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Strand Brewers Club

Dia de los Muertos Party with Strand Brewers Club

These photos are from the Dia de Los Muertos party Friday night that was hosted by Chris and Alexis Remensperger and co-hosted by the Strand Brewers Club. For those of you unfamiliar with Dia de los Muertos, it is Spanish for Day of the Dead and is a three day festival celebrated throughout Mexico to remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey. Since the Strand Brewers recently lost one of their own in August, this year Dia de los Muertos took on special significance for many in attendance.

Dia de los Muertos is celebrated from October 31 through November 2, so the party included costumes for those so inclined (as you will see by the photos, many went all out). As it is a predominantly Mexican holiday, it only made sense that a taco cart would be made available serving delicious pollo, carne and al pastor tacos with all the fixings. For the kids, and some adults, a big screen was set up in the backyard showing The Nightmare Before Christmas. And there was beer, lots and lots of homebrewed beer along with a few commercial varieties.

As I mentioned before, the South Bay’s craft beer community is a lot like family at times and this was really shown last night when one looked around and saw just how many families are involved with the Strand Brewers. And while they may have lost Jeff in August, judging by the number of babies and youngsters at the party, the Strand Brewers has a build in membership that should last for decades. Cheers! Continue reading

Photos from the 2015 Pacific Brewers Cup

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

In memory of Jeff Sanders

On Monday morning, members of the South Bay’s craft beer community were shocked to hear of the loss of one of their own, Jeff Sanders. Jeff was a long time (if not lifetime) resident of the South Bay that loved animals, friends and craft beer. Jeff was a member of the Strand Brewers Club and as such, many members of the club joined his other friends for a memorial at Phantom Carriage on Tuesday evening.

I must admit that I was not really sure what I was going to write to accompany these photos and over the past 24 hours many ideas have wandered through my head; death, friendship and depression being the original topics that came to mind. Soon after arriving at Phantom Carriage last night, I was pretty sure that I was going to have to let the photos do most of the talking.

I cannot speak for where you live, but the South Bay’s craft beer community is just that, a tight-knit community. Last night, the community seemed a lot more like family. I knew Jeff, but it is not like we hung out together. I probably first met him at a Strand Brewers Club meeting, but I saw him at many events and when I look at the photos that I captured him in, he always seemed to be smiling and having a good time. It was very obvious that many of those attending last night’s gathering knew him a lot better than I and that they all felt they had lost a very good friend. Continue reading

Photos from Strand Brewers Monster Brew at Monkish Brewing

These photos were taken at a Monster Brew put on by the Strand Brewers Club and hosted by Monkish Brewing Company. While this was a Strand Brewers Club event, home brewers from Crude Brew Crew, Pacific Gravity, Maltose Falcons and Long Beach Homebrewers were also in attendance.

For those unfamiliar with a “monster brew”, typically, a brewery will create wort then sell batches of it to home brewers who will take it home and add their own preferred yeast and additional malts, extracts, hops or whatever they desire. Since Monkish Brewing does do Belgian-style brews I was not surprised to hear that Belgian-style pale ales were a popular goal for many.

The grain bill consisted of:

78% Domestic 2-Row Malt
12% Flaked Oats
5% Vienna Malt
4% Acid Malt

The goal was a 1.051 OG wort at 25 IBUs. I did not hear how close they were, but I suspect it was very close if not dead on.

As you can see by the photos, they had a very large turnout; I left before they finished doling out the wort so I am not sure if they had extra or not. I have seen times that gallons had to be dumped because it wasn’t all sold. The point is, if you are just getting into home brewing you should watch out for these events. Getting the wort right is the toughest part, so if you can get 5-10 gallons done professionally you have a great start to a good homebrewed beer. If you are a homebrewer and haven’t joined one yet, seek out a homebrew club in your area, you will find a community of people with a willingness to help you be the best you can be as a home brewer. Cheers! Continue reading

Photos from the 2nd Annual Bite at the Beach

These photos are from the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce’s 2nd Annual Bite at the Beach which was held Saturday at the MBS Media Campus in Manhattan Beach. The event was a fundraiser benefiting the StubHub Center Foundation and the LA Galaxy Foundation and featured 23 craft breweries and one winery paired with foods from 24 restaurants. Most of the breweries brought two different beers and the restaurants did likewise.

The breweries represented included Wolf Creek, Eagle Rock, MacLeod Ale, Saint Archer, The Dudes’, Stumblefoot, Mission, Lagunitas, Firestone Walker, Coronado, Aftershock, ABK Beer, El Segundo Brewing, Strand Brewing, Sapporo, Samuel Adams, Traveler Beer Company, Port Town Brewing, San Pedro Brewing, Bootlegger’s, King Harbor, Absolution Brewing, Phantom Carriage and Ballast Point. Strand Brewers Club was also in attendance with Pacific Gravity.

With foods coming from places such as Pitfire Pizza, Simmzy’s, Tin Roof Bistro, Little Sister, Sushi Akatora, Manhattan Beach Creamery, Cake Bakeshop, Rubio’s and Silvio’s there was literally everything from pizza to sushi, ceviche to beef skewers and bread pudding to ice cream sandwiches. There really was something for every palate; if you left hungry that was a personal decision. Music was provided by Vox DJs and The Lucky Ones. Continue reading

Craft Beer Guy Contest Winners at El Segundo Brewing

Back in December, El Segundo Brewing Company held their Crude, Cocoa and Donuts Christmas Party along with their Second Annual Ugly Sweater Contest; I happened to take third place, winning a tour and tasting for four. I knew I wanted to use the prize to help promote El Segundo Brewing Company; I just wasn’t sure how I would do it. Ideally, I would be able to bring four people there as first time visitors.

In January Beachwood BBQ & Brewing announced that they were going to hold their 4th Annual Pliny Fights Cancer Charity Raffle and I decided that I would add some incentive for my followers to buy a ticket. All you had to do was take a photo of your ticket(s) and then tag Craft Beer Guy on Facebook or Instagram. Two winners would be chosen and each could bring a guest. On the day that Beachwood held their raffle I utilized an online number randomizer and picked the winners to my contest. The winners were Jessica Casey of Long Beach Hopheads and Dan Parker, a homebrewer and member of the Strand Brewers Club.

These photos are of the tasting and tour that we were given last night by El Segundo Brewing Company taproom manager, Pete Crowner. As luck would have it, Jessica and her husband, while somewhat familiar with El Segundo’s beer, had never visited the tasting room before. Dan had been there once before, briefly, so I was pleased that I was able to introduce new faces to the tasting room. Continue reading

Home Made Brew & Food Festival Photos

On Sunday afternoon I headed to the Port of Los Angeles for the Home Made Brew & Food Festival held to commemorate the second anniversary of Crafted, Southern California’s largest permanent market for handmade goods. As part of the anniversary celebration several homebrew clubs joined in to provide a wide selection of home brews provided by their members. In addition to the beer there were food trucks and live music. If one wanted to get out of the sun for a while, the historic Navy warehouse No. 10 was open with dozens of vendors inside providing everything from beads and jams to deep sea diving equipment (for decoration only).

The homebrew clubs that participated included The Crude Brew Crew, Long Beach Homebrewers, Yeastside Brewers, Maltose Falcons, F.E.R.M. Club and Strand Brewers Club. Live music was provided by The Gumbo Brothers. I got there a little late but I understand there was a home brewing demonstration also given. While I may have been late there were still plenty of nice brews to sample with just about every style of beer you could hope for from ales to stouts with several sours and many types of mead also available. There were also some food samples available, but I never did run across them; I may have been too late for that or they were in a portion of the warehouse that I did not get to. It was a fun event and everyone appeared to be have a great time enjoying the beer, music, sunshine and camaraderie with other beer brewers and consumers. Monies raised at the event were used to fund arts education programs put on by the San Pedro Art Association.

This was my first visit to Warehouse No. 10 and Crafted but I doubt it will be my last. I was a little surprised by all the cool items that were available; maybe even more surprised that I never knew the place existed. Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles is open every weekend; Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For hours and their schedule of special events you can visit their website at CraftedPortLA.com. Admission and parking is free. Cheers! Continue reading

American Craft Beer Week 2014, Day1: Good, Better, Worst

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

Strand Brewers Club November meeting

On the second Wednesday of the month Strand Brewers Club, a local home brewing club, holds their monthly meetings at South Bay Brewing Supply in Torrance. I try to come as frequently as I can as it is a nice group of people that are very enthusiastic about home brewing and are eager to show off their home brewed beers as well as provide information about home brewing to anyone that asks.

Last night was their November meeting which included sampling of many homebrews, a presentation on how to grow your own hops by Nate and the election of new officers to the Strand Brewers Club board. The campaigns for the various offices were fought with minimal mudslinging and a new board was elected. Your new officers will be David, Ryan, Rich, Doug and Bob. It looks like they are in good hands for a while. Rives set the bar high during his term as President and I know the entire group appreciates his efforts.

If you live in the South Bay and do home brewing or are considering it, you should really consider joining Strand Brewers Club. The dues are only $37 a year and includes the camaraderie of other beer brewers who will assist you as much as they can as well as lots of beers to sample and even some sandwiches at their monthly meetings. It is a good deal and a lot of fun. Cheers! Continue reading

Day 8 of LA Beer Week: Champions and Judges

LA Beer Week (LABW5) plods along as Thursday was the eighth day of LA Beer Week; an 11 day event. I decided that since it is LA Beer Week I would be remiss if I did not attempt to try and visit all the gold medal winners that the Los Angeles area has produced. Okay, being completely honest, I was looking for a reason to visit Beachwood BBQ and Brewing in Long Beach and I remembered that they were gold medal winners at the Great American Beer Festival so I decided that I needed to dedicate a portion of this week to the brewers that help make LA the pLAce for craft beer.

The fact of the matter is that I need very little in the way of excuses to drive down to Long Beach; however there was one with the recent release of Mind Melder IPA, a collaboration with Drake’s Brewing that I had yet to try. All I can say is that I am really looking forward to some of the South Bay’s brewers doing some collaboration brews with each other and I think Beachwood’s head brewer Julian Shrago is close enough to be included with that group. Since I had ordered an IPA flight, none of which are award winners (yet), we put together a combination of two of their gold medal winners; Udder Love, 2012 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) and Foam Top, 2012 World Beer Cup. It won’t be long before one of their IPAs brings home gold.

After a quick stop to another GABF gold medal winning brewery, Smog City Brewing, I headed out to Four Points by Sheraton for a panel on “Do you want to be a beer judge?” The panel was moderated by Tomm Carroll of Celebrator Beer News and consisted of a panel of high-ranked, certified Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) judges. The panelists included Bruce Brode (Master rank, Maltose Falcons home brew club); Carl Townsend (National rank, Pacific Gravity home brewers club); and Jim Wilson (Grand Master II rank, Strand Brewers Club). The purpose of the event was to explain the BJCP program and what you would need to know to become a certified judge. Ever since I went to the Pacific Brewers Cup two weeks ago I have been thinking that I would like to expand my beer horizons more, by at least learning what it is judges look for in each style. Continue reading

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