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The Road Back From the 5th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational

When we left Paso Robles on Sunday morning I was not really sure where we would stop throughout the day; I had planned on visiting a brewery that shall remain nameless, but due to their only having two brews available it was decided to skip them. Two beers after three years just did not do it for me. The backup destination was an easy choice since I had been thinking it since I got my tickets on Wednesday, BarrelHouse Brewing Company.

Tanya and I first visited BarrelHouse Brewing in February 2014 when they were just announcing their first anniversary was coming up. We were both impressed with what we tried; so much so that our beer stash from that trip consisted of several bottles from BarrelHouse.

A couple weeks ago I was covering the South Bay Beer & Wine Festival and ran into Mathew Jacobs, lead brewer for BarrelHouse, and Billy Thompson, their sales manager. I told them how much I enjoyed everything about our experience two plus years ago when Jacobs expressed that I really should return to see how much they have progressed. Judging by the Curly Wolf they were pouring at the event, I totally agreed. Continue reading

The Road to the Firestone Invitational 2016

If you asked me a week ago if I would be attending the 5th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival (FWIBF16), I would have hung my head and responded that I would not be there. On Wednesday afternoon a good friend of mine put out an alert on Facebook announcing that he was not going to be able to make it, so he had two tickets available to the first person that contacted him; I was that guy.

We headed out late Friday morning with the intention of visiting as many new [to me] craft breweries as possible. After two hours, in which we covered a mere 70 miles, we stopped for a Starbucks break in Camarillo; it was at this point that I realized that I had left my camera at home! I have to admit, this was a pretty depressing revelation because I knew that traffic was getting worse and it would likely take me five or six hours to get back to Camarillo.

While Tanya was inside the store I recalled the previous evening when I saw Tanya pack her Canon T1i Rebel in case we stopped somewhere that she felt like photographing. I knew she would not have any extraneous equipment, like an external flash or the Sigma lens I like but it would be better than trying to cover the event using my Smartphone … maybe. Continue reading

Smog City & El Segundo Brewing Birthday Bash Photos

These photos were taken Saturday, when Smog City Brewing in Torrance and El Segundo Brewing in El Segundo combined forces to celebrate Smog City’s third and El Segundo’s fifth anniversaries.

I started the morning off at the VIP session of Smog City’s festivities. They had opened up the cellar room that connects directly to the south of the main tasting room where they added two beer stations. One had their sours, like Cuddlebug, Snugglebug and Jason’s now famous Cuddle Paloma; and a citrus station where you would find Bloody Optimist, Mexican Vacation and Kumquat Saison. The main taproom had an additional Brewers Station back in the brewhouse where you would find brews like Bourbon O.E., Infinite Wishes and The Nothing. The Old Fashioned O.E. made its return from last year; I was glad Tanya got one so I could taste it.

The group was limited to 200 people which might sound like a lot for the tasting room, but with the cellar room being opened up, it was quite comfortable and the Smog City staff was keeping up handily with any lines that formed. Continue reading

Endless Rant Release Party at King Harbor Brewing

These photos were taken at the Endless Rant IPA Release Party that was held Saturday evening at the King Harbor Brewing Company tasting room in Redondo Beach. For those of you that were unaware, King Harbor Brewing created Endless Rant for Adam Carolla’s Carolla Drinks label. Although the beer officially became available a couple weeks ago, last night’s event was the official launch with friends, family and fans descending upon King Harbor Brewing for an evening of tasty beer, good food, music and laughs as attendees enjoyed pints of Endless Rant and other King Harbor brews.

I happened to try Endless Rant a couple weeks ago when it was first released to the public at the tasting room, and was lucky enough to run into King Harbor’s head brewer Phil McDaniel so I asked him how this opportunity came about. I did not take notes, but this is pretty accurate.

The three principles at King Harbor, Tom Dunbabin, Will Daines and McDaniel are all long time fans of Carolla. Apparently a friend of one of the regulars at King Harbor works with Carolla on one of his ventures and happened to mention it to one of them. One of the King Harbor guys casually mentioned that if Carolla wanted to hold some type of beer related event, King Harbor Brewing would be more than happy to host it. Continue reading

Scholb Premium Ales Hosts First Business & Beer

These photos were taken Thursday evening, when the Business & Beer networking group paid their first visit to Torrance’s newest production brewery, Scholb Premium Ales. There was a nice group in attendance, with about half of them visiting Scholb for the first time. With a menu of 10 brews available, there was something for just about any palate.

Established in 2012, Business & Beer is a networking group for the small business owner or anyone whose job description includes networking; and enjoys craft beer. On the second Thursday of each month they meet at a different tasting room or brewpub in the South Bay. There are no dues or mandatory meetings; just show up and enjoy a brew with like-minded individuals and perhaps make a new business connection, so bring business cards.

Scholb Premium Ales is located at 2964 Columbia Street in Torrance. The next Business & Beer will be held June 9, from 6:00-8:00 PM at Monkish Brewing Company. Cheers! Continue reading

Brian White Farewell Party at Monkish Brewing

On Saturday evening, Monkish Brewing Company held a farewell party for their Beer Evangelist, Brian White. A couple dozen friends joined the Monkish staff in congratulating White and wishing him the best in his future.

White assures me we will still see him around at various craft breweries and functions. He is not leaving the beer scene, just changing it up a bit. I am sure this is not the last time his name will be mentioned or photo shown here. Good luck, Brian. Cheers! Continue reading

Dog Adoption Sunday at Brouwerij West

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

Photos from the Scholb Premium Ales Ribbon Cutting

These photos were taken at the ribbon cutting for Torrance’s latest craft brewery, Scholb Premium Ales; which was held at the production brewery’s tasting room in Torrance on Friday afternoon. The Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC) ribbon cutting was attended by friends and family of the Schulz’s and Kolb’s as well as the City of Torrance Mayor Pat Furey and city council members Kurt Weideman, Heidi Ashcraft and Mike Griffiths along with many TACC representatives.

For their grand opening, Scholb introduced a couple new beers to their taps, bringing the number of brews currently available to eight. Today they offered their SoCal Blonde, Roll With It Brown, Cherry Wood Smoked Brown, Columbia Street Pale, Havanuther Session IPA, Dad’s IPA, Not Lyin’ Rye IPA and my current favorite, Bat Ray Red IPA. Continue reading

Scholb Premium Ales – From the Beginning

Torrance has a new tasting room to visit; production brewery Scholb Premium Ales has begun their soft open. A week ago they opened for a few hours on Sunday and this past weekend they were open on Saturday and Sunday. Beginning this next weekend they will add Fridays; on April 7 they will begin normal tasting room hours, Thursday and Friday 4:00-9:00 PM, Saturday 1:00-9:00 PM and Sunday 12:00-6:00 PM.

I stopped by Saturday afternoon after finishing the craft beer panel at the Torrance library primarily because it was virtually next door to the Torrance Civic Center library; they are a couple hundred yards west of Absolution Brewing, in the same business park. In the short time we were there I noticed a nice group of people coming and going; it was obvious that people were taking advantage of the fact that the two tasting are so very close to each other.

Scholb had four of their brews available when I was there Saturday; SoCal Blonde, Roll With it Brown, Havanuther Session IPA and my favorite, Bat Ray Red IPA. By next weekend they should have at least five beers on tap at which time they will begin serving flights. Continue reading

Monkish Brewing Celebrates Four Years

This weekend Monkish Brewing Company celebrated four years of brewing excellence by providing access to a half dozen of their rare fruited saisons as well as several barrel-aged and brett saisons. They also released their most recent collaboration with Select Beer Store, Select Monk 4.

I headed over to Monkish after Phantom Carriage’s One Year Anniversary party ended and found the tasting room packed and everyone in a great mood. Congratulations to Henry, Adriana and the entire Monkish team on a very successful four years. I feel fortunate to have you close enough to have witnessed the evolution. Cheers! Continue reading

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