Friday was day five of the 9th Annual American Craft Beer Week and the day consisted of some ups and downs and twists and turns. I started off at the Total Wine in Redondo Beach because my friend Shane Kral, the local face of Firestone Walker, was hosting a Beers of Summer beer tasting. The beers being featured were the 805, Pivo Pils, Opal and Easy Jack. These are all great beers for the hot days we have been experiencing lately, with the Easy Jack being a personal favorite. I heard that Easy Jack has gotten so popular that Firestone Walker has to scale back on it due to a lack of hops. This is terrible news and could mean trouble for us hopheads if the shortage is getting that bad. Anyway, all four are fine beers and I drink them frequently; and Shane is a great guy and I see him frequently but neither of those was the main reason we went there. I had been informed that bottles of Firestone’s Stickee Monkee were going to be made available for purchase before anywhere else. At the last minute the distributor changed their mind; there were several disappointed faces in Total Wine at hearing this news.
As we walked around the store looking for some bottles of beer to buy one of the store employees approached and informed us that there was another beer tasting going on in the back room. We headed over and discovered that Omission Beer and Goose Island were both offering pours. Omission Beer is a new [to me anyway] brewery from Oregon that specializes in gluten free beer. It was pretty good. While we were sampling a third beer rep showed up representing Fruli, Fuller’s and Paulaner breweries. Continue reading
On Wednesday evening, craft beer fans headed to Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach to join Beer Paper LA as they celebrated their one year anniversary. Beer Paper LA is an online and monthly print paper that dedicates its pages to the local breweries and gastropubs in the Los Angeles, Orange County and Inland Empire areas of Southern California. As they had their launch party last year at Beachwood it made sense that they return for the anniversary party.
As anyone that frequents Beachwood knows, in addition to the fine beers Beachwood brews they always have a stellar guest tap list. Last night was no different with a selection of crafted brews from local craft breweries from central California to the Mexican border including The Brewery at Abigaile, Ladyface Ale Companie, TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Smog City, Strand Brewing, Noble Ale Works, Firestone Walker, Ohana Brewing Company, Pizza Port San Clemente and many more. It was a night to remember with many fine beers available.
Congratulations to Beer Paper LA on completing their first year and becoming practically a household name in the local craft beer scene. Cheers! Continue reading
I am a firm believer that if one person suggests something, there is a good chance that dozens of others are thinking the same thing. Since I have had many people tell me that I should include maps of the craft brewery tours I write about, I have decided to add a new feature, maps of the various breweries and their relationship to each other. I have decided to use MapQuest since they allow you to plug in your starting point; Google Maps seems to eliminated that feature, so we will use MapQuest until something better comes along.
These maps will be set up to show the easiest way to visit each of the breweries visited and will usually form a circular pattern so you are not bouncing around from one end of town to another and back again. I am beginning with the South Bay area of Southern California for a couple reasons. The first, and most logical, is because that is where I live. The second being that there has been such an explosion of microbreweries around here that I know people from other areas would like to know the easiest way to see all that the South Bay offers. Whenever possible, these tours will begin with one freeway close location and end with another freeway close destination. If you are a first time visitor to any of these locations I recommend a purchasing a flight so you can sample what each brewery offers,
Saturday afternoon, the Saint Rocke concert club in Hermosa Beach held their 2nd Annual Froth Awards: Craft Beer Experience and Gastropub Invitational featuring five of the South Bay’s finest craft breweries paired with dishes provided by four South Bay gastropubs. In addition to the beer and food pairings, there was live music provided by the Aaron White Band, the Get Down Boys and Johnny Jump Up. There were also raffles with prizes such as growlers, hats and other swag donated by the participating breweries and gastropubs and free pizza provided by Fresh Brothers Pizza. They even had a “Best Beard” contest which was won by yours truly.
It was a fun day of music, beer and food that consisted of five courses. The first course featured Strand Brewing Company’s White Sand Double IPA with marinated short rib tacos from The Rockefeller gastropub. This was followed by El Segundo Brewing Company’s White Dog IPA paired with tri-tip sliders from California Rancher. The third course featured The Dudes’ Brewing Company and their Kolschtal Eddy which was paired with a Tuscan white braised pork shoulder provided by Bouzy Gastropub. Our fourth pairing was The Brewery at Abigaile’s 002 2nd Anniversary Double IPA with waffles and chicken provided by R10 Social House. The final course introduced everyone to the two newest participants, King Harbor Brewing Company with The Quest (Rakau) Pale Ale and Saint Rocke’s own Kitchen 142.
It really was a lot of fun with great beer, good food and fun people. If there is a third annual Froth Awards you can be sure I will be there; you should too. Cheers! Continue reading
Those of you that attended last year’s event will recall that it was originally set up as a competition with each brewery pairing one of their beers with a dish prepared by a local gastropub. This year it will be a little different in that the “competition” has been eliminated and instead it will be a day of craft beers and tasty locally prepared foods. As they put it, this year it will be “less of a competition and more of a party.” I don’t know; last year was a pretty great party. Just like last year, there will be live Bluegrass and Irish music all day as well as various raffles and contests going on.
The 2nd Annual Froth Awards: Beer Experience and Gastropub Invitational begins at 2:00 PM Saturday, March 15, 2014. The doors open at 1:00 PM. Tickets are $25 each, but because you read CraftBeerGuy.com you are entitled to a 20% discount; that means you get in for $20 each if you purchase your ticket ahead of time online. After you choose the number of tickets you want, click Checkout; on the top of the next page is a spot for you to put in your Promo Code: BADDOG (all caps) and your discount will be applied. Admission includes entry into the event; 8 oz tasters from all participants, raffle tickets to win valuable prizes and a commemorative glass. Saint Rocke is located at 142 Pacific Coast Highway in Hermosa Beach. I hope to see you there; I had a great time last year. Cheers! Continue reading
Since we have been on the road lately, I decided that this weekend we would stick around and give a little love to the South Bay’s craft beer brewers for the Valentine’s Day weekend. Friday, Valentine’s Day, we headed over to The Brewery at Abigaile, a brewpub in Hermosa Beach. Since it was Valentine’s Day and we had not made any reservations we took advantage of their Happy Hour seating and grabbed a couple seats at the bar where we were able to enjoy a flight of their brews; including their 002 2nd Anniversary DIPA and Dark Matter a Belgian dark ale that can only get better with age. One of the best things about the release of the 002 DIPA is that it means the anniversary party for Abigaile must be coming soon.
On Saturday I headed over to Smog City Brewing where they were hosting a fundraiser for the LA Derby Dolls Enforcers. The Derby Dolls are a Southern California, all-female banked track roller derby league. The Enforcers are the referees for the league. The fundraiser consisted of a raffle for Derby Dolls and Smog City swag as well as beer floats in four different varieties and a pie versus cake sale. Between the people that came out specifically for the fundraiser, the various beer tour buses and those that just wanted to come have a beer, Smog City was packed to the brim. After sampling a couple beers and Tanya’s Death by Chocolate (The Nothing with chocolate ice cream beer float) we headed over to Monkish Brewing.
We got there about the same time as the LA Craft Beer Tours van, so we found Monkish to be almost as crowded as Smog City. When I think back to when we first started going to Monkish and compare it to today it is pretty obvious that the craft beer scene in Torrance is really exploding. People frequently ask me if there are too many breweries here; when I visit multiple local breweries like I did Saturday I can’t help but think how crowded these locations would be if there were only one or two available. Continue reading
The South Bay’s favorite business networking group, Business & Beer, began 2014 with a great turnout at The Brewery at Abigaile, the beach cities sole brewpub; located in Hermosa Beach. The Business & Beer networking group has been meeting for about 18 months at the various craft breweries, brewpubs and gastropubs in the South Bay. For the first year they met weekly, but in July 2013 it was decided to change the format to once a month; the second Thursday of the month. To do this, gastropubs were dropped from the rotation with the decision being to meet where the beer is brewed. Prior to the change, the attendance levels had started to drop off; it seems that since Business & Beer went to meeting once a month the attendance levels have increased each month. These photos are from the January 2014 gathering of Business & Beer which was held January 9 and I would venture to say that last night’s gathering was double the attendance that we have seen at prior Abigaile gatherings. There was a nice mix of long time attendees with a few people that have only attended a few times and we had several first time visitors. It looks like 2014 is going to be a great year for business and beer.
The next two months are going to be special for Business & Beer by welcoming the two newest craft beer tasting rooms to the South Bay. February 13, Business & Beer’s gathering will also serve as the soft open for King Harbor Brewing Company, located in Redondo Beach. The March 13 gathering will be at Torrance’s newest craft brewery, Absolution Brewing Company. Judging by the turnout last night these will be very well-attended events so if you enjoy networking and craft beer I recommend you check out Business & Beer. You can be kept in the loop for upcoming events by “Liking” Business & Beer on Facebook or by signing up to the Business & Beer mailing list. You will not regret it; it is a good group of people that do want to meet you and possibly do business with you or at least refer future business to you. Cheers! Continue reading
Just a quick note to say Happy Thanksgiving to each of you and your families. Today, Tanya and I will head over to my dad’s for dinner with my daughter and a bunch of siblings. There should be about 15 people there. Since Tanya has been experimenting a lot with her baking, she got put on dessert detail which resulted in three pumpkin pies made from scratch; she even used fresh pumpkin instead of that canned stuff. She also made up some vanilla whipped yams, so the food should be delicious. Naturally, I was assigned beer duty, so Wednesday I traveled around to a few of my favorite places.
I started at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing where I picked up a growler of Annihilator, a 12% American Barleywine. I then moved along to Monkish Brewing where I brought home a growler of Magnificat, a 10.1% Belgian Strong Dark Ale, spiced for Christmas. My next stop was El Segundo Brewing Company because no meal is complete without an IPA. I walked out with a growler of Two 5 Left, an 8.2% Double IPA. For dessert we headed to The Brewery at Abigaile where I picked up a growler of Coconut Imperial Red; a 9.4% Imperial Red Ale. I think everyone should be able to find something they will like.
Have a safe day and appreciate all you have. Cheers! Continue reading
On Saturday, October 5 the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica held their 4th Annual Beer, Art & Music Festival, commonly known as BAM Fest 2013, a fundraiser for the 18th Street Art Center, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. The beer festival featured close to 40 different craft breweries from around the country and it seemed like every brewery brought three or four different beers with them; suffice it to say, there was more beer selections than one could possibly go through in four hours. In addition to the beer tastings there was wine, craft soda, lots of gourmet food trucks and live music to listen to as we enjoyed another beautiful October day and wandered around the open art studios and listened to seminars by beer experts.
The breweries that I noticed in attendance included Ale Industries, Anchor Brewing Company, Anderson Valley Brewing Company, Angel City Brewing Company, Ballast Point Brewing Company, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing Company, Boston Beer Company, Bootlegger’s Brewery, Brasserie d’Achouffe, The Brewery at Abigaile, Brewery Ommegang, The Bruery, Deschutes Brewery, Dogfish Head, Drake’s Brewing, The Dudes’ Brewing Company, Duvel-Moortgat, El Segundo Brewing Company, Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Golden Road Brewing Company, Haven Brewing Co., Kinetic Brewing, Los Angeles Ale Works, Ladyface Ale Companie, Lagunitas Brewing, Liefmans, Monkish Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing Company, Noble Ale Works, North Coast Brewing, Phantom Carriage, Pizza Port, Carlsbad, Port Town Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Smog City Brewing Company, Speakeasy Ales and Lager, Stone Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company and Surf Brewery.
Music was provided by Ben Bateman, Cory Phillips & the Groove Orchestra, KoTolàn and Raul Pacheco & The Immaculate Conception. Sponsors included Buy a Dog a Beer, Wreck Check, Swoon and Taxi Magic. It was a fun day with lots of fun people that all seemed to be enjoying themselves thoroughly. I will admit, I am already looking forward to attending the 5th Annual Beer, Art & Music Festival. Cheers! Continue reading
Sunday, day 11 of LA Beer Week (LABW5) and congratulations to those of you that survived. While I did not attend the event at Union Station a week ago, I cannot imagine trying to do it at the end of an 11 day week. I started the day by heading over to King Harbor Brewing Company where I got the opportunity to meet their head brewer as he christened the location by brewing a small batch saison. A little later in the day I was informed that Smog City Brewing was hosting a panel, School of BJ’s Brewer Panel Discussion featuring Jonathan Porter of Smog City, Tyler King of The Bruery, David Griffiths of Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie, Evan Price of Noble Ale Works and Owen Williams of Ritual Brewing Company. It turns out that the common denominator between the five of them is that they all brewed at BJ’s; who would have guessed? We decided to begin by going to Monkish Brewing to try their LABW5 entry, End of Summer, a Belgian Honey Ale. We then headed around the corner to Smog City.
As it turned out the event was not really supposed to be public as Beer Paper LA was using the opportunity to interview the brewers for an upcoming issue and they were concerned I would scoop them; so I bailed. You should be able to read about it and see any photos in their upcoming issue.
It really was a fun week and I had a great time. I would like to extend special thanks to The Brewery at Abigaile, Naja’s Place, Rock & Brews PCH, Monkish Brewing Company, Strand Brewing Company, San Pedro Brewing Company, Alpine Village and El Segundo Brewing Company for their hospitality and generosity over the past week. It was truly appreciated. Cheers! Continue reading