Regular readers of my site may recall that back in March I visited a STACKED restaurant in Cerritos for a beer tasting put on by Craft Beer Guild Distributing. While we had a very good time exploring the STACKED menu and trying the various craft beers that had been presented, Cerritos is almost 20 miles from my home so the likelihood of my returning just for dinner was not very good. While we were at the Cerritos location I was informed that STACKED has four locations; Cerritos, Thousand Oaks, San Diego and Torrance, which is about five minutes from my home, so I made a mental note to check it out sometime.
As a result of my article the public relations company for STACKED began inviting me to events at their other locations; but as the invites were always to Thousand Oaks or San Diego the distance was just too far to justify the drive. After the last invitation I reminded them that I lived in the South Bay; I was then invited to visit the Torrance location. After a few emails back and forth, I was told to head over to the Torrance location and was given a couple names to ask for when I got there. When we arrived yesterday I found out that the two names were managers at the Cerritos location. This was not a good start.
Tanya and I went outside to decide where we would eat when Ashley Brown, manager for the Torrance STACKED came out and asked what brought us there in the first place. After hearing that there must have been a mix-up somewhere and not wanting to lose the opportunity for some exposure, Brown invited us back in. Continue reading
These photos are of the 2015 Taste of Brews Long Beach which was held Saturday afternoon at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach. The event featured dozens of craft breweries, food trucks, live music, games and great weather. A portion of the proceeds from this event were donated to the Long Beach Marine Institute.
As you know, I attend a lot of beer festivals; and there is no question that some are a lot better than others. For me personally, I like to find the breweries and beers that I have never had before. With the number of beer festivals that are held around here every year, I have come to accept that this goal is going to be more difficult with each successive beer festival I attend. The thing about Taste of Brews Long Beach is that they could have the same beer every year and I would return just because it is a great venue to hold a festival.
Yesterday was my third time attending Taste of Brews and this event just keeps getting better. There were supposed to be between 60 and 70 breweries; I did not count them but there was beer enough for everyone. The food trucks were spread around evenly throughout the park and there were two stages for the live music which featured The Tomcats and RedEye Redemption. And then there was the beer. Continue reading
Monday was day three of the 2015 LA Beer Week (#LABW7) and the celebration of Los Angeles’ craft beer scene continued with numerous events. I decided to head over to the Three Weavers Brewing Company tasting room in Inglewood where the Los Angeles Chapter of the Pink Boots Society held a fundraiser for their scholarship fund in the form of a tap takeover featuring craft beers from 20 breweries.
I have to admit that when I first heard about the event I figured we would attend primarily because it was a fundraiser for the Pink Boots Society and it would be one way I could give back to the industry. When I got there I discovered that there were some pretty outstanding beers featured and a fun group of people to enjoy them with.
The Pink Boots Society was created “to empower women beer professionals to advance their careers in the beer industry through education.” This is done via regional meetings, seminars and their scholarship fund. An example of the types of scholarships they fund would be the two-day Barth-Haas Hops Academy held in Yakima, WA this coming August. The scholarships are open to Pink Boots Society members and to become a member you must be a woman that has a paying job within the beer industry. Continue reading
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
These photos were taken at the 2nd Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival which was held at the South Coast Botanical Garden in Rancho Palos Verdes on Sunday afternoon. This outstanding event was hosted by Toyota and South Bay Equity Lending and sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of El Segundo, Palos Verdes Peninsula, and South Bay Sunrise. 100% of the proceeds from the event will go to support the humanitarian programs of the El Segundo Rotary Club, Palos Verdes Peninsula Rotary Club, and South Bay Rotary Club. Live music was provided by Detour.
While this was the 2nd Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival it was the first one that I attended, so I cannot compare it to last year’s event other than to say that I overheard a couple people that suggested that yesterday’s festival was bigger than their inaugural event. As a first time attendee I have to say that the stars must have been in perfect alignment as it appeared that Sunday’s event went off flawlessly.
I do not know how many people were in attendance, but when divided up between almost 30 breweries, close to 10 wineries and more than 20 restaurants lines were pretty much non-existent. There were not even lines for the restrooms. Continue reading
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
Breweries from Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Diego County and the Inland Empire will be featured as well as a few from Northern California, Vermont, Illinois and even Iceland. Local breweries scheduled to be on-hand include Beach City Brewery, Four Sons Brewing, Barley Forge, Bootlegger’s, Phantom Ales, Left Coast, Coronado, Karl Strauss, Stone Brewing, Mission Brewery, Hangar 24 and Absolution Brewing. Other, not so local breweries featured in the lineup include Firestone Walker, Drake’s, Einstok, Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada and Goose Island. The growing hard cider community will be represented by Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider and Woodchuck Cider. Continue reading
Suppose you had an outstanding collection of craft beer and you wanted to go on the wagon for a year, what would you do? Well, if you are anything like local craft beer aficionado and beer hoarder Chad Hazen you donate a large portion of it for a bottle share to benefit a local charity. As Hazen told me, he decided he wanted to quit drinking beer for a year while he trains for a marathon and his collection of beer was just a little too much temptation. He got together with King Harbor Brewing Company, of which he is one of the investors, and they decided they would have a bottle share benefiting Richstone Family Center which is located in Hawthorne. The Richstone Family Center is dedicated to preventing and treating child abuse and holding the event just before Christmas just seemed right to Hazen and King Harbor Brewing.
This bottle share was a little different than any bottle share I have attended previously in that attendees did not bring any bottles; the beers were all donated by Hazen from his personal stash; and what a stash it was. The published beer list would make any bottle shop proud: Continue reading
When Alpine Village held their first Alpine Kraft Bierfest in the big tent back in 2012 they had almost as many beers as they did attendees. I suspect it had something to do with the timing in that it was held the week before Oktoberfest, so some people may have just thought the ads were for Oktoberfest rather than the American craft beer event it was intended to be.
In 2013, the 2nd Annual Alpine Kraft Bierfest was moved into the Alpine Inn, more breweries and beers were added, a little more advertising was done and the attendance level more than doubled.
For 2014 it was decided that the event would stay inside the Alpine Inn, but the event would be held over the course of two sessions; one on Friday evening with the second session being held Saturday afternoon. To avoid the possibility of the best brews running out during the first session, Alpine’s event coordinators decided to split up the beers by day and put up a schedule of appearance for the brews so people could choose which day would have the most beers that they wanted to try. It seemed to work pretty well. Continue reading
When it comes to the Alpine Kraft Bierfest I treat it almost like it is my own. I have watched this event evolve from the first one in 2012 that had almost as many beers as attendees, to last year’s amazing event that had closer to 500 attendees. Since Kraft Bierfest has become quite popular it was decided to split the event up into two sessions, over the course of two days.
While some past beer festivals have been less than successful with having multiple sessions, Alpine Village has something going for it that most beer festival promoters do not have; the ability to cellar beers. Last year there were discussions about having two sessions, but the real possibility of running out of “all the good beers” caused them to re-think the idea and have just one session. This year, more planning has been made to ensure both sessions have plenty of access to really good beer. For example, Alpine Kraft Bierfest will feature eight beers from Allagash; Fluxus 2014, Golden Brett, Interlude, James Bean, Red Howe’s, Saison Rye, Victor and Victoria. Four of them will be available at the first session on Friday and the other four will be at the second session on Saturday. And it is not just Allagash; Anderson Valley will have three split up over two days, Figueroa Mountain will have four, Stone will have eight and The Bruery will have five split between Friday and Saturday! The published beer list is only a partial list but I think it proves what I say when I mention that Alpine Inn at the Alpine Village is one of the best kept secrets when it comes to craft beer. You never know what they are going to pull out of the cellar. Continue reading