, and games for people of all ages.
A few of the breweries in attendance included Absolution Brewing, Strand, El Segundo, Three Weavers, Phantom Carriage and Barley Forge. There was also a first time attendee for any festival I have attended, Reel Brewery. Reel Brewery is currently contract brewing but hope to open a tasting room in 2016 in Van Nuys, around the corner from MacLeod’s. I noticed that Santa Monica Brew Works was converting people with their PCH – Pale Chocolate Heaven. I tried Reel Brewery’s Hollywood Pilsner which was their take on Firestone’s Pivo Pils with their heavy dry-hopping; it was interesting enough that I look forward to visiting their tasting room when it does open. Continue reading
The Dia de los Muertos weekend continued Sunday afternoon when Smog City Brewing celebrated the Day of the Dead at their tasting room with free calavera face painting, a community altar for anyone wanting to honor dead friends or relatives, and a special beer for the holiday, Boney Knuckle Mexican Chocolate Porter on Nitro.
Now I have to admit, until yesterday I do not recall hearing the word “calavera” so I had to Google it for us. A calavera is a representation of a human skull; for Dia de los Muertos this is usually a candy or clay decoration. So, when you see these cool Halloween costumes with the skeleton faces, now you know it is actually a calavera.
Anyway, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are a few thousand more words. Cheers! Continue reading
As I am sure everyone is aware of by now, October 21, 2015 was “Back to the Future Day.” The reason being, in “Back to the Future Part II,” Marty McFly travels to October 21, 2015 to save his future children. To be honest, I had to Google that part because I never saw any of the Back to the Future trilogy beyond the original; and I only saw that once, 30+ years ago.
While I may not be enough of a geek to know much about Back to the Future beyond Doc Brown, Marty McFly, flux capacitors, hooverboards and DeLorean, the cast and crew of Smog City Brewing are geek central. They used October 21 to not only celebrate Back to the Future but they did it in a big way by releasing their first ever triple IPA, 1.21 Gigawatts Triple IPA.
In addition to 1.21 Gigawatts Triple IPA, they also released their Hooverboards Don’t Run On Wet Hops, a pale ale done with hops they grew outside; and Run For It Marty!, a Belgian Dubbel. For entertainment and something to do while standing in line, they played the movie along the wall. People that came in costume got a discount on their beer and a chance to win prizes.
If I traveled into the future and ended up at Smog City yesterday, I doubt I would have left. Cheers! Continue reading
These photos are from the 2015 Pacific Brewers Cup homebrew competition which was held Saturday afternoon at Four Points by Sheraton at LAX. The event was hosted by Strand Brewers Club, Long Beach Homebrewers, and Pacific Gravity. There were 458 entries consisting of beer, mead and ciders.
While these photos were all taken Saturday, the fact of the matter is that with 458 entries, the judging portion actually started two weeks ago when members of the Strand Brewers Club had to sort the 1300 plus bottles into categories and get all the information entered in the competitions database. I helped out on the sorting by scanning in the entries with their assigned competition number; this gave me an opportunity to see where the entries came from. I have to admit, I was pretty surprised at how far and wide they came from; with several entries coming from out of state. Because of the substantial number of entries, there were a couple judging sessions done ahead of time.
As you might think, it is quite the task to judge 458 beers, mead and ciders and it truly takes a lot of work by an organized team to pull that off. The team yesterday consisted of 70 judges and 42 stewards. I met one of the judges yesterday that came all the way from Chandler, Arizona “for the love of beer” as opposed to trying to escape Chandler’s 100+ weather. While the judges were truly put to the test, I doubt that the event could have moved as smoothly as it did without the efforts of the stewards. Head Steward Barbara Bovee is to be congratulated for keeping things as organized as they were. Continue reading
This will be my fourth time attending BAM Fest and all I can say is that if you enjoy craft beer, live in the Los Angeles area and have never attended BAM Fest, you are doing yourself a disservice. From the first time I attended in 2012 I have been nothing but impressed; and the event just seems to get bigger and better every year and 2015 appears to be no exception.
These photos were taken at the September 2015 Business & Beer which was held at Smog City Brewing Company on Thursday evening. There was a pretty decent turnout considering how hot it has been around here lately; plus Back-to-School Nights have been going on, so that might have influenced the overall turnout. Those that attended had a great time and were able to enjoy a couple new Smog City Brewing brews, including Cuddlebug and California Love.
The next meeting of Business & Beer will be held October 8, 2015 at El Segundo Brewing Company from 6:00-8:00 PM. This is Business & Beer’s first return to El Segundo Brewing Company since they expanded their tasting room, so if you have not been there lately prepare to be surprised. It is probably three or four times bigger than the last time we were there. Please check the Business & Beer website or their Facebook page for more information. 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
These photos are from the South Bay Tap Takeover that was held Thursday evening at Flights Beer Bar in Hawthorne. To say that this event was a success would be an understatement; some might suggest that it was too successful as there were times that the staff seemed overwhelmed with all the customers. The event officially began at 4:00 PM, but when I arrived at 3:30 people had already arrived and by 4:30 it was pretty well packed; and it stayed that way until about 11:30.
There were some delays in getting the beer served in the beginning because there were 40 new taps with beers that had never been poured there and many people were ordering flights. Flights brought in some additional help and eventually the beers were learned and things moved faster. The food situation was pretty much a no-win situation because while Flights could install a new walk-in to store beer, there was no way to increase the size of the kitchen. The food took a little longer to get out to us, but it was the same high quality that we have come to expect.
I do not know how many people showed up last night but I do know that we had 200 t-shirts to give away and I would venture to guess that at least as many people did not get shirts as those that did, so I don’t think estimating a turnout of at least 400 people would not be a stretch. Continue reading
First off, the beer. When I was approached about the idea of having a “Craft Beer Guy” party I immediately knew that I wanted to showcase the South Bay’s breweries. I also knew that 40 new kegs was quite an order so I was pleasantly surprised when Flights owner Jerry Jamgotchian didn’t blink an eye and said that 40 kegs was not a problem. A couple people asked me, “But where is he going to keep all that beer?” It was a great question that only had one solution; he was going to need a bigger cold box; so that is what he did. He had a second, bigger cold box added.
A couple weeks ago someone suggested maybe having a few shirts made and raffle them off; buy a beer, get a ticket. I brought it to Jerry for some input and his response was, “How about we make hundreds and give them to everybody?” Well, that is what he did; there will be free t-shirts for the first couple hundred people that ask for one (as supplies/sizes last). Continue reading