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Strand Brewing Company

Photos of The 3rd (Occasionally) Annual Froth Awards and Beer Experience

That was one busy Saturday, there were beer events going on all over the place; it took some careful planning to attend the events I did. One was a scheduling conflict between Phantom Carriage’s 1st Anniversary and Easy Reader’s 3rd Occasionally Annual Froth Awards and Beer Experience that was held at Saint Rocks at the same time. After lots of bouncing back and forth in my mind about which event to attend first, the Froth Awards won out; if for no other reason than I could stop by Monkish after Phantom’s event ended.

In the beginning, the first Froth Awards paired our five local breweries with five local restaurants and created a friendly competition between the breweries with the attendees voting on which pairing was best. The winners were those of us that attended. The Awards continued the following year, with five breweries again being paired with five restaurants. This time there was no voting because we all knew that we were the winners once again. Continue reading

Torrance Planning Commission: Streamlining of CUP Modifications to Continue

Last night the Torrance Planning Commission met and one of the items on the agenda was to hear a report prepared by the Community Development Department which was to discuss the current state of the craft breweries in Torrance. The report included discussion on what the current procedures are to open a brewery, what the Torrance Municipal Code says about breweries in Torrance, why so many breweries are opting to open in Torrance and what affect the influx of breweries has had on the crime rate in Torrance. In the audience I saw Laurie Porter from Smog City Brewing, Henry Nguyen from Monkish Brewing, and Joel Elliott from Strand Brewing Company.

For a little background, I ask you to recall back in August when I attended the CUP Hearing for Scholb Premium Ales. At that time, the Torrance City Attorney mentioned that there might be a way to streamline the modification process for Conditional Use Permits that would eliminate the need for a hearing every time someone wanted a simple modification of their existing Conditional Use Permit. The Planning Commission agreed that if the modification of an existing CUP was not changing the intent of the permit issued the modification hearing should not be required. What this means is that if Scholb, or Smog City or any of the other Torrance breweries want to modify their Conditional Use Permit as far as their hours of operation they could save time and expense by having the Planning Department modify their permit without having to appear before the Planning Commission. Continue reading

The Craft Beer Guy 2015 Year in Review

HopSaint brewpub

HopSaint Brewing Company Now Soon!

Well, there are still a couple of days left in 2015 but I think it is safe to write my year-end review of 2015. To be honest, there has been so much activity in the craft beer world this past year that I would not be surprised to have something new pop up before Thursday night.(So, this is taking me a while to write, and yes, there have been updates since I started).

There were several beer buyouts that seemed to dominate most other craft beer sites, but the craft world in my immediate domain only seemed to increase. Yeah, Golden Road got bought, but I only went there for special events and I guess that means there will be fewer of them there in the future. In the meantime, the reach of this site seems to be increasing. In the beginning people pretty much pigeonholed this site as covering the South Bay craft beer scene only. This year I covered various local beer events from the Antelope Valley to Orange County. Attendees have come up asking if I am now covering the west side, or wherever we might be. I guess the answer is yes; and I will expand my area as long as it is requested.

2015 in the South Bay ended pretty much as it started, with the soft open of a new brewpub. In January Phantom Carriage officially opened, and at the end of December HopSaint Brewing Company opened their doors. While they are open daily, the official opening of HopSaint will be January 1, 2016 when they will start serving lunch at 11:30 AM. Continue reading

Rock & Brews’ 5th Annual Local Craft Beer Fest

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

Business & Beer Visits the New Strand Brewing Company

These photos are from the last Business & Beer gathering which was held Thursday evening at Strand Brewing Company’s new tasting room located on Dominguez Street. There was a pretty nice group including several of our charter members as well as a couple first timers.

Since Strand just opened the new location last month, the production brewery was a little light on choices, but their 24th Street Pale Ale and Atticus IPA have both been brewed on the new system and were tasting delicious. To make up for the lack of their flagship beers, they did have bottles of their Batch 100 Stout aged in Masterson’s Rye whiskey barrels; it was pretty darn good. The Barley Hops Grill was there for people that wanted food to go along with their beer.

Business & Beer is a local business networking group that has been around since July 2012. There are no rules like mandatory meetings or dues, so if networking is an important part of your job description and you enjoy craft beer, Business & Beer is probably just right for you. They meet at a different brewery or brewpub on the second Thursday of every month from 6:00-8:00 PM. You do not need reservations and you can consider this your personal invitation. Continue reading

Strand Brewing Company Ribbon Cutting Photos

On Thursday afternoon, production brewery Strand Brewing Company officially opened their new Dominguez Street location with a ribbon cutting attended by numerous city and state representatives, the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce and lots of friends and family. One might venture to say that while the group of a couple hundred probably would not fit in the doors of the old Telo location, the crowd began to make the new tasting room somewhat full for the first time since they opened the doors at this new location. A quick note about parking; if the parking lot looks full, there is additional parking on the north side of the building; that is the same side the food trucks set up.

The numerous attendees enjoyed their choice of brews including Beach House, 24th Street, Atticus, Batch 100, White Sand, Expression Session and Harvest Ball. Currently, 24th Street is the only beer brewed on the new system but that should be changing soon. For those with an appetite, the Barley Hops Grill was serving up plenty of their pulled pork treats.

Strand Brewing Company’s Grand Opening Weekend continues Friday, October 23 from 4:00-9:00 PM when they will have the BreadCrumbs Gourmet Sandwiches available for food. On Saturday, Strand will be open from noon until 9:00 PM, featuring the return of Barley Hops Grill; and the weekend will finish on Sunday when they will be open from noon until 8:00 PM and will feature the Brew Wings food truck. Strand Brewing Company is now located at 2201 Dominguez Street in Torrance. Continue reading

Photos of the 2015 BAM Fest

On Saturday afternoon Tap & Cheer Events presented their 6th Annual Beer, Art and Music Festival, lovingly known as BAM Fest, which was held at the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica. The 18th Street Arts Center is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization and is the beneficiary of all the proceeds from the BAM Fest fundraiser. The event featured beers and ciders from more than 30 craft breweries as well as foods from six food trucks and live music provided by Nick Shattuck, Heaps N Heaps and Whiskey Sunday.

Considering the heat index was well over 100 degrees out when BAM Fest started, they had a very nice turnout. I am not really sure how the crowd size compared to previous years because people seemed to be seeking shade more than normal which probably resulted in more art being seen this time; it did appear that there were more art exhibits opened to the public this year and I am sure everyone that took advantage of them appreciated it. The weather pretty much forced everyone to get to know their neighbor since the parking lot had about three umbrellas that most attendees tried to fit under at some point. Continue reading

Strand Brewing Company Soft Open at Dominguez Location

Fans of Torrance’s first production brewery, Strand Brewing Company, will be happy to learn that Strand has now officially moved to their new location at 2201 Dominguez Street in Torrance and they held a soft open over this past weekend.

On Friday evening I happened to notice on Strand’s co-founder and head brewer, Joel Elliott, Facebook page a hint that Strand might be opening on Saturday afternoon. I sent a text to Rich Marcello, Strand’s other co-founder, around 10:00 PM asking if I was interpreting the hint correctly and was told that they hoped to open Saturday, but I should check back the following morning.

The next morning, around 11:00 AM I contacted Rich again and asked if they were going to open and if so, should I announce it to my followers via social media. I was told, “Yes and no” meaning they would be open but I should hold off saying anything just yet. When I arrived I was told I could go ahead and announce the soft open to my Facebook followers; it did not take long for the room to begin filling up. Continue reading

Coming Soon to El Segundo: Rubens Distilling & Brewing

Rubens street view

Rubens Distilling & Brewing

As you might imagine, I hear a lot of rumors about what may or may not be happening as far as the craft beer scene in this area. As a result, I get asked questions like, “What is happening with Strand Brewing Company’s old brewhouse?” Well, while the fermenting tanks are moving to their new Dominguez location, the brewhouse is moving to a new home in El Segundo; Rubens Distilling & Brewing. Yes, I said distilling and brewing. Wednesday morning I made a visit to the home of this future distillery and craft brewery and met Rob Rubens, the owner of Rubens Distilling & Brewing to find out a little more about what the plans are.

Rubens grew up in Illinois and he has relatives that opened a speakeasy in Chicago during Prohibition, so I guess one could say that whiskey is in his blood. Rubens Distilling & Brewing will be the first combination distillery and brewery in the Los Angeles area, and one of three in the state; the others being Ballast Point and Anchor Steam.

Rubens today

Future distillery and brewery

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

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